Cavalier has fast become a favourite label for little sartorial humans and their parents the world over. We sat down with Creative Director Angela Chong to get some insights into their creative process, the skinny on the new SS16 collection Ghost of Winter, and to find out a bit more about the personalities behind the brand.
You come from a family that values design and style. Could you tell us a little about the creativity and influences that you grew up with?
I literally grew up in the eye wear industry as my father played a major role in changing its Asian landscape. He trend-spotted and distributed avant-garde designers like Jean Paul Gaultier while everyone else was wearing Silhouettes in the early 90s. In hindsight, that concept of shaking things up and challenging the status quo became an inherent value in me.
On a more personal note, my dad was the kind of guy who would rock a flesh-tone organza blazer and stovepipes, my mum is a real classic dresser who taught me about quality and cuts, and of course I had an older sneakerhead brother who made sure I knew that there was absolutely nothing wrong with straight men wearing pink.
Your husband is also your business partner. How do you avoid stepping on each other’s toes?
Perry and I have worked together for over a decade and we don’t avoid stepping on each other’s toes. That’s the magic of working as a couple, you have a trust that goes beyond office politics and the daily grind. We constantly challenge and agitate each other but we never have to question the other person’s intentions.
You call Singapore home. How has your geography influenced Cavalier?
While I get the question, I’ve never really associated my geographical location with what we do. Singapore is a business hub, not exactly a melting pot of the arts – it’s encouraged but definitely not mature. With the web being exactly world wide, I feel like our world is getting bigger but closer at the same time and I feel very much in touch with it and it’s influences.
You started with childrenswear and now offer select pieces for adults; how do you see Cavalier expanding?
It would be awesome if we get the opportunity to create a full-on women’s/menswear label and random strange objects for home and living but we’re just starting to get to a comfortable pace so we’re happy staying here for awhile and perfecting our craft. I’ve come to understand that expansion is easy but maintenance is not so it’s important for us to nurse CAVALIER for as long as it makes sense to ensure that its grows up happy and healthy.
Are there any current trends in fashion that you love or, on the other hand that you wish would go away?
I stopped flipping magazines and looking at trends once I started designing for CAVALIER so I don’t even know what’s going on in the world of fashion. I’ll trade brands for trends here, I’m currently excited by Anya Hindmarch, Moschino, Once and Caroline Bosmans. And I’ve long shivered at the Frozen and princess dresses that Disney makes – I dream of reinventing outfits for each princess which kids would kill to wear.
Your SS16 collection the Ghost of Winter includes signature pieces inspired by three great cities—Tokyo, New York, and Paris. Do you have a personal connection to those places?
Perry and I had our first holiday together in Tokyo and that’s also where he went down on one knee later. Tokyo’s extreme spectrum of tradition and trend coexists so seamlessly that you can’t help but be spellbound by the city.
New York was where we spent our honeymoon and a city that we are dying to immerse in again. Now with more friends (of CAVALIER) than ever to catch up with, we’ve found the perfect excuse but not yet the time.
Paris is the city responsible for bringing CAVALIER to the world. Founders of KID, Anaïs Sidali and Julien Pelgrand called us from Paris when CAVALIER was just 5 months launched and insisted that we had to come. Although we were no where near ready for such a feat, we figured that we had nothing to lose and with the love and support from our KID family, here we are chatting with you from across the world with 3 shows conquered. So yes, we definitely have a personal connection with these 3 cities that go beyond words.
The Ghost of Winter has a somewhat Dadaist or surrealist sensibility—using lightweight fabrics like Japanese organza to mimic forms associated with winter apparel in a summer range. Can you reveal where the inspiration for the concept originated?
One of the hardest questions to answer is where an inspiration for a concept originated. A single concept stems from a gazillion connecting inspirations and like wiring in our brain, it’s hard to pinpoint.
When I was designing SS16, winter details kept popping up in my head and I’ve always liked the understated street-wear chic that the colours grey and flesh deliver and my dad’s flesh-tone organza blazer and the Dora Dress hands from our début collection – again, a concept does not have finite origins but is a humble juxtaposition of thoughts. There is no light-bulb moment of revelation and instead, I go through a treacherous journey of thought-sorting and technical construction.
What is your favourite piece from the Ghost of Winter for both boys and girls?
Hey I wouldn’t ask you to choose your favourite kid! But I do have a soft spot for unisex pieces like the Ghost Hooded Jumpsuit and NYC Snow Tank that I would totally wear if it came in my size.
What are the first five things you do in the morning when you wake up?
1. Hit snooze.
2. Check phone – emails, Whatsapp, IG, Facebook.
3. Brush teeth, pop in my eyes and slap on skin care.
4. Hustle Perry until he gets annoyed or I’ve laughed enough.
5. Drink coffee. Black. On the rocks.
Visit the Cavalier web-shop here www.cavaliervault.com
Images courtesy of Angela Chong – Cavalier. All rights reserved.