Known for playing with conventional British tailoring and coy modern elegance, CHOCHENG stayed true to its sleek yet demure identity for this season’s latest collection. Largely slim-fit silhouettes in luxe sustainable fabrics followed two major tenets of the brand: absolutely impeccable tailoring, and a heavy focus on sustainability that we’ve come to expect from designer Cho Cho Cheng stemming from an apprenticeship in London’s Savile Row. Deep opulent black garments contrasted with delectable rosy shades from salmon to aubergine for CHOCHENG Autumn/Winter 2023. The looks were prominently accentuated by bold accessories such as angular black conical Asian sun hats and signature Victorian ruffed bracelets, mixed with oversized braided accents and military-inspired lapels on the garments. A tri-color palette for each seasonal collection has also become an intentional signature of the brand: this season’s color choices were powder blue, aubergine, and salmon.
Models moved eloquently down a whiteout corridor at Spring Studios wearing slicked-back middle-parted hairstyles and netted face coverings. Unusually for CHOCHENG designs, we saw more bared skin in this collection — plunging necklines crossed with narrow straps and bare shoulders made for a daring yet playful cold-season collection. The designer’s use of geometric shapes has become a signature — crossing straps created triangles of skin, bold shoulder shapes paired with nipped-in waistlines lent to an angular silhouette of the body, and one standout tank piece featured rounded edges that turned negative space on a model’s chest into a row of skin-toned stars. Angular lapels and rows of buttons on blazers in blush, houndstooth, and berry recalled the traditional British tailoring that we know and love from designer Cho, whereas we saw something new in an eye-catching ultraviolet crystal coat worn loosely open over a bare chest and slinky silk slip skirt.
The fashion world has turned its gaze away from traditional furs of late, and the old-fashioned textile has somewhat fallen from grace for both ethical and sustainable reasons. CHOCHENG has openly stated its aversion to fur in the past as a moral standpoint, and instead proposed a uniquely textured black faux fur and trademark thinly ruffed textile for its trimmings. The brand is devoutly fur-free, cruelty-free, and sustainable with eventual plans to be fully vegan.
As a whole, CHOCHENG again did not disappoint in providing wearable yet winsome looks for a coquette take on classics. The collection would be an effortless fit for all occasions and ages of the timeless woman with its easy elevated designs – from early morning brunches to evening soirees. Classic black and white garments with white fabric floral touches and long bow accents were reminiscent of iconic trademark Chanel features we’d find in any primly stylish woman’s closet, giving us a touch of nostalgia for vintage designs. It’s not a stretch to say that we could easily see CHOCHENG becoming a breakout go-to name for the classy and polished woman moving in politics, business, or posh circles.
Hi, Cho – Thank you for taking the time to speak with us! We’re excited to chat with you about the latest collection, and take a peek inside the mind at the helm of such a breakout brand onto the fashion scene in recent years.
CCC: Thank you for the opportunity to speak my mind.
This Autumn/Winter collection personally gave me a strong feeling of nostalgia for some archival Chanel looks. How does it make you feel that your own collections remind fashion lovers of such iconic design houses as Chanel? I would have to imagine that’s somewhat exciting for you as a relatively young designer.
CCC: As a ‘decidedly very young’ designer, I feel honored to have reminded you of archival Chanel looks. My personal hero is Simone Veil, and her signature Chanel suits were almost as famous as her remarkable achievement.
These looks would be the perfect dressing choice for the elegant Old Hollywood actress, fashionable First Lady in politics, or prim headmistress at the most prestigious boarding school we’ve ever seen. It makes perfect sense that the brand ‘caters to a discerning clientele.’ If you could dress anyone in a trademark CHOCHENG look, who would be your first choice and why?
CCC: My first choice will always be former first lady, Mrs. Nancy Reagan because she was the first legend I’ve ever dressed in reality.
We saw a return of dainty netted face veil coverings for models as a part of the looks again for AW23 as we last saw in your AW22 collection. Is this becoming a CHOCHENG signature? Should I plan to build a birdcage veil into my winter everyday looks this year?
CCC: I love hats and veils and they will always be part of the CHOCHENG look. Veils are great alternatives to sunglasses because they don’t mess up your makeup.
This season’s collection’s geometric cutouts and plunging lines showed more skin in a few looks than prior showcases we’ve seen from CHOCHENG. Is there a significant correlation between this year’s edgier nuances and the brand’s direction that you foresee for the future, or was this simply a fun diversion from the usual more prim silhouettes?
CCC: I have always liked a dash of caprice to go with a graceful composure. This collection in particular is inspired by the film 8 ½, which has very seductive and edgy costumes.
As a young designer, it must feel like a dream come true to see CHOCHENG break out so strongly onto the timeless fashion scene, and be received so well. I’d love to know if this was always where you thought you’d end up when you were growing up. When did you know that this was the right life path for you, and how did that moment feel?
CCC: Fashion and costume design have always come naturally to me. I started designing for my grandmother when I was very young, and I interned for Madam Hanae Mori, the late Grand Couturier, when I was still in high school. I am most happy when I see people wear my designs and blossom, I love that metamorphosis element of fashion and all the optimism and joy it brings people.
Are there any references to personal inspirations from women in your life that you find are reflected in your work as a womenswear designer?
CCC: All women of substance inspires me, and I am truly blessed to have met so many of them.
We look forward to seeing your collection next season – congratulations on another successful showcase!
CCC: Thank you again for all your wonderful compliments.
Casting: Chad Thompson at Communa-k Inc.
Makeup: Campbell Ritchie at Art Department New York
Hair: Matthew Curtis for Hair by Sam Mcknight
Production: Judith Rice & Associates
CHOCHENG is a womenswear designer label launched by designer Cho Cho Cheng. Cheng studied fashion and costume design at the Parsons School of Design and took an apprenticeship in Savile Row, London to study traditional British tailoring. The CHOCHENG flagship store is located at 781 Fifth Avenue, New York