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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Cho Cheng, Designer

Cho Cheng inherited his love of fashion from his grandmother, Betty Char-Nuis Yan, the acclaimed couturier who founded the famed Betty Couture at the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong in 1960. Accompanying his grandmother on frequent trips to the Haute Couture shows in Paris, Cheng was introduced to the world of fashion. Pursuing his passion, Cheng studied at New York’s Parson’s School of Design where he earned the Golden Thimble Award for his graduate collection. 

In 2007, Cheng launched his eponymous fashion house, CHOCHENG, based in New York. The following year Cheng was named one of China’s leading fashion designers, a recognition shared with fellow native sons Derek Lam, Peter Som and Phillip Lim.

Pairing the essence of modern dressing with the allure of old-world couture, Cheng debuted his ready-to-wear Spring/Summer 2009 collection at the New York Public Library. The following season, Cheng created elegant and superbly tailored staples for his ready-to-wear Fall/Winter 2009 Collection presented at Bryant Park. 

In June 2009, Cheng celebrated the opening of his US Flagship on New York’s Upper East Side which has become a shopping haven for his discerning clientele. 

Cheng presented the Spring/Summer 2010 collection inspired by “a potpourri of Holly Golightly, Frederico Fellini and the Japanese obi” which featured chic and versatile investment pieces. Hand-fashioned silk petal embellishments seen throughout the collection were inspired by a vintage Hanue Mori gown commissioned by Cho Cheng’s grandmother and currently on display at the “Style Icon” exhibition in Beijing. For the debut of his ready-to-wear evening collection, Cho Cheng interpreted the iconic Tiffany box into exquisitely wrought gowns adorned with high- drama silk satin bows.

CHOCHENG has an elite following, from celebrities to socialites to prominent businesswomen. He also has been heralded as master of red carpet glamour, dressing notable actresses as well as an international social set including Goldie Hawn, Nicole Kidman, Marcia Gay Harden, Bebe Neuwirth, Phyllis Newman, Nancy Reagan, Maggie Rizer, Jennifer Creel and Tinsley Mortimer.   We are pleased to present him as our latest Mover and Shaker!

Peachy Deegan interviewed Cho Cheng for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: What is your first fashion memory with your grandmother?
Cho Cheng: My first memory was attending the Haute Couture shows in Paris. There was a Nina Ricci Spring/Sumer Couture show presented outdoors that was particularly memorable.

Did your grandmother go to shows in Manhattan as well as Paris?
She worked in New York throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s so I believe she attended the shows in the city as well. 

Please check out the photo of The Deegan Girls out in Manhattan in the 1940s (one of them is Peachy's grandmother). What do you (and your grandmother) think of their look for the 40's?
I love it, the forties was a great era of the Tailleur.

How would you describe your style to someone that has not been to your shows?
Chic, tailored and sophisticated

Peachy Deegan loves your Tifffany dresses. Are you doing something at Tiffany's with them?
I’m not doing anything with Tiffany apart from being a loyal customer there. I was inspired by the allure and aesthetics of Audrey Hupburn’s character, Holly Golightly, in the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I tried to capture her essence in the gowns.  (Her gowns themselves at Sotheby's last weekend here in Manhattan:

We love Jennifer Creel and we have featured her sunglasses and she's a friend of ours. What do you think she looks best in as you dress her?
She looks fantastic in my smoking jackets as well as the long sequin gown she wore to the New Yorker’s for Children Gala in September. She’s amazing and so lovely to dress. 

What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence? 
My grandmother and Madame Hanae Mori, who is the first couturier I’ve had the pleasure to meet.

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan? 
I have a few favorite spots. The Metropolitan Museum, New York Public Library (I love browsing old newspapers), St. Regis Hotel (My granny’s favorite), Central Park, Strand Bookstore and Washington Square.

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan? 
Tiffany & Co.

What is your favorite drink? 
Sparkling water with lime or cucumber

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan?
La Grenouille

What is your favorite Manhattan book?
The Age of Innocence

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience?
Walking up the stairs at Strand Bookstore 

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else?
Browsing through the books at Strands

What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience?
I love the ballet. We are very blessed to have two of the best ballet institutions in the world. My favorite ballet is Giselle. 

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here?
I think artists can be both at the same time. I’m in awe of all of them. 

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite Whom You Know column and what do you like about it? 
Dress of the Week!  I am so thrilled to have been included in it.

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers? 
Please come visit us at our Atelier on 51 East 63rd Street or check out our website at A new branch on Madison Avenue is also scheduled to open in 2010. 

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