"New Yorkers are always trying to do 9,000 things in one day," says Beverly Nguyen. She should know: Nguyen, a New Yorker herself, has spent the bulk of her very busy career styling A-list celebrities, like Margot Robbie and Michelle Williams, and big campaigns, like Puma, as a member of the team for It girl stylist Kate Young.
But the year 2020, of course, forced a slow down. As lockdowns started, Nguyen, the daughter of Vietnamese refugees, found herself in Southern California close to her parents, separated from her bustling life on the east coast. When red carpets and photo shoots came to a screeching halt, her styling gigs ceased. So she began working as a project manager of sorts alongside her family in their textile manufacturing plant, producing N95 masks for hospitals.
"The dramatic shift in my routine made me re-evaluate the creative outlets I surrounded myself with," Nguyen says. "I was asking myself a lot of questions like, 'What do I need in order to survive and be happy?' It turns out that wasn't just fashion, it was a mix of things," she explains. Nguyen, who loves gathering people together and entertaining, felt a yearning to create a space that would bring the people she loved together while lifting up existing BIPOC communities.
As restrictions lifted, she flew back to New York and began talking to her friends, many of them creatives from varying fields. Adept at building fantastical worlds (a product of her years spent piecing together styling mood boards for photoshoots), Nguyen drew up the blueprint for a one-stop-shop where people could pick up both life essentials and small luxuries, from screwdrivers to hostess gifts. Inventory would be hand-selected by Nguyen, who would source pieces from local wholesalers, including struggling businesses in NYC's Chinatown.
In April 2021, Nguyen's vision came to life with the opening of her first namesake pop-up shop, Beverly's, on Ludlow Street in Manhattan. Designed as a transient shop, the first location (which closes this month) was the physical embodiment of Nguyen's Vietnamese heritage (selling her parents' handmaid linens), her love for homeware, and a place where friends new and old could convene. Her second location opened in June, making it the first store in Rockefeller Center to be founded by an Asian-American woman. Nguyen admits, half jokingly, she's dreaming of a Beverly's on Beverly Drive in Los Angeles.
The fashion veteran, who still styles regularly, is quickly carving out a second career for herself. We sat down to talk fashion first impressions, the makings of her work wardrobe, and how clothes can keep stress at bay.
Her Morning Routine:
It's been so crazy lately. I wake up and have seven espresso shots, and then I read the paper to deflect from all responsibilities. Joking aside, every morning is different. I try to get in some fresh air before I have to deal with emails. I usually run along the West Side Highway and then I meditate. Then, I'll check in with the stores. It's really interesting when you own a retail space. It's kind of like having children—you cater to them first. After that, I start thinking about my styling responsibilities and check in on my team to make sure they're all good. Every day has a bit of a different tackle list.
Her Work Style Philosophy:
When I was young, my parents drove home the importance of presenting yourself in the most proper manner: respect the time that you put into the way you look when you meet someone. That has always stuck with me. My mom would work behind a sewing machine for nine hours a day, all the while wearing heels and a DKNY bodycon dress. So, when we first opened the pop-up, I was pretty much wearing an extreme gala look every weekend. Once, I worked on a 12-day shoot, wearing heels and had all of the bells and whistles on—diamonds and pearls, lipstick, and big earrings.
Her Work Uniform:
I [also] have nine white shirts and blue striped button-downs that I wear pretty much every day [to work].
Her Personal Style:
Style can be a very tender and vulnerable expression of yourself. I get dressed to feel protected. I usually wear something that requires a zipper, a button, or a hook and eye. I find it so important to feel like you're being held upright. The more stressed I am, the more dressed up I am.
On Collaborating with Family:
My parents sew the linens and tea towels that we sell at the store in their textile manufacturing plant in California. They're very important to me. I buy the fabric in Midtown, ship it to them in CA, and they ship the finished product back to me.
Her Surprise Favorite Beverly Product:
The olive oil that we sell at Beverly's is produced by a couple in Northern California. They produce a small harvest each year and certify or grade organic olive oil all over the country. I have a 100-page PDF [on the process] that I read a little bit from every night. It explains the pressing process, the temperature, the fats inside the olives, the science behind the machines that pull apart the seeds. I thought this would just be some fun merchandise, I didn't know I was going to become an olive oil connoisseur! With each new batch, we've been creating custom labels in collaboration with different artists, graphic designers, and friends. It's not just olive oil, they're more like collectibles really.