Wong, who has dressed many A-list celebrities from Kylie Minogue to Kendall Jenner and Beyonce, has chosen the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation Avant Garde event to showcase his first-ever Australian-designed couture collection. The gala ball, held in Sydney on September 15 at the Hordern Pavilion, is the Foundation’s flagship event, raising money to fight brain cancer through research, advocacy and awareness.
“When the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation approached me, I was going through health problems,” Wong divulges. “I thought I was Superman [even though] I was born legally blind. I’ve never had good vision and I had to wear Coca Cola bottle glasses until I was 18 years old, [when] I started to wear contact lenses, which gave me my confidence back,” he explains. “But I’ve always had problems [with my sight], and since working in Paris, because of the detail of the work, and because I [was] worn out… my eyesight got worse.”
A visit to a French specialist confirmed his fears. “They found out my retinas were giving up, and I was basically about to go blind. But because of my personality I thought, ‘No, you can do it’ and I stretched out [treatment]. Last year, right after I showed in Paris, I was in the shower and I suddenly couldn’t see [anything] for five minutes.”
Wong rushed back to Australia for emergency treatment in August and has since had another three sight-saving operations. “I now have really good vision in the daytime, but at night I can’t see much,” he says. “During my time in hospital, I talked to a lot of different people and I realised we are not Supermen. We can get sick. We aren’t bullet proof. I care about what’s going on around me and other people also and…when Cure Brain Cancer asked me [to get involved] I said, ‘Well, if I have the power, I’d like to use it. I mentioned Superman, but another superhero is Spiderman and he says, ‘With great power comes great responsibility’. If I have the power, why not use if for good, rather than just using it for famous people?”
Wong will show 20 couture pieces at Avant Garde in September, with the theme of his collection the paper crane, from CBCF’s logo. “It’s a symbol of hope and a symbol of peace and healing, so once I had this idea I wanted to do a healing collection”, he explains. “[In] the collection, half of the dress is beautiful but the other may be unbalanced. [For example] the left hand side of the dress isn’t finished but the right had side is…you still can see the beautiful side, so it is about even though you might have some sickness, it doesn’t mean you are not beautiful or not complete.”
The designer has created each piece “from scratch”. He says, “I knew it would be a big challenge but I said, ‘Yes, I can make it in the short time [I have]’. During my time in hospital I realised how important it was to help.”
See Wong’s amazing designs first hand and show your support for the important work of the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation by attending Avant Garde. Tickets start at $315 per person.
To purchase your ticket, or a table of 10, visit https://www.curebraincancer.org.au/events/1313/avantgarde