Tuesday, December 25, 2007

How They Wear It: Anh Duong

Anh Duong is a New York-based painter specializing in portraiture, whom Vanity Fair called "the Frida Kahlo of the 21st century." Born in 1960 in Bordeaux, France to a Spanish mother and a Vietnamese father, Duong studied architecture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and danced with the Franchetti Academy of Classical Dance before her regal and exotic looks launched into a successful modeling career that spanned the late 80’s through the early 90’s. She’s posed for fashion photographers Michel Comte, Peter Lindbergh, Steven Meisel and Deborah Turbeville, as well as serving as muse to designers Donna Karan, Christian Lacroix, John Galliano and Diane von Furstenberg. In 2006 she married architect Barton Quillen in a Couture dress designed for her by Christian Lacroix.

Over the years she has become a loyal Couture client at both Lacroix and Gaultier. Although couture offers customers the luxury of modifying garments to their own tastes and body, she typically doesn’t alter a couturier’s original designs.

Clockwise: Modeling backstage at Lacroix’s couture show in 1989; In Gaultier Paris, Spring 2003; Being fitted by Lacroix before a show; In Gaultier Paris, Spring 2003; In Christian Lacroix, Fall 2006; Christian Lacroix, Spring 2004.

© THE POLYGLOT (all rights reserved) CHICAGO-PARIS


Anonymous said...

I think Anh Duong wears couture exceptionally well (she is a p/t model, after all), but can she truly be said to be a couture "client," when one has to assume she probably didn't pay for most of the garments she's seen modeling? (I would think she borrows most of the clothing she's photographed wearing, which the designers are only too happy to do for the publicity said photos generate).

A small point, to be sure, but I doubt she has the means to buy couture outright, the way the princesses and oil baronesses do. She seems more like a couture muse to me than an actual client.

The Fashion Informer

Anonymous said...

True, I did hesitate to include Ms. Duong on the list of clients because of her relationship with Lacroix and the fact that she has been lent dresses in the past. But there were two points that made me reconsider her inclusion:

1. She commissioned her wedding dress from Lacroix, a couture garment that wasn’t simply taken off a rack but required numerous fittings to create. Although Lacroix has had a long professional relationship with her, I’m not sure he handed the dress to her out right for free, as such pieces are probably the most costly in haute couture. But it does point to a trend in haute couture where you’re seeing clients who may not buy regularly, but commission dresses for once in a lifetime events (such as a wedding).

2. Unlike many celebrities (singers, actresses) who are lent dresses, Ms. Duong is more of what I’d call a cultural icon, in the sense she’s not a household name but is more familiar to those in the fashion and art world. Also unlike most celebrities, when asked, she actually does know the difference between an haute couture garment and a ready to wear piece. She has that savoir-faire and knowledge of being fitted several times for garments, and she’s worn haute couture in such a consistent manor, not because a personal stylist told her too, but out of appreciation for the craft. She is an example of someone who exhibits the characteristics of a couture client. On the opposite spectrum I also included the actress Catherine Deneuve, who we know for a fact is a fully paid member of the couture club.

All the Best,
The Polyglot