Eva and Michael Chow might just take the cake as Longest-Reigning/Coolest Couple. From their still-hot chain of Mr. Chow restaurants — the first of which opened in 1968 — to the starry LACMA Art + Film Gala Tonight co-chaired by Eva every November, the duo have an unyielding grasp on the social and cultural scene, particularly in Los Angeles, where they live together in a 11,600-square-foot mansion in Holmby Hills.
Tonight, the couple will touch down in New York, where they’ll be honored at the New York Academy of Art’s 21st annual Tribeca Ball for their support of artists and cultural institutions. (Chow, a longtime artist in his own right, made his first solo show debut in the U.S. last month, “Michael Chow aka Zhou Yinghua: Voice for My Father,” at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.) The couple recently created a scholarship for the Academy’s MFA students. “Michael and I are happy to contribute a little to assist students to pursue their education in arts,” Eva said. Ahead of her honor, WWD caught up with Mrs. Chow as she traveled through Korea.
WWD: Your lengthy career spans fashion, art, film and business. What projects are you currently working on — and what’s exciting you the most?
Eva Chow: Michael is totally immersed in painting — he has his solo exhibition on at the Andy Warhol Museum and is working on a show in Madrid for later this year. That leaves me to take on more responsibilities for the Mr. Chow restaurants and [work on] expanding our brand. We opened in Las Vegas at Caesar’s Palace and will open Mexico City in June. Also, we have launched our own wine and will soon launch other Mr. Chow products, including our famous chili sauce. Other projects I am working on include this year’s LACMA Art and Film gala.
WWD: You were a watercolor painter before moving to the U.S. to pursue careers in film and fashion. Do you still make art?
E.C.: I was a painter when I was young, and then became a designer. I am a creative person. No matter what project I am working on, that is my base. I design almost every day in my head, and I would love to paint. But…who knows what’s around the corner…exciting! I am inspired by art, music, beautiful things, but what inspires me most are people.
WWD: Who are some of your favorite artists right now?
E.C.: I love many artists and their work…it’s hard to name just a few…but I love Julian Schnabel, Ed Ruscha, Jeff Elrod, among the ones who are working now.
WWD: You were recently honored by the L.A. Fashion Awards for being a fashion innovator. Let’s talk style — who are some of your favorite designers to wear?
E.C.: My all-time favorite designers are Azzedine Alaïa and Yohji Yamamoto. I love Hedi Slimane, Riccardo Tisci and Alber Elbaz.
WWD: How would you describe your style? What are some of your favorite looks you’ve worn?
E.C.: My style is simple. Every day, I mostly wear black. Sometimes I add color by wearing different colored shoes. I love dresses and coats, beautiful earrings and bracelets. One of my favorite pieces is a Vivienne Westwood white lace bustier top with a full long skirt.
WWD: Tell me about your relationship with your daughter Asia, a Columbia University student, model and blossoming “It” girl in her own right. What are some lessons you’ve taught her and vice versa?
E.C.: I always shared my passion for art, music, fashion and film with Asia. We did and still do a lot of things together like going to museums, looking at collections, going to concerts…We spend a lot of time talking about everything. But now she is teaching me. She suggests books for me to read, musicians I didn’t know to listen to. I always tell her the most important thing is that she should do what makes life happy and fun for her — and to do her personal best with everything she does.