“Bling Empire’s” Cherie Chan Talks About Life, Motherhood, and of course, Fashion

Image courtesy of Netflix

Netflix’s “Bling Empire” has quickly become one of the streaming platform’s most popular series. When the showed debuted last month, it was a welcome escape from politics upheaval and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Bling Empire” is described as a real-life version of the box office hit film “Crazy Rich Asians,” following the lives of some of Los Angeles’ wealthiest Asian and Asian American socialites. One of the most endearing stars of the show is Cherie Chan, an heiress to a denim and textile company, who spent the series showing us the value of good dressing while pregnant. Chan was pregnant with her second child for most of the series filming, but that didn’t stop her from bedazzling herself with Louis Vuitton, Giambattista Valli, and Chanel. The businesswoman, who has her own tequila company, Religion Tequila, took a few moments out of her busy schedule to discuss one of her favorite topics with Fashion Reverie: clothes!

Fashion Reverie: When did you first find your love of fashion?

Cherie Chan: I discovered my love for Chanel when I was really young. I went on a trip to Paris with my whole family when I was 7 years old, and we shut down the Chanel boutique for 8 hours. We went in when the sun was out and left when it was nighttime. At first, I was complaining because I wanted to go outside, eat, and get roasted chestnuts. Then I started discovering what an amazing place the store was. There were all the Chanel dresses and handbags. The people who work at Chanel make it feel even more special. Even as a little girl, I loved the Chanel packaging with the camellia flowers and the ribbon.

FR: Did you love playing dress up as a little girl?

Cherie Chan: I did! I really loved dressing up. My mom never wanted me to dress up too much because she was from the generation where people wanted to make money, but they didn’t want to show their wealth. Back then, you only really dressed up for special events. People would buy things and that would live in the back of their closet. My mother had vintage Chanel handbags that look brand new that she barely used. To me, those are treasures meant to be passed on to my children.

FR: Your family comes from the denim and textile industry. What did that teach you about the value of good dressing?

Cherie Chan: It taught me a lot. When I was very young, I was in our factories trying to learn how to sew things by watching the factory workers and my parents. I used to help my parents’ compile the fabrics, and it was so much fun and a great bonding experience with them. I will always have those memories.

FR: How did you get cast on ”Bling Empire”?

Cherie Chan: It was through a friend referral, and I wasn’t even aware it was a casting. I thought we were just going to hang out.

FR: How did you curate your wardrobe specifically for the show?

Cherie Chan: I was just being myself. This is how I dress normally. I was pregnant most of the show, and then I had post-baby body, so I didn’t look exactly the way I wanted to during filming. I wore a lot of empire waistline pieces. I also wore a lot of baby doll dresses, and I had some Dior A-line skirts that went over my belly. It was all about being comfortable, but still fashionable. I was always wearing slides because they come off so easily.

I was in between being pregnant and taking care of my mom, so I did have a few maternity pants that I could pair with a sweater on days I was visiting my mother in the hospital. I still remember going to the hospital and the nurses telling me how cute my outfits and shoes were, which really brightened up both my day and my mom’s. Even though my mother was very sick, she still loved her favorite Chanel No. 5 perfume, and we would spray her hospital room with it, so it smelled like Chanel No. 5 when people walked in. She was going through so much with the cancer and she went through so much before she died. It was amazing and crazy to say how fashion still helped her toward the end.

FR: Everyone on the show had different approaches to fashion. Was there a process with “Bling Empire’s” production team to make sure all the cast members had their own unique style?

Cherie Chan: No, the team just trusted that we had great style. The only things we got told were nothing too sparkly, so there were no sequins allowed, which was tough for me because I love things that sparkle. One of my favorite looks of the season was by one of my favorite designers, Magda Butrym, that I paired with a pearl tiara.

FR: Were you nervous about getting portrayed in a negative light given the way reality television shows are sometimes edited?

Cherie Chan: Not at all, I was just being myself. Some of my parties didn’t make the cut. but that’s OK.

FR: As a former musician, how did that help you learn to market your image in terms of style and presentation?

Cherie Chan: I think my experience in Japan definitely affected my fashion sense. I choose stuff that’s more feminine, elegant, and classy. Prior to Japan, I was more laid back with my style. I used to wear Chrome Hearts. I’ve always like dressing up and being a princess, but after Japan, I fell more in love with elegant and classic styles. After being pregnant, I fell in love with empire waistlines and baby doll dresses because they fit my body the best.

FR: How would say your image has changed from your days doing music in Japan to your current days on “Bling Empire”?

Cherie Chan: I think it’s changed so much. Back when I was a musician, I was very simple with what I wore, even though I had designer things. Back then in Japan, people did not wear designer things with logos on them. You saw Chanel buttons and tweeds, but no logos. It wasn’t until recently that you started seeing logoed merchandise from Fendi, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel being worn in Japan. Back in those days, people would have Dior tee shirts, but they wouldn’t even say Dior on them.

FR: Do you have any style inspirations or icons you look up to?

Cherie Chan: I’m a huge fan of fashion blogger Nicole Warne, formerly @garypeppergirl on Instagram. Her style is so nice. I’m also a huge fan of model Irene Kim, known as @ireneisgood on Instagram.

FR: Who are some of your favorite designers?

Cherie Chan: I absolutely love Chanel ever since I had my daughter because they have great mommy and me styles, because we love to match.

FR: Are there any current designers that excite you that you haven’t added to your wardrobe yet?

Cherie Chan: I love seeing what new designers are on H. Lorenzo’s website. I recently got some Marine Serre shirts. I think she’s such a talented designer, and I love her jackets. I love Simone Rocha. Her pieces are so elegant, and she had this Moncler collaboration with this skirt I am dying to get my hands on. I also love this New York-based brand called Area.

FR: What are you hopes for season 2 of the show, and what other projects are you and your husband, Jessey, working on?

Cherie Chan:
We are not sure about doing season 2, yet. Jessey and I are so busy with the babies. And my husband and I are extremely focused with our company Religion Tequila and our IT company BresaTech, which we founded 2017.

Religion Tequila originally started as a hobby project for Jessey because of his passion for tequila. BresaTech is more of a legacy company which we see as something we leave for our kids. Jessey’s interest in the technology space also came at a young age. He sees the sustainability of this industry in the foreseeable future.

Images courtesy of Cherie Chan

FR: A good outfit isn’t complete without … ? Fill in the blank.

Cherie Chan: A good pair of shoes and a good handbag. In terms of shoes, I’ve really been loving Mach & Mach and Amina Muaddi. I’m a huge fan of Sophia Webster. When I was younger, my mother always told me for a classic shoe, go to Roger Vivier. Aside from the classic flats and heels, Roger Vivier also has amazing sneakers. They are comfortable, they sparkle, and they slide on and off just like a pair of slides.

“Bling Empire” premiered on January 15 on Netflix. The first season is now streaming.

 —Kristopher Fraser

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