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Beautiful Gowns and the Most Important Friend in My Life

Andy Thê-Anh has dressed and undressed me hundreds of times. What a shame that he married another man this summer! I’ve known Andy Thê-Anh since I was 16. At the time I was so young, pure and naive…he’s the one who led me astray! Without him, I would have never thought I could pull off such racy outfits. Just note that behind that angelic face of his lies a very mischievous and creative mind!

The first time I met Andy was at Château, right on 2020 University. It was my first day in retail, and boy did I get an initiation! The manager and his team (that would be Andy) asked me to pick up checkerboard paint at Château des Terrasses and count all the safety pins in the backstore. What a rascal!

Andy charmed every client who came near him with his usual swag. He knew everything about style! I mean, he was studying at LaSalle College. I learned very quickly that there was no way I could be the top seller in this store because Andy was in a league of his own. The only things I could possibly top were the charts, but first, I had to finish high school. Because he was the only designer I knew, I asked him to make my prom dress. He dreamt up this long, black velour dress with a massive train — it looked like something straight out of a Mügler ad in Italian Vogue. The overall look was perfect, even if clashed with everyone else’s prom attire. I may have ditched my prom date, but I kept the designer.

A few months later, I signed a record deal, and that’s when Andy Thê-Ahn started to reign supreme. I had just set foot into his wonderful world…Actually, I had just entered his semi-basement apartment on Rachel. Andy could do anything, like sew a dress while he fried Imperial rolls. My dresses were beautiful and they smelled delicious too!

A little later, he came to live upstairs from my mom. My poor mother! She had seen just about everything! For my first tour, Andy and I nabbed the kitchen clock so we could stick it on the back of my red leather vest. I was never on time, but my clothes certainly were!

Throughout that time, Andy was single. He was more than single — not once did I hear him talk about love. His work came first, and everything came after. I handled the dresses with care and I would hang them carefully in the closet. And then one day Andy came out one. He met a strawberry-blonde, a Harry Potter type. This one was handsome, modest and always ready to calm us down with his soothing voice while Andy and I, mid-panic attack, were in the middle of our final fitting at midnight.

Everything worked out well for the couple. Andy and Harry Potter moved into my mother’s old property on Garnier. Harry Potter is still the calming force in that relationship, and its silver lining too. Together, they prove that when you’re in love, you don’t do things half-heartedly. They got married this summer in front of their best friends and I was fortunate enough to be counted among them. The ceremony was beautiful. What you should know is that Andy keeps his friends close to his heart, and that’s one of the best ways to design the fabric we call life. Speaking of design, he’s had such an impact on the threads of my entrepreneurial being because he was the one who introduced me to Andrew Lapierre, who has been my business partner along with husband, Iohann Martin, for 20 years.

My Andy is and always will be loving, compassionate, funny and exceptional. I am lucky to have a friend like him in my life and his dresses have seen me through some of the happiest moments in my life.

Recently, I had the pleasure of bringing out one of the dresses Andy made for me for his Frida Kahlo-inspired runway show back in 2002. I wore it again for “Montreal Identity/Identities,” which was part of the celebration of Montreal’s 375th anniversary. It was part of a presentation organized by Festival Mode & Design and Andrew McNally directed the show. It featured more than 100 iconic looks that helped to define our history. Andy’s collections and partnerships have really left a mark on my own history and that of so many women in Québec. And his presence will be felt in even more wardrobes thanks to his new role as Design Director for Laura Canada.

Credit: @jimmyhamelin

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Beautiful Gowns and the Most Important Friend in My Life