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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Song clothing line opens in Siem Reap

Song clothing line opens in Siem Reap

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090528_08b.jpg

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Designer and Song owner Valerie Gregori McKenzie. 

SIEM Reap's small but burgeoning fashion design scene has been bolstered by the retail presence of high-profile Hanoi-based designer Valerie Gregori McKenzie, owner of the chic, eco-friendly fashion label Song.

She has opened a new outlet in Siem Reap, and her timing is on the button because it coincides with an international PR coup for her label.

Items from her fashion range, favoured by stars like actress Cameron Diaz, appear on the cover of the June 2009 "Green" issue of US Vogue, which has been attracting a  lot of attention in US television chat shows.  

The French-born McKenzie graduated from ESMOD Paris and held design and creative positions with fashion companies in Europe and the US, including Taverniti and Vuarnet.

In 1996 she founded the luxury resort-wear fashion label Song (Vietnamese for ‘Life') and her clothes have been described as "Beautiful style for beautiful people in beautiful places".

She works with fabrics that are natural, ethically sourced and have low environmental impact - predominately cotton, linen, hemp and silk.

Garment production is mainly in Vietnamese workshops and a pioneering "green" factory.

She told Scene she opened her Siem Reap store about a month ago because "the right opportunity and great location came up".

She recently spent five days in Siem Reap, staying at the FCC and cycling around the town, which she described as "quite charming".

She earlier opened a store in Phnom Penh, but said that at this stage she can't envisage incorporating Cambodian elements into her range.

"Not unless I find beautiful Khmer fabric that could also be produced on a large scale," she explained.  

"The difficulty is to work with artisans while also being able to stay reactive and up to the international market demand. We already do this in Vietnam but I have no connections yet to do it Cambodia."

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