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The fashion brand Self-Portrait (founded in 2013 by Malaysia-born, London-based designer Han Chong) has garnered a solid Hollywood following, strong retail presence and hundreds of copy cats who replicated the look of his popular semi-sheer intricate lace dresses and tops several years ago.
Stars including Tracee Ellis-Ross, Beyoncé, Emmy Rossum, Mila Kunis, Storm Reid, Olivia Munn, Rachel Bilson, Rowan Blanchard, Greta Lee as well as Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle and former First Lady Michelle Obama have all worn his clothing. His label has also branched out into other categories that feature the same femininity as his main line. Enter Self-Portrait Swim.
Chong’s newest category (he also has a bustling bridal business in his flagship store in London) arrived last month, just in time for summer. Each swimsuit is sculptural yet soft, with delicate ruching details down the torso. The line (also available at Matchesfashion.com) comes in unexpected shades such as terra cotta and mustard as well as blooming floral and graphic Deco prints and includes kaftans and other coordinating cover-ups.
The designer’s first foray into swim was inspired by growing up in Malaysia and the tropical surroundings of Penang Island. But the sights and aesthetic of Los Angeles, a city he says he visits about once a year, recently left a positive impression, he told The Hollywood Reporter while in L.A.: “I haven’t been on summer holiday for a while, so coming here to L.A. and seeing how easy and relaxed and cool everyone is dressing is inspiring.”
Never mind that the morning he chatted with THR saw significant wind storms and even a daylong power outage at his hotel. Chong was eager to go vintage furniture shopping in the city (to furnish his new home in London) and to scan the retail scene in the Arts District. The L.A. environment also got his creative wheels turning toward expanding a resort wear offering.
“It’s a happy moment, it reminds you of being on holiday,” he says of wearing the light and breezy pieces synonymous with resort collections.“It’s a happy memory. You wear these pieces and you’re usually hanging out in the sun and it makes you feel good.”
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