Interview

Interview with Nini Nguyen

Today’s interview is with someone that a few of you may be familiar with – the fabulous Nini Nguyen. Nini is a stylist and successful designer with some pretty amazing clients. I’ve followed her through her site for over three years, and it’s been amazing to see her career progress to where it is now (most deservedly), and get to watch her beautiful style all along the way. I loved learning more Nini as I’m sure you will too – enjoy meeting her!

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Who are you? What do you do, and where do you live?

My name is Nini Nguyen and I am a fashion stylist and designer.  I am currently living in Dallas, Texas.

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You work as a successful stylist – a job which for many, is a dream career. How did you first get into this industry?

I was born in Vietnam, lived in Thailand for eight years, and eventually began working in fashion in America when I was fourteen years old. My goal was to get hired at Banana Republic and be a salesperson, but I barely knew any English. I had to start somewhere, so they hired me a few times a week as a janitor. One day a customer came in, and I was very sneaky and helped them. The customer walked out with a major sale and everyone at the store was like, “How did you do that?”

Eventually I became the top salesperson in the region, and then district. I then moved on to Neiman Marcus when I was seventeen for about three years and Barneys for three years after that. Then, I started out on my own as a stylist helping my existing customers – which allowed me more freedom in selecting garments worldwide.

Rihanna in a Nini designed dress

Rihanna in a Nini designed dress

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You recently landed Rihanna as a client, who was not only styled by you – but who also wore some of your very own designs!  What was it like working with her?

I can’t say much about this topic, due our confidentiality agreement.  All I can say is that Rihanna is one of the sweetest clients that I have ever worked with.

Behind the scenes, being filmed for E!

Behind the scenes, being filmed for E!

What are some of your fundamental rules that you follow when styling clients? And what are some of your biggest fashion pet peeves?

My number one rule when I style my clients, is asking and finding out: what makes them feel beautiful and confident! I will start making suggestions from there, and if the client feels confident and beautiful in the items, you will start seeing their personal style and enhance that.

My biggest fashion pet peeve are wrinkled garments. I can’t stand them!

Alaia skirt

Alaia skirt

Vintage Chanel skirt

Vintage Chanel skirt

Can you share some favorite items in your wardrobe?

My favorite items are vintage pieces that I collect from around the world whenever I get a chance.  My favorite piece would have to be my vintage Chanel pencil skirt! They are not  made like they used to be.  Another piece is yet another vintage skirt from Alaia, made out of python. I will never give these pieces away!

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Using Hermes scarf as belt

You’re always so beautifully dressed up – do you ever dress down? Something I struggle with is the fact that while I love beautiful and formal clothing,  I often find it quite uncomfortable! Do you have any tips?

I would never put anything uncomfortable on my body no matter how beautiful it was, except for certain pairs of  Christian Louboutin!  Beautiful clothing should make you feel beautiful and should not add any doubts in your mind.  Being uncomfortable will trick your mind into feeling that something is not right, and you won’t feel your best! So be sure to select beautiful, comfortable clothes.

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What items are you wearing over and over again right now – that you have received great “cost per wear” from? Any favorite brands that appear frequently in your closet?

Currently the items that I am wearing the most right now are my Prada pumps, both in black and white.  Both colors allow me to mix them easily with other garments and they are so comfortable to go shopping and meet with clients in. Rick Owens is one of my favorite brands, for its edginess and ease of wear which fits my style. Vince is another brand that I purchase from frequently for my basic items.

In a vintage Alaia dress

In a vintage Alaia dress

What are some of your other passions and hobbies?

My other hobby is cooking! I enjoy learning new recipes and trying new ingredients every chance I get.

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Wearing Hermes scarves as a top

Finally…please share something surprising about yourself!

I used to be very afraid of dogs since childhood. But since living with one with my husband, I now feel that every person on the planet should have a dog as part of their family.

 

I loved reading about Nini’s path to where she is now – it’s truly inspiring and a testament to both her hard work and persistence and the sheer talent she possesses. I really enjoyed hearing more about Nini and her style, and am looking forward to seeing the amazing places her styling and design career takes her in the future. Thank you very much to Nini for being here today, and for more of her, please visit her blog, here.

 

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  • TheFashionableTeacher
    March 27, 2013 at 8:42 am

    I love that you’ve done another Texas gal. Now, people can see that we’re not all big hair and cowboy boots (none of which I’ve ever rocked). I’ve been reading Nini’s blog for a long time, and I really enjoyed this interview. While her style is not my own, it works for her. She’s always flawless.

    • Katherine
      March 27, 2013 at 10:37 am

      Ha, I’ve never thought that about Texas gals (though I love to see big hair and cowboy boots!) 🙂

  • Prêt à Porter P
    March 27, 2013 at 8:57 am

    She’s fabulous and seems very sweet.

  • Anonymous
    March 27, 2013 at 10:06 am

    I love her and her blog of course! 🙂

  • adele
    March 27, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Thank you for introducing me to Nini, I’m now following her!
    Trench coat Giveaway on my blog!
    Happy Wednesday Hun xoxo
    http://www.intotheblonde.com/

  • Irina
    March 27, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Good morning!
    What a beauty.. I hate wrinkled items too! But i hate ironing even more, I think:( Katherine, what do you do when you need to iron something? Dry cleaning or manual labor?:)

    • Katherine
      March 27, 2013 at 4:35 pm

      Manual labor except for excessively detailed items – I’m cheap that way, but have a limit! 🙂

      • Prêt à Porter P
        March 27, 2013 at 10:37 pm

        get a steamer! I refuse to keep anything that requires an actual iron.

        • Katherine
          March 28, 2013 at 11:02 am

          Ah thanks for the reminder to get one of these – does it really make your life so much better? I need to just get my butt on Amazon and order one 🙂 Thank you!

          • Irina
            March 28, 2013 at 1:51 pm

            Which one , which one! I ruined so many items by the steamer that i had that i’m afraid to use it anymore:(

  • Fauxionista
    March 27, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    She is such an inspiration and thank you for sharing her story! Off to check out her blog now.

    fauxionista.com

  • Grace
    March 27, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Great interview.
    I’ve been following Nini since her Barney’s days and truly happy for her success now!

    Grace

    • Katherine
      March 27, 2013 at 9:26 pm

      Thanks Grace!

  • stina auer
    March 28, 2013 at 2:20 am

    I love her too and think her story is so marvellous! I love when you have to work hard for something and then finally it pays out! She is a true inspiration and as soon as I give birth to my second baby, I can’t wait to build up my career again and feeling that pride of achieving something creative, even though family will from now on always come first.

    Great job! Well done!

    Best,
    stina auer

  • Monica J.
    March 28, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Wow, great blog!
    Love the Rihanna White dress, she look so beautiful!

  • Jessy
    March 28, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    Great interview! Nini is stunning and I love her style!!

  • Mrs C
    March 29, 2013 at 2:38 am

    Wow, some achievements she has! I think if you have styled Rihanna, you’ve arrived!

    HAPPY EASTER WEEKEND!
    MRS JACK OF ALL TRADES
    http://mrsjackofalltradesdaily.blogspot.ae/

  • Marlene @ chocolatecookiesandcandies
    March 29, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    She started working at 14! What an inspiring person who started with nothing but an incredible work ethic and sheer determination.

    • Katherine
      March 29, 2013 at 12:47 pm

      Yes she is an amazing example and story 🙂

  • Jo
    March 29, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Love this interview!

    xo Jo

    http://www.whiterosesandcoffee.com/

  • Susan L
    April 5, 2013 at 11:12 am

    What an amazing and inspiring interview! Her work ethic and talent are truly admirable! 🙂 Thanks again for introducing such interesting people on your blog!

  • Diva In Me
    April 14, 2013 at 10:16 am

    I’m very impressed by her achievement and definitely it is definitely an inspiration. Hard work and determination definitely paid off.