Christopher Chong’s role as Creative Director of the venerable House of Amouage has an air of destiny about it, as though his fascinating and varied life to date has all been aimed at preparing himself for the task.
Chong describes his career as somewhat unconventional, more like a quilt with various diverse pieces sewn together in unexpected ways. Brought up in the Lower East Side of Manhattan as an immigrant from Hong Kong, Chong has always been fascinated with luxury goods and, even as a child he was as much enthralled with the great department stores on Madison and Fifth Avenue as he was with building tree-houses in the local playgrounds and parks.
To support his first degree in Comparative Literature from Fordham University, Chong started his own modeling agency dealing mainly with fashion editorial after which he moved to London to pursue a Master of Arts in Literature, Languages and European Thought.
Upon graduation, Chong conducted research on Roland Barthes, semiotics of fashion and the economic representation of post-war fashion as a sub-culture phenomenon with a strong focus on Dior. At the same time he matched theory with practice by undertaking a number of courses at the prestigious London College of Fashion, specializing in design, pattern-making, draping, buying and marketing.
Multi-disciplined, Chong commenced operatic training as Lyric Baritone during this time through private tuition for ten years. Working with some of the world’s leading opera teachers and coaches, he participated in many international opera competitions and festivals. Prior to his appointment at Amouage, Chong was for a number of years the Business and Product Development Manager for a leading British weekly magazine.
Not renouncing his operatic training completely, Chong now ‘sings’ various song cycles through other mediums and especially as the Creative Director of the House of Amouage, marking a new chapter in his life.
Adopting an artistic approach and using music as his inspiration, Chong expresses his vision through a series of narratives and is accredited with the creative transformation of the House where his role is part creative and part executive. On the creative level, he works directly with leading perfumers in Grasse in the South of France to create new fragrances in addition to developing new product categories.
Chong says, “I could not fulfill my responsibilities at Amouage without my chequered past, especially music. For me, perfume is about articulating the different colors of emotions and personal history. It is all about the present reconciling with the past. Perfumes are more than beautiful scents. It is a philosophy, a representation of life, living, who we are and how we want to define ourselves.”
On the executive level, Chong is also closely involved in executive decisions about all other creative aspects of the company’s operations including those relating to marketing, PR, design and production.
Based in London, Chong visits the Sultanate of Oman frequently to draw inspiration from Amouage’s birthplace and infuses reference points from its rich heritage in his extraordinary and truly original creations.
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