Cutler and Gross' creative director on the twin strands of Schiaparelli and the 40s
Monica Chong has been creative director of Cutler and Gross for ten years. Previously a womenswear designer, she is responsible for shaping the brand's visuals, projects and collaborations.
Mr Graham Cutler and Mr Tony Gross founded their company over 40 years ago, and ever since it has been a by-word for optical originality and craftsmanship. Today, the original Knightsbridge shop also operates as the brand's museum, with a bespoke personal order suite, joined by a second space on the same thoroughfare, Cutler and Gross Vintage. Beyond the UK, there are standalone stores in Hong Kong, Canada and the Middle East, as well as fashionable – and the best independent opthalmic – stockists the globe over. Aside from Cutler and Gross' own line, there have been collaborations with the likes of Comme des Garçons, Giles, Maison Martin Margiela and Martyn Bal.
Schiaparelli was the first fashion designer who was clever enough to collaborate with artists. She was very brave, you know – think of the lobster dress, the shoe hat, the telephone compact
Famously worn by Elton John, the style Madonna became synonymous with on an Interview cover, 0866, is Chong's personal favourite, as an ardent fan of cat-eye shapes. Dazed Digital caught up with Chong at the store's bespoke suite to learn of her compelling, longtime obsession...
"My source of inspiration has always been the 40s look, especially Schiaparelli – I’m obsessed and very pleased the house might be brought back soon. I collect the jewellery and through Schiaparelli I collected other 40s things like hats and dresses, which I wear a lot – I have a huge collection which I customise. As part of my interest in the 40s, I’m also very in love with anything to do with surrealism. So the Dada movement, Man Ray, Dalí, Magritte, you name them, I love them all. Schiaparelli was the first fashion designer who was clever enough to collaborate with artists. She was very brave, you know – think of the lobster dress, the shoe hat, the telephone compact. I go to vintage fairs consistently, and all the dealers know me. I buy a lot of costume jewellery, big, big pieces, and hats, hats, hats, and more hats. I just kind of immerse myself into that period very much."
Click here for Dazed Digital's interview with Harold Koda, curator of Schiaparelli & Prada: Impossible Conversations and see Schiaparelli's designs in our feature with vintage expert Clair Watson.