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Dressed (I) (2011)

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DRESSED is the inspiring story of Laos-American fashion designer, Nary Manivong, who defied a broken childhood and homelessness in Columbus Ohio, to follow his dream of chowing his ... See full summary »

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Credited cast:
Mickey Boardman ...
Simon Collins ...
George Furlan ...
Mary Gehlhar ...
Nary Manivong ...
Janet Mock ...
Emily Ming-An Wang ...
Herself (as Emily Wang)
Dony West ...
Lynn Yaeger ...


DRESSED is the inspiring story of Laos-American fashion designer, Nary Manivong, who defied a broken childhood and homelessness in Columbus Ohio, to follow his dream of chowing his collection at New York's Fashion Week and launching his brand. Written by Maryanne Grisz

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Homeless at 14. Every designer's dream begins somewhere. See more »



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4 February 2011 (USA)  »

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2 March 2011 | by (Columbus, Ohio) – See all my reviews

"Fashion is not glamorous. Butchery would be more glamorous." Dressed

The sometimes interesting documentary, Dressed, chronicles the preparations months ahead of time for fashionista Nary Manivong's first show during New York's Fashion Week. Nary is the epicenter of this frank documentary that shows the physical, mental, and financial strain involved in launching a new designer.

If you have hopes of your own show and your signature line of clothes, don't see this film, for it reminds you insistently, through various talking heads such as a writer for the Village Voice and the chatty editor from Paper magazine, of the remote chance that you will achieve either, something akin, I suppose, to becoming an NBA player. In fact, of the scores of new designers each year, after two years only twenty percent will be standing.

Laos-American Nary, born in Columbus, Ohio, was abandoned at 14 by his parents, along with other siblings including his twin brother. As we are reminded throughout by the dean of the Parsons School of Design and others, only the passionate and focused will survive, and that is not a given for those with the traits. While it lacks the insights and sheer fun of Unzipped (1995), about Isaac Mizrahi, Dressed does show Nary go the gamut of emotions from elation when he gets funding to depression hours before his show because not all the dresses are finished at the factory, or even paid for. He variously threatens to quit and go back to Columbus; only the strong survive.

Although giving a look into the daily grind of the garment district, the documentary risked losing interest with innumerable close-ups of Neary, often unaccompanied by text or voice over, most of the time in hoodie just walking. The title cards of background information are annoying rather than helpful, and the quick shifts between black and white and color gratuitous. The high percentage of references to his impoverished childhood failed to show me the connection with his artistry. The shots of him sitting on a bench, often with a ghetto image behind him, left me saying, "I get it, now show him creating, from inspiration to pinning fabric on a model." Much of the pinning occurs, but the actual inspiration is usually lacking.

Dressed is a helpful introduction to the whirling world of fashion design: When Nary walks through the biggest fabric emporium in the US, and maybe the world, his delight with the possibilities for each bolt he picks up is as rewarding as seeing a spectacular model wearing the final product.

Beyond that visual delight, I still don't know what makes Nary run.

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