New York Fashion Week Spring 2008: Thuy Diep, Vietnamese-American Designer from SoCal

December 8, 2007

Thursday started my first full day of shows here in New York and I was really looking forward to seeing the collection of newcomer Thuy Diep, a young designer who grew up in Canoga Park in the San Fernando Valley.
The California-reared Vietnamese-American, who’s worked for such powerhouses like Carolina Herrera, Zac Posen and Bay Area native Peter Som, showed 17 looks in an airy, loft space this afternoon. Her second collection since she started her label, Thuy.
Her design aesthetic fit the space – uncluttered, modern, bright.
“I like to use great fabrics and do one-off details that are subtle, but catches the eye,” she said in a quick interview during the presentation. “Each piece has something special.”
That would include a simple shift, done in silver glittery fabric, with three horizontal tiers draped so that part of the lines appear as if they are melting.
(It’s the first dress in the group shot.)
Diep, who was born in Phan Thiet, which she describes as a resort town located between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Her parents were tailors who ran a tailoring school and custom clothing business before immigrating to the U.S.

Diep was educated at Brown University and worked for Pricewaterhouse as a consultant before going to Parsons School of Design (yes, the one featured in Project Runway) and taking on draping and pattern making jobs for Herrera, Posen and Som.
Last season, she struck out on her own and impressed a number of luxury retailers, including Bergdorf Goodman. She giddily says she’s booking “quite a few” appointments with buyers interested in this spring line. Especially in the spotlight: the slim tuxedo jackets.
Her coats  – a silver gray linen blend one and a floral brocade, kimono sleeve one – struck me as pretty special. They will retail for about $1,000.
Also special, a blue satin high waisted pencil skirt with seams and a diagonal cut that hugged curves in the right places, eliminating the sort of ride-up inherent in the shape of a pencil skirt. Genius.
Diep is definitely one I’ll watch. She’s talented yes, and that’s reason enough.
But her heritage alone should spark the interest of many in Silicon Valley’s Southeast Asian community.

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