Beloved and acclaimed Houston fashion designer and powerhouse brand owner, Chloe Dao, is looking forward to a much needed vacation ahead of her 50th birthday on July 20.
But before that, she’s inviting Houstonians to toast her big day with her by enjoying more than 50 percent off regular priced items on Saturday, July 17 from 10 am to noon, and 30 percent off regular priced items Saturday afternoon and Sunday, July 18.
Dao’s annual birthday sale runs Saturday, July 17 and Sunday, July 18 at her Rice Village boutique, at 6172 Kirby Dr., and online. The sale is not valid at the M-K-T studio.
Celebrating more than 20 years in business, the charming Dao has a lot of memories to look back on. From being named winner on season 2 of Project Runway, to countless runway events, designing luxe aprons for acclaimed chef Chris Shepherd, and producing thousands of face masks at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ahead of her 50th birthday, CultureMap caught up with the always charming and innovative Dao.
CultureMap: Happy early 50th birthday, Chloe! What are you looking forward to this year?
Chloe Dao: Professionally, I am super excited to see how my business will grow at my new pop-up boutique at M-K-T in The Heights.
CM: What are some of your favorite items from this weekend’s sale?
CD: The Necee Collection. The Necee Top is amazing because I designed it to fit everyone. Sizes range from XS to 3X. We also have the Necee Jumpsuit and Dress, too.
CM: How would you describe the pieces in your personal closet? What are some of your go-to styles?
CD: My personal collection is all about flattering pieces such as beautifully cut dresses, jumpsuits, and rompers. You will find a good mix of solid colors, stripes, and abstract prints.
It is very clear what my style is. My go-to piece right now is my Kiko House Dress; it's comfortable and effortlessly chic.
CM: What is your number one piece of advice for women in their 50s who want to reinvent themselves through their wardrobe?
CD: Have fun with fashion. There is nothing cooler than a fabulously dressed older lady. There are no rules except the ones you make for yourself.
CM: How did your TV experience shape your approach to design?
CD: No matter what, I am a pragmatic designer. I want real women to wear my designs. Being on QVC and TV helped me reach out to the masses, and solidified my goal to help everyone feel special and beautiful in my designs. The best feeling in the world is when I help a client see her own beauty. Good designs are the best and fastest makeover.
CM: How has the Houston fashion scene changed since your career began?
CD: I think there is less serious support for fashion designers like myself as well as the new crops. We used to have major support for big shows, showcasing a variety of local talent. Joy Sewing and I did one to help 16 new designers back in 2019. Hopefully we can do that again soon.
CM: What is your typical daily beauty routine? Do you have any favorite products or tricks?
CD: I am pretty lazy and I do not keep a routine. I do have a subscription to dermatica.com that helps lighten my brown spots, which are almost gone now. Otherwise, my skin care is a combination of Korean brands.
I have two life savers products that I swear by. The first, Daeng GI Meo RI Ki-Gold Premium Shampoo helped tremendously when I had hair loss and thinning problems. It also helped my hair be less flat and dry after a few washes. You can find this on Amazon or Costco.
My second [favorite] product is [the] Missha Bold Pen Liner. I have very oily eyelids, and I have a hard time with eye products. I look like a raccoon at the end of the day. For eyeliner, I have tried gel, pencil, and liquid. Most dry up, break apart, or aren't precise, but I found my holy grail liquid eyeliner. No smearing all day even in the heat!
CM: What has been the most difficult thing in your career?
CD: As a small business owner, I wear many hats. If I had to pick, it would be the lack of time to truly design. I will always remember this quote from designer Jack of Proenza Schouler, “We only design 10 percent of our time, the rest is juggling everything else as a business owner.”
CM: What about the most rewarding?
CD: My motto is through the power of fashion we educate and elevate our clients.
I really would not be doing this still if not for my clients. I have the most wonderful and loyal customers and clients. I have dressed some of my clients from their teens into womanhood and motherhood. My team and I get to see the physical and emotional transformation of each one. It's an incredible feeling.
Also, I think just simply being kind and sharing our knowledge about fashion to help clients feel their best, daily and for special occasions is the most rewarding.
CM: For any young designers who are hesitant on making the next move in their career, what advice would you tell them?
CM: Figure out what your end game is. Is it owning your own brand? Or are you comfortable working for another company? Once [your end game has been] established, find jobs that will lead you to that goal.