In a Ho Chi Minh City where fashion shows are dime a dozen, it takes something special to stand out.

Thien Le, a Vietnamese-Canadian fashion designer, has managed to stand out through his latest collection, presented for the first time at Q4 Event Space in District 4. His Thien Le brand specialises in exclusive couture for women and men, from golf wear to red-carpet dresses.

"Vietnam is the country I was born (1977) and it was my home for the first eight years of my life. Even though I grew up in Canada, I have strong ties with the homeland and am always proud to be Vietnamese," Le said.

"I love Le's designs, so subtle and luxurious! It was just a short fashion show, but it has left a lasting impression on me. I will certainly get some for myself," said famous actress Truong Ngoc Anh.

Le's works are most notable for having a strong influence from what is called "The Elegant Period" - the 1930s, 40's and 50's. Long gowns full of colours and movement are his trademark, observers have said.

In demand for media projects and fashion shows across Canada, Le has also become known for channeling his creativity into projects that are out of his normal scope of activity, such as tailoring an entire wardrobe for Canadian band The Abrams Brothers for an specific video.

He said he had to do a lot of research in order to deliver what the band requested. The "Kimono Dragon", said to be another one of his "huge outer ego" collections, was shown to a selected audience in Toronto and later used to raise money for an orphanage project in Vietnam.

In 2012, Le was recognised as one of Canada's premier designers. He has worked with and designd for famous brands like Bombardier, Miele, Cashmere bathroom tissue, Virgin Mobile, Lancome, Elizabeth Arden and The Red Door Salon.

"It's not trend that I follow, it's an identity and the integrity of the label that I have to maintain. For the new collection, I have looked inside Vietnam for inspiration, especially traditional dresses like the 'ao dai' and 'ao ba ba'. I keep the traditions and modernise the details of such garments for my collection."

Le said he is interested in returning to Vietnam if he finds the opportunity for work. He said: "It's not what you wear but it's how you wear it. Embrace what you have and be proud of who you are. Vietnam has lot to offer. So no need to look outside.-VNA