NANCY TRAN

FASH­ION, STRIK­ING A BAL­ANCE

Upscale Living Magazine - - Front Page - | By Felic­ity Carter

Nancy Tran is the name be­hind ex­quis­ite, cou­ture-cut gar­ments. Born in Saigon and raised in the United States, Tran is known for the qual­ity and cut of her cloth­ing. For her most re­cent Spring/ Sum­mer 2018 col­lec­tion she has de­signed deca­dent day and cock­tail dresses and evening gowns, as well as sep­a­rates and un­sur­pris­ingly they ex­ude so­phis­ti­ca­tion and a thought­ful­ness that comes with such lux­ury. This sea­son’s themes of re­birth and ra­di­ance were cap­tured via del­i­cate but­ter­flies and un­furl­ing bou­quets, sig­ni­fy­ing a bright con­fi­dence for all who wear the brand. How did you start in the fash­ion in­dus­try what was your train­ing?

I ac­tu­ally had a suc­cess­ful ca­reer in cor­po­rate law and fi­nance be­fore one day re­al­iz­ing that I was ready for a change and en­rolled in the fash­ion de­sign as­so­ciate pro­gram at the Fash­ion In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy (FIT). And like any lifeal­ter­ing de­ci­sion, I faced this with a great deal of trep­i­da­tion. But I was also aware that I re­ally needed to chal­lenge my­self, and that to leap into this ex­cit­ing, cre­ative en­deavor was ac­tu­ally fol­low­ing a dream I had held since grow­ing up in Saigon. Even the process of get­ting into the pro­gram was ar­du­ous as I had to prove that de­spite not hav­ing the tra­di­tional “fash­ion” back­ground I could bring a unique vi­sion to the pro­gram and I was ac­cepted. As I went through those FIT cour­ses I was re­minded of how as a child I used to sketch and de­sign and cre­ate my own clothes. Even back then I taught my­self how to sew, drape and make pat­terns so it was like re­dis­cov­er­ing a part of my­self I thought I had left be­hind. Of course, it was al­to­gether a new ex­pe­ri­ence to learn those fun­da­men­tals of dress mak­ing from bril­liant in­dus­try teach­ers and men­tors. And it took me a few years of trial and er­ror be­fore I was fi­nally ready to launch my own line.

What is it about the in­dus­try that you find al­lur­ing/in­tox­i­cat­ing?

There are highly dy­namic as­pects to Fash­ion as a form of self-ex­pres­sion. It is cre­ative and con­stantly evolv­ing. It can be ap­proached as art but you still need to con­sider its com­mer­cial vi­a­bil­ity. It is both func­tional yet sym­bolic. It is an adorn­ment yet an ex­ten­sion of one­self. And the in­dus­try it­self is a con­stantly ex­cit­ing en­gine of change spurred on by bold vi­sion and pop­u­lated by the most bril­liantly cre­ative in­di­vid­u­als who are masters of so many dis­ci­plines. What is there not to find al­lur­ing?

De­scribe your brand aes­thetic in 3 words.

So­phis­ti­ca­tion. El­e­gance. Time­less.

Lux­ury, what is this in your eyes?

To me, lux­ury is some­thing you ex­pe­ri­ence, that en­gages your senses and im­merses you. And that is one of the key el­e­ments I in­cor­po­rate into my cre­ations. I keep in mind how a gar­ment will make the wearer feel. And I am al­ways look­ing for ways to make her feel trans­formed and el­e­vated, beau­ti­ful and con­fi­dent. If I suc­ceed in that then she will have ex­pe­ri­enced lux­ury it­self.

The col­lec­tion ex­udes the ephemeral beauty of meta­mor­pho­sis... how has your brand evolved?

Even though this is my de­but col­lec­tion, it took me over a year to re­ally re­fine not just the core ideas of the brand but the prac­ti­cal cre­ation of the pieces. I went through sev­eral sam­ple it­er­a­tions and ex­per­i­mented with pro­por­tions and sought out the finest fab­rics and the ideal ar­ti­sans who could ex­e­cute the intricate de­tails. It was a con­stantly de­vel­op­ing process and along with my own evo­lu­tion be­came the very in­spi­ra­tion of the col­lec­tion. And that’s why the Spring Sum­mer 2018 Col­lec­tion is called “Trans­for­ma­tion” that I launched at New York Fash­ion Week. And ul­ti­mately meta­mor­pho­sis it­self may ac­tu­ally be at the core of the brand be­cause I con­tinue to shape my new de­signs to re­flect not just the sea­sonal changes around us but the rhythm of life it­self.

What is your de­sign to pro­duc­tion process?

I be­gin with an idea, a con­cept that truly in­spires me and that usu­ally takes the vis­ual form of some­thing in na­ture. And that will grow into an­cil­lary ideas that fall within that same mo­tif. I then start sketch­ing – sil­hou­ettes and

de­tails – and I go out to source fab­rics. Once I have those build­ing blocks on hand, I go to my pro­duc­tion team and work out the prac­ti­cal ex­e­cu­tion. I hand-pick the ex­pert silk painters to trans­late my art­work which is then printed onto fab­rics us­ing ad­vanced dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy in New York City. Ad­di­tion­ally, I work with the ar­ti­sans who hand cre­ate the em­broi­deries. So these de­signs ac­tu­ally travel across con­ti­nents be­fore fi­nally emerg­ing a com­pleted gar­ment, a com­bi­na­tion of mod­ern so­phis­ti­ca­tion and old­world per­fec­tion.

Tell us about the color pal­ette and ma­te­ri­als you have used for your lat­est col­lec­tion...

For the Spring Sum­mer 2018 col­lec­tion, I re­ally wanted to dive into these beau­ti­ful col­ors that will cap­ti­vate the be­holder. I didn’t want to play it safe or just cre­ate an­other dozen or so black pieces of which ev­ery­one prob­a­bly al­ready owns two dozen. The col­lec­tion is for a woman who isn’t afraid to be her­self or to en­joy the at­ten­tion. So I use a lot of rav­ish­ing pinks, yel­lows, reds, and blues in var­i­ous shades – not quite bright but not quite muted. I sought to cap­ture a sweet spot where it was just right. The fab­rics are mostly silk and taffeta, all soft as but­ter against the skin.

You’ve gone with clas­sic sil­hou­ettes when you are sketch­ing do you have any­one in mind?

Au­drey Hep­burn has al­ways in­spired me, not only for her im­mense fash­ion sense but also for her hu­man­i­tar­ian en­deav­ors. I want the brand to ex­em­plify beauty in­side and out. Au­drey was radiant, grace­ful, and el­e­gant. She was also unafraid to ex­plore avant-garde sil­hou­ettes while re­tain­ing her sig­na­ture-re­fined beauty. She was the epit­ome of 1950’s glam­our - the decade where the style was born - a time when el­e­gance was the cor­ner­stone of fash­ion. Long af­ter her pass­ing, her sta­tus as a style and fash­ion icon still re­main in­tact. She left an inim­itable legacy that con­tin­ues to in­spire to­day.

Where did your themes of re­birth and ra­di­ance come from?

As I men­tioned ear­lier, I start with an idea of na­ture it­self. But for this col­lec­tion, I knew I wanted to en­cour­age this no­tion of dis­cov­er­ing your­self and let­ting beauty emerge from your­self. It was about the col­lec­tion, and about my own per­sonal jour­ney, and about the women I wanted to dress. I have al­ways been in­trigued and in­spired by the power of trans­for­ma­tion. It takes courage, willpower, and pas­sion to al­low and com­mit one­self to be trans­formed.

What is glam­our to you?

To me, a woman has glam­our when she pos­sesses a quiet con­fi­dence, charisma and a sense of hu­man­ity. It takes in­ner strength, courage, and char­ac­ter to gen­uinely care for oth­ers, as much as one cares for one­self, and a woman who does this is truly beau­ti­ful. This beauty per­me­ates and shines through from her in­ner self out­ward giv­ing her a glow and glam­our that is sim­ply in­com­pa­ra­ble.

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