Read the hashtags used by 21-year-old Sylvia Nguyen (www.instagram.com/sylvia79) to identify her Instagram photos, and you’ll get an eerie feeling that you’ve arrived at Paris Fashion Week. Nguyen, who founded an architecture consulting firm in Vietnam and now studies business at Boston University, unapologetically loves posh fashion. And yet, despite those designer names — Chanel, Dior, Valentino — Nguyen looks for more than a logo when she shops. After taking a cyber tour of her closet on Instagram, we had some questions.
Q. You clearly enjoy big name designers. What’s the appeal of high-end goods for you?
A. High-end goods to me are works of art. There are reasons for their price and rarity. I don’t buy something because it is branded; I buy it because I appreciate the design, fabric, and craftsmanship. Also because it makes my heart skip a beat.
Q. Do you remember the first major designer piece that you bought?
A. I’d say a Chanel dress. It caught my eye because it was such a classy and elegant piece, but it didn’t make me look 10 years older. The fuchsia color was absolutely stunning, and the soft sparkling fabric made it comfortable to wear. I was very coy with it at first, like having a crush on a movie star. When it comes to shopping, I don’t let myself fall in love until I have acquired the piece — it saves me from heartaches.
Q. In many of your pictures, it looks like you’re in dressing rooms trying things on. Do you cheat and take pictures in dressing rooms to pass the clothes off as your own?
A. Every girl loves taking pictures in the dressing room, perhaps the lighting and clean background makes it a perfect posing spot. Sometimes that will be the only place where I take pictures of my new pieces to share with friends. Almost always I commit to the pieces I try on. If I take pictures of it, I must like it.
Q. Is there a designer you follow more than any other?
A. Christian Dior. I love how Dior’s ready-to-wear makes a girl feel like a princess. It embraces a fresh elegance and romantic femininity. With that said, I think Raf Simons’s debut collection for Dior is to die for.
Q. Let’s say you inherit an obscene amount of money, what’s the one piece of clothing you would spend it on?
A. Without a doubt, a red gown by Valentino.
Q. Have you ever bought a fake purse that you’ve passed off as the real thing?
A. No. I understand why people do it, but I think I have too much respect for the fashion houses to even consider buying a fake. Once you have carried a replica, no matter how many authentic bags you own, people will always have their doubts. I think great style is not limited to high-end products, there are many people who dress well without having to buy fakes. You can fake a bag, but you can’t fake personal style.
Christopher Muther can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at Chris_Muther and on Instagram at Chrisinbos. Want to participate? E-mail your Instagram handle.