BlackBook Interview: Kim Petras on Madonna, Paris Hilton’s Closet & Being Really, Really Prolific

 

Image by Spencer Byron

 

A decade after transitioning, 2018 would be a pivotally explosive year for Kim Petras, the budding pop star, model, and all around fierce person who now calls Los Angeles her home. She tore up the stage at the Billboard Hot 100 Fest, strutted gloriously around New York Fashion Week, toured with Troye Sivan, and released a series of musical gems including the massive hit “Heart to Break,” which topped 16 million streams. Not enough? She also dropped the critically-acclaimed Halloween-themed mixtape Turn Off The Light Vol. 1.

Petras was also nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for breaking barriers as Outstanding Music Artist alongside Janelle Monáe, Years & Years, and Christine & The Queens.

But 2019 finds her on a new mission: releasing singles at a lightning pace, which has netted the considerable likes of “Broken,” “Got My Number,” “Blow it All,” “Sweet Spot,” “Do Me,” and her most recent, “Personal Hell.” As she prepared for a much-buzzed-about show at Irving Plaza on Friday, June 14 – as part of a 20 date North American and European tour that takes her into September – we sat her down for a chat about it all.

 

You’re an independent artist. With this, you really have more control over your music and you’re using this power to release new tracks and projects on your own terms. What led to this strategy of releasing a new song each week? It reminds me of how Justin Bieber released his Journals album on a “Music Monday” basis before turning them into a compilation album. Is that the same idea here?

Kind of – yes! We wrote about 40-something songs for this new era. I was like “Okay, I want to start putting them out now and getting them done on the go.” We wanted to give ourselves the challenge of keeping up with it and finishing each of these songs in not a lot of time – having a song ready to go every week. That’s how it came about, really. Last era, I released a track a month, so it was also fun to pick the speed up. I never want to repeat myself, so it’s keeping things interesting. I like that my fans are looking forward to a new song every week – it keeps me going. It’s like a new episode of a TV show coming out every week.

You have hinted that upcoming songs are going to be a true representation of you, rather than the “club version” of you. Does that go for the music and the lyrics both?

I feel like I’m a different person every single day, but I think all it’s 100% me. For this particular era, I wanted it to feel like you’re hanging out with me when you listen. I’m kinda inviting you into my life – and into my problems, too. I feel like my fans are my friends and I want them to know what I’m going through, I want them to know that everyone gets sad sometimes. I want them to relate and put the songs on when they go through the same things. I want to make the soundtrack to their lives, not just their parties…even though I do think I’ve put out four party bops already this era: “Blow It All,” “Sweet Spot,” “Got My Number,” and “Do Me.” I feel like I’ve gotten more confident on this record to talk about the not-so-glamorous moments. I just now feel comfortable to kinda share that.

Can you confirm there will be an album? If so, how many songs can we expect, and how many are yet unheard?

There will be a project – I can say that. There are going to be plenty of songs on it, but if I give any of it away there’d be no surprise, it wouldn’t be fun, and life would suck. But there’s going to be a project, and this has all been leading up to something, so there’s no need to panic. I see you Twitter stans! I love you and I’ve got you. (N.B. – As this interview went to press, it was announced that eight of her singles would be gathered, along with four as yet unheard, for a collection titled Clarity, released this June 27th.)

 

 

How do you feel about Madonna doing the same thing at the same time? Was there any competition there?

I loved it! I’m so here for her. That we started the exact same week doing that was iconic. She’s my favorite pop star of all time. No competition at all. She’s the queen.

With New Music Fridays and CDs being borderline obsolete, the music industry is becoming a revolving door of new songs. How do you think this is going to change how artists release music going forward?

I think this is the new wave. This is the way to do it, especially for me as a new artist breaking into the industry. I think it’s an amazing way to keep yourself out there, rather than taking a year off. For me personally, I just think that if the song is a hit, it’ll do well. It doesn’t really matter what the strategy behind it is. In the streaming era, it’s important to constantly drop new music, I don’t think you can take time off anymore as an artist.

With so many songs out, your fans are waiting for visuals to accompany them. Are there videos in the works? Can you give an idea of what they will look like?

There are things in the works, but I can’t share anything just yet. There is going to be a music video – or maybe multiple ones, who knows? There are going to be visuals for sure, but I’m really happy with the lyric videos and visualizers that I have now. I think they’re really cool and cohesive, and for me, as an OCD artist, they’re really visually pleasing.

 

 

You’re about to embark on your first headlining tour, the Broken Tour, which quickly sold out in the US and Europe. What can we expect to see?

Well, this is my first, official headlining tour. It’s the first time that I get to make the stage what I want it to be, that I get the visuals I want, that I get to make the setlist what I want it to be and get to use the whole stage. So, it’s going to be exactly how I want it to be, which is amazing. When you’re playing in clubs, which I’ve done for years and years, you’re using whatever’s there and you take whatever you can get. I don’t think anybody expected the tour to sell out as quickly as it did. It kinda surprised all of us, so it was pretty amazing, and it felt really great. I’ve very thankful and feel very blessed.

I believe that manifestation is real, so let’s speak something into the universe and make it happen. Who would your dream collaboration be with?

Right now…Post Malone! I’m a huge fan and think he’s an amazing writer. I love his sound and listen to him a lot – he’s incredible.

Last question, and possibly our most hard hitting: If you had to pick one closet to shop out of for the rest of your life: Paris Hilton or David Bowie?

Paris Hilton all day! I’ve been in her closet, it’s amazing. She has the best closet out there…definitely.

 

Image by Thom Kerr

Radical Chic: Dazzling Thierry Mugler Exhibition Opens in Montreal

 

When we think of Thierry Mugler, we immediately think of Beyoncé’s 2009 “I Am…” world tour, and that amazing motorcycle bodysuit armor. However, there is so much more to the exalted designer – and it’s all about to be on display. Indeed, Thierry Mugler: Couturissime opens this month at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) – and it’s utterly jaw-dropping.

Mugler has done it all: couturier, director, photographer, and perfumer. And the MMFA will be displaying it in all its glory, exhibiting more than 130 perception-challenging designs created between 1973 and 2001. Most have not been shown previously. Along with the threads, many unseen archive documents and photos by notorious collaborators will also be on show.

The expansive survey will reveal the multiple universes of Mugler, particularly the ready to-wear and haute couture creations with morphological and futuristic cuts; glamorous, sculptural and elegant silhouettes with super-heroine shoulders; and a corseted waist dressing a sublime, sensual and powerful woman in constant metamorphosis.

 

 

Indeed, he has created some of the most dazzling fashion spectacles throughout his career, including costuming of Shakespeare’s Macbeth by the Comédie Française at the Festival d’Avignon, and the Zumanity show by the Cirque du Soleil. His celebrity client roster reads like a register of entertainment royalty: Diana Ross, David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Liza Minelli, Céline Dion, and of course, Queen B(eyoncé).

But even beyond fashion and design, Mugler applied his magic to photography and film. He helmed the iconic 1990 video Too Funky by the late George Michael, as well as short films starring the considerable likes of Isabelle Huppert and Juliette Binoche. All will be showcased at the MMFA.

The exhibition is a tribute to Thierry Mugler in every sense of his singular being and unparalleled accomplishments. It all comes courtesy of curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot (who also organized the initial 2011 Gaultier exhibit), under the direction of Nathalie Bondil, Director General and Chief Curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. For fashion fans, it’s absolutely unmissable.

Thierry Mugler: Couturissime will run from March 2 – September 8, 2019.

 

BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Emily Vaughn’s Stunning New Synth-Pop Single ‘Pieces’

Image by Justin Gilbert 

 

Despite sneaking in a bit under the radar, Emily Vaughn‘s “Dead 2 Me” single and video, released last month, clearly signaled a star in the making. Indeed, FADER said it, “makes dumping your BF or GF sound like the kindest, most uplifting thing you can do.”

And in anticipation of her upcoming debut EP Bitch Bops (subtlety is for suckers), today BlackBook premieres here the follow up single “Pieces.” Notably, it kicks things up a bit musically: a couple of minutes in, it abandons its sultry, languid grooves for retro, hi-NRG synth-disco, the likes of which would surely make even the Pet Shop Boys proud.

Emily’s lyrics, particularly striking considering she hasn’t clocked all that many years on this planet, exhibit a palpable, insightful world weariness. “Everybody wants a piece of me / And I’m running out of pieces,” she laments – sounding like she really, genuinely needs you to understand.

“‘Pieces’ comes from a place of giving so much of myself to someone that I had nothing left for me,” she confesses. “Zero energy remained, and I no longer felt like my true self. It’s a reminder to me that if I live at a pace that prioritizes others above my own mental, physical, and emotional health, I’ll run out of the pieces that make me…me.”

For our part, our only advice to her is, Don’t ever change.

N.B. Bitch Bops will be released April 26.

BlackBook Exclusive: Manhattan Neighborhood Inspired Cocktail Recipes From the New A.L.B. at Arlo SoHo

 

We admit we never imagined it was possible – but could SoHo nightlife be back?

Enter into evidence A.L.B., the swanky new lobby bar slotted into the stylish Arlo SoHo hotel – which is at least the third or fourth SoHo hotel bar we expect to be spending time in this spring. Having just officially opened, it’s already stirring up a buzz, and for good reason: the drinks selection boasts a total of 24 unique signature cocktails, designed to take you on a sensory-filled, virtual NYC journey.

The liquid menu, by Arlo Hotels’ Food & Beverage Director Gary Wallach, is inspired by the city’s subway line, with specific stops and iconic Gotham experiences reflected in their clever boozy creations. It’s broken down into four sections, each symbolizing specific neighborhoods.

 

 

Take a trip Downtown with the 80s Rock Tee Cocktail and his other elixir friends, designed to remind you of NYC clubbing’s musical glory days. Then be transported to Midtown, where you can ponder your Times Square Swizzle without a middle-aged man in a Dora the Explorer costume (if you know, you know) hovering over you. The menu continues on its NYC marathon, heading on Uptown, and then safely arriving back in SoHo – where the tequila based Knockoff Hand Bag will remind you of that enduring Canal Street chutzpah.

Sure, it’s a little gimmicky – but the artful presentations are equally playful, beautiful and delicious. And Wallach was kind enough to exclusively share the secrets behind a few of his best geographical liquid creations – though we can’t recommend strongly enough sipping them in situ, in the A.L.B.‘s exceedingly stylish but comfy surrounds.

 

Exclusive Cocktail Recipes from A.L.B.

Illegal Poker Game

Inspiration: “Ever been to an illegal poker game down in Chinatown? Me neither. But anytime in my life I ventured down a staircase, through an alley, into a hole-in-the-wall type Chinese restaurant, I always assumed somewhere was a secret door where a poker game was happening. Next to the whiskey, I assume they might be drinking this…maybe.”
1.5 oz. Shiso infused Absolut Elyx Vodka
1.5 oz. K-G-L cordial (equal parts ginger syrup, kalamansi juice, and lychee syrup)
.50 oz. Lime juice
3 dashes Thai Chile Tincture
Glassware: Double Rocks Glass
Garnish: 3 Dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters over the Ice, Shiso Leaf, Ginger Candy
Method: Put all ingredients into a small tin. Add a small amount of crushed ice and whip until you no longer hear the ice moving. This should aerate the drink without over dilution. Strain over crushed ice. Add more crushed ice to create a cone and garnish.

 

Times Square Swizzle

Inspiration: “Here’s to the random dancing, unwanted collisions from text walking, and all the other reasons we get mixed up in weird things in midtown Manhattan.”
.75 oz. Jack Daniels Rye
.75 oz. Parce 3 year Rum
.75 oz. Hennessy Cognac
.75 oz. Ancho Chile Tropic Cordial
.25 oz. mint syrup
.75 oz. lime juice
.25 oz. pineapple juice
2 dashes angostura bitters
8 mint leaves
Glassware: Wine Glass
Garnish: Mint Sprig, Dehydrated Pineapple slice, powdered sugar
Method: Put all ingredients into a small tin, add some crushed ice. Whip the drink until the crushed ice has melted, and dump into glass. Continue to add ice and create a cone on top. Garnish.

 

 

Maria, Maria

Inspiration: “Sharks vs. Jets…should remind you of West Side Story.”
.75 oz. El Jimador Blanco
.75 oz. Clement VSOP Rhum Agricole
.75 oz. Lemon Juice
.5 oz. Cinnamon Syrup
.5 oz. lemongrass syrup
.75 oz. green apple Juice
Bar spoon oz. Amaro Nonino
Glassware: Double Rocks
Garnish: Mint Sprig, Grated Cinnamon
Method: Put all ingredients into a small tin. Add a small amount of crushed ice and whip until you no longer hear the ice. Dump into glass, and add crushed ice creating a cone on top. Garnish.

 

SHOWTIME!

Inspiration: “Sometimes it’s the things we want nothing to do with that end up being more memorable than we could imagine. This recipe is inspired by a traditional cocktail known as the El Presidente.”
1 oz. Flor de Cana rum
1 oz. Remy Martin 1738
.5 oz. Martini & rossi dry vermouth
.25 oz. grand mariner
Bar spoon Giffard Banana Liqueur
Bar spoon House made grenadine
Angostura bitters
Glassware: Nick & Nora Glass
Garnish Orange Twist, Discarded
Method: Put all ingredients into a mixing glass and stir. Once at proper dilution pour into glass. Garnish.

 

Milan Fashion Week: ‘Stranger Things’ Stars Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton Attend Ferragamo Runway Show

Natalia Dyer (Photo by Jacopo Raule/Getty Images for Salvatore Ferragamo)

 

As expected, Ferragamo pulled out all the stops for their Autumn / Winter 2019 Milan Fashion Week runway show, where Paul Andrew and Guillaume Meilland presented the latest Women’s and Men’s collections. And with a front row crowd including Michelle Monaghan, Jeremy Irvine, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, Suki Waterhouse, and Olivia Culpo, the clothes were not the only thing to gawk at (Hi, Stranger Things reunion!).

The newest collection was inspired by “generation.” After all, the brand does grip a strong emphasis on family – which they define as, “the cultural continuity between generations, and power.” Andrew, who has been a part of the Ferragamo family since 2016 as the brand’s first Women’s Footwear Design Director, was recently appointed Creative Director, and boy did he deliver with his first show at the helm.

Knowing his background with footwear, it is no surprise that as he points to a jewel-tone, suede patchwork wedge from the ’30s he declares, “everything begins with this shoe.” With this, he is reminded that Salvatore Ferragamo was ahead of his time, and treated shoes as works of art – a mindset with which Andrew used to deliver this strong collection, drawn from Ferragamo’s vast archive.

As we work our way up from the shoes to the clothing and accessories, the inspiration provided by the legendary wedge is clear. Patchworks of suede, nappa, snake and lizard are echoed though the runway designs, along with fringed cashmere blanket coats, sensual leather robes, sportswear in Japanese technical wool and hand-knit textured sweaters.

Shifting gears to the men’s side, tailored garments are imagined with an outdoor notion. A slew of offbeat textures and fabrics made their way down the runway – deerskin, corduroy and technical wool gabardine.

And of course, where would Ferragamo be without the anchor of their collection, shoes? And those showcased in this runway collection ranged from sculptural heels in bright suedes, to nipped-point toe stilettos in satin with hand encrusted rhinestone straps, and pull-on boots in butter calfskin. For men, Nubuck trekking boots and a new take on the beloved, classic loafer.

With fresh, new creative direction, Ferragamo is beginning to forward a renewed commitment to crafting innovative products, while still sticking to their roots and staying true to the design elements passed down from generation to generation.

 

MILAN, ITALY – FEBRUARY 23: Lottie Moss attend the Salvatore Ferragamo show during Milan Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2019/20 on February 23, 2019 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Jacopo Raule/Getty Images for Salvatore Ferragamo)

 

MILAN, ITALY – FEBRUARY 23: Lady Amelia Windsor attend the Salvatore Ferragamo show during Milan Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2019/20 on February 23, 2019 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Jacopo Raule/Getty Images for Salvatore Ferragamo)

 

MILAN, ITALY – FEBRUARY 23: Joe Keery attend the Salvatore Ferragamo show during Milan Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2019/20 on February 23, 2019 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Jacopo Raule/Getty Images for Salvatore Ferragamo)

 

MILAN, ITALY – FEBRUARY 23: Charlie Heaton attend the Salvatore Ferragamo show during Milan Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2019/20 on February 23, 2019 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Jacopo Raule/Getty Images for Salvatore Ferragamo)

 

 

London Fashion Week: ILFWDA Showcases Sustainable Designers

All images by John Hylton, hair and makeup by London Makeup School and Hair Academy London 

 

The Guardian reported last week on a growing movement, with an eye to sustainability, urging more second-hand clothing purchases over new. But not quite ready to take it that far, the Independent London Fashion Week Designers Association (ILFWDA) is on its own mission, to promote the use of sustainable fabric and ethical fashion. And with that goal in sight, the designers cooperative banded together once again and returned to London Fashion Week to exhibit their latest ideologically-minded collections.

With the Grand Ballroom of Notting Hill’s flamboyant Beach Blanket Babylon as a backdrop, ILFWDA sent the latest eco-conscious fashions by eight independent designers down the catwalk. Among them was Jeff Garner, of the award-winning American brand Prophetik. The 25 piece collection entitled “Women of the Crown” was inspired by regents such as Catherine de Medici, Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I – and all made with ethically sourced materials such as craft lace, Kirkcaldy Linens, Scottish Tartans and Knockando Wool.

 

Monique Guzman

 

Another highlight was the new collection by Stacey Strahand, well known at London Fashion Week for designing clothes intended for all the “Girl Bosses” of today’s world. While she hews to traditional techniques and sustainable English materials, her styles are utterly unique, and attend to a glam punk power personality.

Also notable was the presentation by French Algerian designer Nadira Mehjoub, who focused her runway show on evening gowns and two-pieces, heavily adorned with embroidery and embellishment. Throughout the collection, beautifully delicate yet sustainable fabrics such as lace and silk were stunningly employed.

That same Guardian article pointed out that in the UK alone, 38 million new garments are purchased each week, and another 11 million go to landfill. So we applaud the ILFWDA for taking the opportunity of London Fashion Week to remind us that some designers are indeed trying to make a difference.

Carry on then.

 

From top, Nadira Mehjoub; Stacey Strahand; Jeff Garner for Prophetik

 

NYFW Report: Christian Siriano Stands Up For Bebe Rexha, Shows Bold & Beautiful New Collection

Images by Dan Lecca

 

Christian Siriano, famously style collaborator to the glorious Karen O, can do no wrong in our book. After Bebe Rexha made a statement a few weeks back regarding how no designers would lend her dresses for the Grammys due to her being a size 8, Siriano was one of the first to step up and support her with pieces from his collection. While the fashion world continues to place so much emphasis on the number on a tag, Siriano does not see why size, color, or anything else should put rule on what one can wear – designers, please take note!

Siriano’s Fall 2019 collection also debuted at the Top Of The Rock this week, and was inspired by a trip to the future, where we all live as a society in some outer space land. It is a dream fantasy world created for the purpose of escaping to somewhere happy – something proving to be all the more elusive these days. The show, styled by Anna Schilling, featured silver hammered silks, voluminous dresses, quilted jackets and oversized textured evening gowns.

 

 

Siriano describes it thusly: “I wanted the collection to feel bold, powerful and strong, but still feminine and beautiful.”

Just as fun as the looks that came soaring through the runway were the hair and makeup. TRESemmé Global Stylist Justine Marjan gave a little razzle dazzle to the models’ hair by adding in some perfectly placed silver chains. To go along with this rad galaxy glamour, the girls’ faces were adorned with freckle like crystals by Maybelline Global Makeup Artist Erin Parsons.

Sitting pretty were Debra Messing, Mariska Hargitay, Christina Hendricks, Christina Ricci, Coco Rocha, Danielle Brooks, Jessica Jung, Lydia Hearst, Billy Porter and Misshapes’ Leigh Lezark. Along with a high-profile front row of Siriano’s famous friends, Ashley Graham closed the show like the true supermodel she is in a gorgeous, thin, sheer silver gown and matching cap.

 

 

 

 

NYFW Report: Zadig + Voltaire Nods to Basketball + Rock & Roll

Images by Dan Lecca

 

Oh, how the style gods are upon us.

New York Fashion Week is here once again, and we have been blessed with some amazing collections this season. To wit, Zadig & Voltaire, after a season of showing in Paris, debuted their latest looks on February 11th at The Tunnel – the iconic Chelsea nightclub that once played host the coolest of the cool ’80s and ’90s Club Kids.

For Fall/Winter 19/20, designer Cecilia Bönström combined the effortless chic of models’ off-duty looks with a sartorial touch. In line with their authentic mood of blending masculine and feminine codes within each piece, this collection featured an awesome and unexpected collaboration with the NBA. With letterman jackets, deconstructed knits, and bedazzled T-shirts sporting (had to) iconography from the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, and Memphis Grizzlies, it solidified Zadig & Voltaire’s values and Cecilia’s vision of an active, sporty, working woman.

 

 

 

Throughout the collection, Z&V sticks to their vision of a Parisian girl defined by nonchalant sophistication and rock ’n’roll edge. “Chic-destroyed” is the term chosen to describe the season’s ’90s-style no rules, slouchy vibe, wedded to an ultra-cosmopolitan mood. This included plenty of denim, as expected – but the brand continues to push into evening-wear territory, and we are totally here for it. Tuxedo jackets with bow ties and shimmering mini-dresses offset by combat boots are just a glimpse of what we’re looking forward to wearing post Labor Day.

All in all, the collection – which draws inspiration from the King of Pop and his rock star chic, blinged-out tailored looks – houses look after look of pieces we want to party in. And when “Thriller” played to close the show, it was clear the soiree was just getting underway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYFW Report: CHOCHENG Draws Inspiration From the Napoleonic Era to Queen Elizabeth

 

Cho Cho Cheng, the man behind CHOCHENG, has been successfully paving his path in the fashion world since launching the brand in 2007. After studying fashion and costume design at Parsons School of Design and working in London’s Savile Row, he opened his first store in 2010 on Madison Avenue, followed by one in Beijing, another in London.

Cheng was introduced to fashion at young age, as his Grandmother, Betty Charnuis, was a noted designer in Hong Kong. Some would run from such an obvious path, but he embraced it, and forged his own.

On the tail end of New York Fashion Week, CHOCHENG debuted its latest collection at Spring Studios yesterday. It was inspired by the Hitchcock film North by Northwest, and encompasses an abundance of strongly tailored pieces, primarily in black and white, with a dash of Prince of Wales checks. CHOCHENG’s strong emphasis on and appreciation for craftsmanship and top notch tailoring lends itself to a sophisticated stylistic manifesto. Not to mention that the runway shows are conceptually amazing – with smartly curated playlists and retro vibes – and always a personal NYFW fave.

BlackBook spoke with Cheng before his NYFW extravaganza, and he filled us in on his inspirations, his favorite part of putting a show together…and he also gave us a sneak peak at the new collection.

 

 

Quickly after graduating from Parsons, you opened your first store on Madison Avenue. 

Just before I graduated, the wonderful Mary McFadden was approaching retirement and generously offered to give me her team of sample makers. It was a great opportunity, so I took the offer. We began operating from the ground floor of my townhouse, I started making suits for Nancy Reagan and soon branched out to other private clients. Joan Rivers lived right next door, she passed by my shop all the time and would buy little gift items just to show support. I would have been quite happy working from my basement, operating on a small scale forever, but Ms. Rivers later told me that people on the block had been complaining about my shop not having a proper retail permit.

What made you decide to secure a permanent location?

With that bit of news, I decided to start looking for an official brick-and-mortar retail space. Steven and Stephanie Solomon – who, at the time, was the Fashion Director of Bloomingdale’s – have always been great supporters of my brand. They managed to convince Vornado Realty, who are quite supportive of young entrepreneurs, to let me have a Madison Avenue retail space right between Cartier and Gucci. Vornado recently decided to close up the whole block for upgrading, so we’re in the process of moving store locations.

To where?

Steven has come through again, convincing the Sherry Netherland [hotel] to lease me a prime retail space on 5th Avenue. I’ll be the first Asian designer label to launch on 5th Avenue, actually. The whole process has been incredible, miraculous.

Season after season, you have captured the art of retro dressing. You must have a favorite time period – if you had a time machine, what year would you go to?

I like the Napoleonic Era and Regency Era, but I wouldn’t want to go back there. I honestly can’t live without modern amenities. I am a pragmatic romantic.

Aside from designing the collection, what is your favorite part of putting together a fashion show? Model casting? Runway playlist? Styling the looks?

My favorite part would be the hair and makeup styling.

What is the philosophy behind CHOCHENG? What defines it as a fashion house?

CHOCHENG is classic, crafty, comfortable, cruelty-free. It’s about conservation of the environment and everything wonderful starting with a ‘C’. I am an egotist with OCD.

What and who are you main inspirations and muses?

Queen Elizabeth II, Margaret Thatcher and Former First Lady, Nancy Reagan.

What is unique about this season’s collection?

Hand-ruched silk tulle, which imitates fur, in order to achieve cruelty-free glamour.

It’s known that your grandmother is a huge inspiration for your career in fashion. What is the best piece of advice she has given you?

Being well-dressed is to charge through life with well-padded shoulders.