Chloe Dao's first post-Covid collection is an ode to glamour. (Photo by Linn Images.)
Chloe Dao's latest collection includes the ultimate little red dress. Photo by Linn Images.
Chloe Dao's new boutique is located at the M-K-T development in The Heights.
Designer Chloe Dao loves a good cape moment. Photo by Linn Images.
Chloe Dao's new collection features feminine florals. Photo by Linn Images.
The new boutique allows customers to see into the sewing room while they shop.
Bright colors dot the serene space at Dao's namesake boutique.
Dao's mood board for her designs.
Shoppers will find the HoUSton collection at her new boutique.
Chloe Dao is ready for some glamour. After a year of leggings and pajamas, the dynamic Houston designer is rolling out the glam carpet for her new collection of gowns and dresses that are made to impress.
“You can only wear a mumu for so long, and then you want to dress up,” Dao tells PaperCity.
During the height of the COVID pandemic, Dao designed and sold “leisure luxury,” but as she planned for her first fashion show at her new store in the hot new M-K-T Heights mixed-use development, Dao leaned into the feminine form.
“This collection is a return to womanhood,” she says. “I wanted gowns and glamour. There are capes and color and florals.”
Dao is also going to the vault and featuring favorites styles from her personal fashion archives for a mix of timeless classics and new creations.
She’s unveiling it all this Thursday, August 5 at her boutique at M-K-T Heights. The runway show celebrates the official grand opening of Dao’s new store and is open to the public, R.S.V.P. required.
Dao’s Rice Village shop is also open, but with anticipated changes on the horizon for that shopping center, Dao jumped at the chance to spread her wings at a fresh space in a different part of Houston.
“I had to plan for the future and when I received this opportunity at M-K-T, I decided to do it,” Dao says. “After doing this for 21 years, I’ve learned to trust my instincts. I define what success is — and not what other people say it is.”
Dao’s learned some other lessons along the way too. Namely, she is a creator. Of many things.
Chloe Dao, Furniture Maker?
While she and her team were busy during the height of the pandemic making four different size face masks, Dao was also deep diving into furniture-making videos on YouTube. Next thing she knew, wood had replaced fabric and her workspace was filled with power tools.
“I bought a miter saw and a jigsaw and a sandblaster. I am so beyond impressed with myself,” Dao says.
She has every right to be proud. Dao handmade all of the furniture in her new boutique, including a perfectly measured slatted wall that separates the shopping space from the sewing area and a counter that is as sleek as glass.
“I want everyone who comes to the store to feel my counter. It’s so smooth!” Dao says.
Turns out, the Project Runway alum likes designing furniture as much as she does clothing. Dao often draws fashion collection inspiration from interior decor magazines.
Dao’s not ruling out the possibility of adding furniture designer and carpenter to her resume, but at the moment, she’s focused on the present future. Her new namesake boutique is a calm, airy space, with her clothing and accessories adding color against the earthy background.
Her palette for the store was intentional and influenced by the contemplative nature initiated by life during the pandemic.
“COVID made me think of the aesthetic and I was drawn to nature and peaceful places,” Dao says. “So there’s a lot of tonal beige and olive. It’s completely different from the other store.”
Change is a constant designers build careers around, and this latest evolution is another opportunity for Dao to see what’s next. She knows she’s a maker with a desire for limitless creating. Yesterday, gowns. Today, furniture. Tomorrow? Who knows.
Dao’s not ruling anything out, but there’s one thing she knows for sure.
“Dressing up in the right outfit is instant dopamine,” she says. “Put some lipstick on and you’ll be ready for anything.”
Chloe Dao certainty is.