AB: So, you just had your first runway presentation, for Fall 2019. That’s a big step. How do you feel that it went? Were there any surprises – good or bad?
CH: It’s funny to look back at that night. I went home and thought to myself, “I totally blew it.” But then I watched the show on my computer and realized that at the very least, I was engaged. I try to look at everything I do objectively. And yes, there were things I wish I had done differently. But at the end of the night I decided at the very minimum, the show was unique. And as an artist, that is all I could hope to be.
AB: Fashion has become a form of entertainment, with presentations being judged more on showmanship than the actual clothing. Did you feel pressure to put on a big show? How did you arrive at the idea for your presentation?
CH: I never had an intention of doing a show when I started this company, but I felt there was a pulse of newness in New York, and that with the high growth of KHAITE over the past year, it was time for us to contribute to the movement. When we met with Prodject, the discussion was centered on how we tell the story in an intimate, refined and sincere way? I showed them a picture I snapped of Washington Square Park that morning on my walk to work. The bright yellow leaves covered the ground under the dampness of the passing rain. I told them I wanted this feeling – my New York in autumn, my stroll to work in the morning. Over time, the idea grew like the center tree. It was a beautiful experience. I can’t wait to start it over again.
AB: These days, dressing real women for their real day-to-day lives, allowing them to feel comfortable and powerful and feminine, seems like a radical proposition. People are saying you are filling in the giant hole in women’s wardrobes left by Phoebe Philo. How do you feel about that?
CH: Hmmmm, now that’s a radical proposition. Phoebe Philo set a standard that I feel is impossible to fill. She is she, I am me. Personally, I could not find the clothes I wanted to buy. I wanted the pieces that I gravitated toward every morning – a great cashmere sweater, a solid robust pair of jeans, pieces that are about the materials. I didn’t understand why no single brand offered these items to me.