Bernard Chandran in St. Germain, Paris
6.45AM I begin my day the same way every day; a creature of habit I am, with the occasional moments of spontaneity. Before I get out of bed, I say a little affirmation and greet my wife to get daily blessings from her before I head out.
7.30AM In a fuss-free manner, I make myself a healthy shake of organic, fresh ingredients. Dressed in form-fitting, fashionable gym wear paired with a chic helmet for safety, I cycle to my neighbourhood gym for a gruelling hour and a half of muscle-toning. Every alternate day, I ease my way to the gym at home.
9AM I take a long shower, for I really enjoy my 30-minute showers. The mood of the bathroom is set with a running backdrop noise from CNN or MTV. My wife and I love to critic the new-gen music scene, in a positive way, of course! It is also during this time, while getting ready for the day that my wife Mary and I converse about our children, what the day has in store for each of us, and more. I visualise my entire outfit the night before. My sense of fashion has changed with the times. When I was young I was inspired by the ’80s music scene! A-ha and Duran Duran were my biggest influences. I used to wear these crazy outfits of high-waisted jeans, and oversized shirts paired with that sleek coif just like Morten Harket. I loved taking fashion risks and I still do. Making an effort to think about what one wears every day is an important value that I practise and instil in my children. If you are having a bad day, dressing up will make a huge difference and change how you feel about yourself. You feel positive when you walk out, head held high, rocking the look you’ve chosen for yourself; it can turn grey skies into an amazing day. My stylist has to remind me that there are certain looks that I can’t and should not be rocking anymore, even though I believe I can still work it! It is during this hour that I would usually receive picture updates from my graphic designer, who takes pictures of what goes on at the atelier for my archives. I have 20 years worth of images in my archive. Someday when another designer takes over Bernard Chandran, they will have the entire archive at their disposal. This is something I learned in Paris while I was living there in my younger days as a fashion student.
10AM I never leave the house without praying. Mary and I will both perform a small prayer before truly beginning our day. Just before I head down for a light late breakfast, we believe it is only right to give back a little something before starting the day. I have a box where we each put money in, every day. At the end of the year, it is donated to charity.
11AM Mary whips up a healthy meal that consists of steamed fish and Chinese broth. That’s my daily morning meal, light and wholesome. My second son and I are extremely picky with our food compared to the rest of the family. When I am in Paris, I’ll head to the gym as usual, but breakfast will be a late affair with the entire team that would usually last till noon, before we head back to the atelier.
12PM The notoriously busy roads of KL are usually clear at this hour and that is when I make my way to the office, situated right in the centre of the hustle and bustle of the city. Then as soon as I get in, my assistant and I will make our rounds, followed by a session of replying e-mails. If I am in Paris – it will usually be a week before my presentation of the latest collection – I’d have completely stopped making any form of amendments on the clothes. The collection will not be touched! Instead, my team and I will focus our energy on the music, hair, and make-up that will complete the aesthetics of the collection. Model casting would usually take three to four days. As soon as we are done with that, my stylist and I will compile a list of songs that best sums up the mood of the collection and a DJ comes in to make magic! Songs are mashed together and we decide on which look comes out to which beat. The entire presentation is choreographed a week before Fashion Week. It is not as busy as it sounds. It’s a calming process of creative minds bouncing ideas off each other.
4PM I quietly slip away from the office to a little Japanese café, perfectly located within the same building, for a bowl of noodles.
4.30PM This is when I retreat, and shut my eyes for 20 minutes to realign and readjust my flow of thoughts.
4.50PM Skype sessions with my overseas teams take place around this hour, followed by drop-ins by my pattern-cutter, embroidery team, beading team, and many others as we work on orders for private clients and my RTW collection.
6.30PM The best time of day! When everyone has left and I am free to be myself and bring out the sketch pads to draw away. This is also the time when I drape, and visualise a look, and banter creatively with my assistant. If I have nothing planned with the family or it is Fashion Week, I will work late.
9PM Dinner with the family is a must at least three times a week. Our conversations at the table are all about not telling them what to do and more about inspiring and motivating them.
11PM I am quite particular about my pyjamas. Be it a stretchy or fitted look, the most important element when it comes down to selecting pyjamas is the texture of the material. My room is huge and you enter via the wardrobe. My kids love fluttering into our room for a goodnight kiss, which I adore and hope never changes.