Duy Nguyen, a Montreal designer of Vietnamese descent, studied Fashion Design at LaSalle College and has collaborated with some of the biggest names in the fashion industry.
His label, DUY, has even be worn by Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, the Prime Minister’s wife.
LCI Education Foundation Director Sandra Parker sat down with the creator for a chat.
How long have you dreamed of becoming a designer? What pushed you to become one?
In 1994, when I was 16. My interest in becoming a designer started the moment I saw the March 1994 edition of American Vogue. The jewellery, the suits, Linda Évangelista, it sought me out!
What impact did your education have on your career?
I studied fashion at LaSalle College. The basics I learned were essential: I had the opportunity to have the College’s best teachers!
I have very fond memories of Gisèle Chaumier, François Bousquet and Jean-Claude Labonté. They’re good teachers, they pushed me to go the extra mile, technically speaking, and they challenged me.
What have been your greatest accomplishments to date?
Staying present, active and relevant in the world of fashion. Having dressed people I respect like Karine Vanasse, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, Marie Mai, Pierre Lapointe, Dominique Bertrand and Isabelle Hudon, among others.
And dressing Isabelle Hudon, what was that like? [Editor’s note: Business woman and diplomat who has her dresses custom-made by Duy]
It’s both really easy and really hard. She’s got a model’s figure and we have very similar tastes. On the other hand, it’s very demanding, as it has to be perfect. Like all my clients really.
When you’re accustomed to Chanel, Gucci or McQueen you don’t want anything less. It’s an honour to dress her and I’m very flattered she picked me. She’s a wonderful muse for my label!
Who do you dream of dressing?
Cate Blanchet. She’s the queen of the red carpet, always the best-dressed. No one looks like her.
What designer influenced you most?
Yamamoto, the fashion icon. There’s no one like him and every piece is a work of art.
Do you have advice for the next generation of designers?
Surround yourself with friends in multiple professions and create a good contact network.
What life experience taught you the most?
Travelling. It teaches you to be resourceful and to look outside your own little bubble.
What’s next for Duy?
Continuing to create beautiful, high-quality garments and being recognized for product style and excellence.