At the Elle Spring Summer 2012 Fashion Show last week at the Ho Chi Minh City Zoo, Hang, who walked as the leading model for the collection by designer Do Manh Cuong, stunned audiences watching the show by smoking during her time on the stage.
In explaining the act, designer Do Manh Cuong said Hang’s smoking was an expression for the collection’s concept of the lonely and desperate mood of a young girl who broke up with her boyfriend.
“It was just an e-cigarette, not a real one. It was only a tool to transfer the artistic concept of the collection to audiences,” Cuong added.
Though many audience members agreed that the smoking made the catwalk more fanciful, the incident has still raised eyebrows among the public.
Vo Van Nam, vice director of the city’s Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism said that at the rehearsal before the show, Hang did not smoke. The managing agency only learned of the incident after news about it was posted.
He added that the cigarette was not a real one, though the audience was nonetheless shocked by the image of a model smoking on a catwalk.
He also expressed the concern that the incident could be a precedent for bringing banned goods into art performances.
According to Nam, although tobacco products are on the list of goods banned from advertising, the department has been confused by the case, since it needs time to consider if smoking on a catwalk is advertising.
Artists should be aware of how their actions affect the community, Nam said. “If they violate the law, for example by showing their body on a catwalk, they will be fined.”
In March, the culture department fined local model Thai Ha VND5 million for exposing most of her breasts in a skimpy outfit at an advertising event.
Earlier, Quang Binh Province’s Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism announced a VND3.5 million fine against the organizer of the “Night of Beauties” charity music show, in which many performers were criticized for donning skimpy costumes last August.