Last time we spoke to Chloe Dao she was still a contestant on Project Runway 2. At that time we learned how Chloe and her family, which includes 7 sisters, emigrated from Pakse, Laos in 1979 and settled in Houston, Texas. Since she emerged as the winner of Project Runway 2 and a fan favorite of the judges and worldwide audiences, Chloe has accomplished more than any other winner on the hit show. Last time we spoke to Chloe Dao she was still a contestant on Project Runway 2. At that time we learned how Chloe and her family, which includes 7 sisters, emigrated from Pakse, Laos in 1979 and settled in Houston, Texas. Since she emerged as the winner of Project Runway 2 and a fan favorite of the judges and worldwide audiences, Chloe has accomplished more than any other winner on the hit show.
In January 2007, Dao’s designs were featured in the Smithsonian Museum in the “Exit Saigon, Enter Little Saigon” exhibit. Dao’s reputation for understanding women and their bodies landed her a contract with Dove as their national spokesperson for the “Sleeveless Ready” campaign. And during Spring 2007 New York Fashion Week, LensCrafters chose Dao as the featured designer and as a panelist along with Tim Gunn, Hal Rubenstein, Bobbie Thomas, and Gretta Monahan to discuss eyewear’s role as the “it” accessory. Dao reached the masses this year when she debuted on QVC with three consecutive sell-out appearances with her line Simply Chloe Dao, exclusive to QVC. Her effortless style and modern sensibility lead her to partner with Pacific Design where she created a line of electronic accessories now available nationwide at Circuit City.
We wanted to catch up with Chloe Dao to see what other projects she has coming up and when she is planning to open up that store in New York City.
ASIANCE: What has been going on since Project Runway? I know you are on QVC!
Chloe: We launched our wholesale line, Chloe Dao. We have a showroom in Dallas and New York City. You’ll see my line nationwide by the end of the year. We are going to do our first trade show in Las Vegas this August which is huge for us. We have a real design studio and graphic design studio. I’m out of my mom’s house. I have my own little work space. So that’s been really wonderful. I’m still doing electronic accessories design. I’m signing up with a new company. So go to OfficeMax, Sears and JC Penney. Hopefully once this new contract is signed, we’ll be back there in a few months with a new design.
We have a showroom rep in New York. The whole New York store will take awhile. The timing is really bad right now. We want to be there eventually. Probably in like two to three years. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get into a store in NYC within the next few months; Intermix and Barneys. We’re hoping!
ASIANCE: Are your sisters helping you?
Chloe: Yes. My sister Syndey Dao is actually my partner. My sister Kim works with me in the design studio. My sister Christine works with the salon franchise. She owns that with her friend Suki. We’re trying to expand slowly. We have the Lot 8 boutique and we have the Lot 8 salon. Chloe Dao website is my line nationally.
This is our 8 year anniversary.
ASIANCE: Do you still get recognized?
Chloe: I still do get recognized. It’s really funny. I don’t think I stand out that much. I’m a petite girl. I just went to New York three days ago. I was in Chelsea. There were 3 or 4 people that came up to me and they were so excited to meet me. They were so cute.
ASIANCE: They were gay men right?
Chloe: Yes! I still get recognized. I was in Pennsylvania for my QVC appearance. I went to The King of Prussia Mall. I just got off the airplane, my hair was pinned up. No makeup. I thought no one is going to recognize me. I was in season 2, it’s season 5. Three people came to me and said they loved me and love Project Runway. I don’t know for some reason I didn’t think people would be watching Project Runway in Pennsylvania. It was younger girls and one woman with kids. It’s so funny. You can tell when someone recognizes you. This girl walked past me. If you see me, come up and talk to me. I’m just me. What you see on TV is pretty much what you get.
You can see people in your peripheral vision. You can tell they’re trying not to bother you. Sometimes, I’ll say, “Hi”
ASIANCE: Did you reconcile with Santino?
Chloe: Hahahaha!!! No. There is nothing to reconcile. We left the show on a really good note. Some of the things that happened after the show were a little bit bizarre. At the end of the day, I have my life to live and work. I’m so damn busy and that’s not something that is at the top of my list. Sometimes I’m a little irked by it but then I realize how fortunate I am and how happy I am and I realize where I am at in my life. If I do see him, I’ll probably say hi and ask him how he’s doing. At the end of the day, he is a good guy. He was just very passionate when he was on the show.
ASIANCE: I thought his imitations of Tim Gunn where hilarious.
Chloe: He’s awesome. He did an amazing job of imitating Tim Gunn but if you were there for a month with that… It was funny for the first 15 minutes. (laughs)
ASIANCE: Do you speak to anyone from your cast? What have they been up to?
Chloe: I just text Nick Verrios last night. Daniel Vosovic, Dirty Diana and Emmett. Emmett has an amazing store in NYC. He’s also going to be on QVC. He’s working on two lines. He’s working on a deal with JC Penney. Miss Diana has two books coming out. Nick Verrios is the King of Media. He does a lot of red carpet spokesperson things for MSNBC. He does a lot of speaking engagements all over the United States at Universities. He’s dressed a lot of the Miss USA, Miss Universe pageants. He did a prom line for retailer Windsor Fashions. Daniel Vosovic’s amazing book is coming out this month and already sold out in China. He is doing a lot for NBC. He’s doing something behind the scenes for Lipstick Jungle. All of us from Season 2, it’s been an amazing transition into the real world because I think we were really a great season in personality and style. We were entertaining but we were real. I think the beauty with Season 1 and Season 2 was that we weren’t so camera conscious because it was such a new thing and we did it for the love of it. Now, every season has a bigger amount of press. Now you can see there is so much self-editing or self awareness.
Santino is starring in a reality show called, “Gimme My Reality Show!”.
ASIANCE: Did Daniel ever go work for Michael Kors? Remember Michael asked him to give him a call?
Chloe: Yes. He never did. I don’t know what happened with that but no he never did work for Michael Kors.
ASIANCE: Who has been your favorite on the seasons following yours?
Chloe: Honestly I love Vince from Season 3. He was my favorite because he was such a freaking character. When he made that hat with the chain on it. He was really and truly honest about his own wackiness. He’s so opposite from what I am. I love people who are true to themselves. He was an amazing character. I love Romy as designer but to watch, I’m bored to death. I think Gillian was a great designer but bored to death to watch. On Project Runway you want someone with great design and great character. I love Christian. The most memorable to me is Vince though. When I think of him I just smile.
ASIANCE: Do you have a favorite piece?
Chloe:I’m working on my Fall 2009 which we will be showing on our 8 year anniversary. I love all my pieces. I think it’s one of my best collections ever! There’s no favorite because they are all so damn good. I can’t pick one. I’m not just saying that because it’s my line. I think it’s one of the best collections I’ve ever done.
Now I have an amazing staff. I have 2 assistants. I have someone who helps me cut. Someone helps me sew. It gives you the ability to be more creative and a little more open because you aren’t doing everything yourself.
ASIANCE: Are you still with your boyfriend?
Chloe: Yes we’re still together. We’ve been together for 3 years. We’ll probably get married and everything. I better get married and pop out a baby soon. I’m already considered old and past my age but we will get married soon and have kids!!