L’Officiel Malaysia was the exclusive title invited to witness the opening of Self-Portrait’s very first Asia outpost in Central Embassy, Bangkok. Despite founder Han Chong’s busy schedule, we managed to sit down with the mastermind to catch up and talk about his newly-opened store — one of the biggest launches for the brand after the designer’s early 2019 return to his home country to launch Self-Portrait’s first swim collection in Langkawi.
Filled with pictures of royalty, celebrities and influencers wearing his beautiful dresses, Han's Instagram account @mrselfportrait is now accompanied by the brand-new @selfportraitbangkok, which documents the activities of the Bangkok venture.
Herein is a recollection of our five-minute tête-à-tête in the new store itself with Han.
I love Thailand, and Bangkok in particular. I spend time in Bangkok almost every year, and I especially love Thai fashion and the Thai design aesthetic. We have worked with an amazing partner in Bangkok since we started the brand, and for this opening, the opportunity presented itself for us to partner with each other to debut our first flagship store in Asia.
Why Central Embassy?
Doesn’t the mall look super chic? (laughs)
What’s the highlight of this store compared to other Self-Portrait stores?
I love the extent of the space and how inviting it is in what this new Bangkok store has to offer. We wanted to create a luxurious environment that is still welcoming.
Who conceptualised this Bangkok retail space?
The store is designed by Casper Mueller Kneer Architects, who designed our flagship store in London, which I shared with them the way I wanted it to be.
Are there any similarities or differences between this store and the ones in Mayfair (London) and Mercer street (New York).
The store is modelled after the design of the Mayfair store, so there are a lot of similarities. You will find these in the geometric structure, tile layout, as well as the open-grid ceiling. The only difference is that we have used local materials here such as teak wood on the semi-circular metal screens that hold the hanging rails.
Is there a design element that defines a Self-Portrait store at first glance?
I think when you see our floors and the tile work, you’ll know it’s a Self-Portrait store.
Can we expect one in your home country Malaysia soon?
There’s always the possibility for an opportunity there.
What’s next for Self-Portrait?
We are expanding with more stores opening in Asia and also planning on opening in China in this year (2020), be it in Beijing, Shanghai or Shenzhen.