Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Archive: Nary Manivong Interview

This interview was done back in May, in response to his Fall 2009 collections. There are some notes on Spring 2010 and what to expect. Nary is showing Spring 2010, on September 10th. Another designer on the rise.

I've been a fan of Nary Manivong and his collections for a few years now. The guy has got talent and he's a super cool and down to earth designer. Looks from his archive collections lend a hand to decades gone and prints that boast flirty, girly and fresh. Nary and I keep in touch often and he has been through a lot as a designer and as
a person. He is a designer who deserves to make it big and judging on his recent collection, it looks like he may be heading that way. I mean, when you have someone like Fern Mallis in your corner, you have a strong chance. But, in this crazy world called fashion, you just never know. Here is a light interview with Nary Manivong. Lets call this a Diet Interview:

Kate: Hey Nary! Congrats on all of your success. You have some great things going on! First off, you showed an amazing collection for Fall 09. Tell me a bit about that experience.
Nary: Thank you! I thought this was my best collection by far. It was me, which was part of my inspiration as well as redefining the 80s in more of a classic and refreshing style. It showed through the collection. The entire collection was personal because I put a lot of time into it until it was showtime. I made a few changes the night before the show and everyone thought I was crazy! I said "No, we have to do it." At the end of the day you have to be happy with the result. And I was.

Have some stores picked up that collection? Where can people buy or view Fall 09?
N: There are some stores that are very interested in the Fall 09 collection, so there are ton of notes right now I'm reviewing. Also, I think due to the economy, stores are tight with their budget and are buying late. Henri Bendel was very excited about my collection (However, RIP clothing, its still an honor). Its also available for viewing on narymanivong.com and will soon be available on the e-boutique. ( Group shot is fall 2009.)

K: As a designer, you really have grown and people are getting to know your name. For instance, your Fall 09 presentation attracted Patrick McMullan, who did a great piece on NBC and also ran on Taxi TV. Was that your first major recognition?
No, my first major recognition was Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) in 2005. The piece with Patrick McMullan from the show was just more recognition for me as a young designer. It’s really great to have that and it’s something I appreciated a lot as well! Check it out here, where Nary talks about being homeless, his Fall 09 inspiration and a few words from Fern Mallis.

K: You’ve had a tumultuous career, and I say that openly because you talk about it often and I feel it really relates with your brand and also tells the story of who you are. Some people may not know the hurdles you have jumped, mind sharing some of them with us?
Both my personal and professional careers haven't been easy, but I didn't expect them to be. This design business isn’t easy and it’s a lot of work once you make it your own. I have gone through a few bad business partners that have just walked away from me. They didn’t believe my vision and wanted to control everything; from the way I designed to where the market should be. My advice is to stay true to who you are as a designer. If you are designing for someone else, don’t! Do it for you, and only you. You’ll get a lot of respect that way.

K: Over the past year, you have been the subject of the documentary Dressed. Tell me how that came about and what it was like being followed around and having your life journaled at every turn.
N: It came about from someone I know very well, who knows me and my background. She was doing a styling job for a commercial and the director, David Swajeski, was talking about doing a documentary and she happened to mention my story. Doing DRESSED was very emotional. It was almost like therapy on camera and I was aware that I was sharing my life with a lot of people. It’s great to look back and see how far I've come; the journey, the obstacle and the man I have become.

(K: To the left here is an ensemble from Spring 09, the time in which we currently live. Check out the Spring collection at www.narymanivong.com and click on eBoutique. I am eagerly awaiting my Abstract Dress!)

K: So, have you begun Spring 10? If so, can you indulge us with what we might see?
N: There’s a few stories that I’m working with for my Spring 2010 collection but I’m not sure what direction I’m going with just yet, that’s something the fans will have to wait and see. What you can expect to see are some of my signature pieces and more beautiful dresses. I’m adding menswear and more item pieces for womenswear.

K: Do you think you will ever show under the tents? Is that a goal of yours?
N: At some point in my career it would be an honor to show at the tents, but it’s not something I only think about doing . I’m more focused about growing the collection. The tents will always will be there.
K: Lets hope! The world has been turned upside down these days, you just never know.

K: Can you give us a fun fact that people don’t know about you? Leanne Marshall was interviewed here a couple of weeks ago, and she let us in on a little secret that when she ran out of underwear due to her hatred of doing laundry, she made her own. Can you top that?
N: Ha- ha! That’s too funny and I don’t think I could top that at all. I actually like doing laundry. For anyone who doesn’t know me, I would the say the fun fact would be that I am a twin. His name is Pila and he is currently living in Columbus, Ohio. During fashion week a lot of editors, models & fashion followers would freak out because they would see me through the entire designing process and when its showtime everyone is doing double takes because he was around. For instance, during the Fall 09 show I was giving the models pep talks and was pulled away for a minute to do an interview. At that time, Pila went backstage to look for me and everyone assumed it was me! After my interview I went backstage to talk to the models again and check to see if everything was okay, but the models freaked out because they were wondering how I changed so fast! I wish it had been on camera, it was so funny.

Nary also has been blogging and he's on Twitter @narymanivong. Make sure you keep your eyes out for his collections and check back here for future updates!

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