Photos by David Sdika Cashmere polka dots jaquard sweater in camel/silver CASHMERE POLKA DOTS JAQUARD SWEATER in mauve/charcoal cashmere polka dots jaquard sweater in cloud grey/dark navy CASHMERE CUBE JAcQUARD CARDIGAN in cloud grey/dark navy honeycomb sweater in navy Cashmere JJJound & Chauncey ribbed beanie in poppy red

Close-Knit: 6 Questions for Chauncey

BY Alice Newell-Hanson | Tue. October 16, 2012 | 12:00 AM | OC
Nathalie Bouhana is a knitwear designer with experience at labels including JPG, David Sdika is a photographer, and together they make up knitwear brand Chauncey. This season, their polka-dot sweaters are some of my favorite pieces in the store. Combining a classic shape with super soft cashmere and a little Belgian weirdness, they're a perfect antidote to onset winter blues. This season, Nathalie and David also worked with Canadian image blog JJJJound to create a skater-inspired beanie in poppy red cashmere, so we figured it was time to get to know them.

Shop all Chauncey here.

Alice Newell-Hanson: Nathalie, when did you first pick up a pair of needles?

Nathalie Bouhana: When I was five years old, in Paris with my nanny, Mme Legrain. She was a real second mother. She was from Normandy and she educated me like a garçon manqué (a tomboy). But she also taught me country-style cooking and hand-knitting. Then I really started making knitwear after fashion school, as the assistant to a knitwear designer for the French brand Tehen. Her name was Irena Gregori. She was a great personality. She was always cutting up my oversized sweaters in the studio because she thought I was too shy and unsexy!

ANH: What's your favorite piece that you've knitted for David?
NB: David is my museau—like a muse, but a man! That's also the French word for an animal nose, so it's what I call him as a joke. My favorite style is the peau de mouton, a very thick cashmere open-stitch sweater. I made it for Purdey in the UK and David was lucky enough to get the sample. He wears it all the time.

ANH: How did you guys choose the name Chauncey?
NB: We watch a lot of old movies, and we were looking for a character name to use. David's favorite movie is Being There, in which Peter Sellers, as a simple-minded gardener, reinvents himself as Chauncey the political insider! It's very elegant, with a Belgian twist.

ANH: Please describe Chauncey in three words.
NB: Minimalist, creative, Belgian.

ANH: Favorite thing about working with David?
NB: Being in the showroom in Paris. David is so easy and funny, and even though the pressure is on when we're showing our collection, that's my favorite time to spend with him.

ANH: Favorite thing about this collection?
NB: We collaborate with a traditional knitter in Mongolia. His work is fantastic and the best part of winter is the DHL delivery of the first swatches. It's like Chrismas in the studio because I'm so excited to open the box!

ANH: David, what was the first photo you ever took?
David Sdika: It was a self-portrait. I was spitting toothpaste into the kitchen sink.

ANH: What's your favorite photo of Nathalie?
DB: It's of Nathalie in a glasses shop. She was picking out some new sunglasses and, boom, I got it!

ANH: How did you guys begin Chauncey?
DS: It started with a need to build something together. Nathalie is the knitwear specialist, I manage photography. We could have built a photo agency but instead we founded a knitwear brand—something that looks and feels like us.

ANH: Please describe Chauncey in three words.
DS: Less is more.

ANH: Favorite thing about working with Nathalie?
DS: The best thing is being able to keep an eye on her (since she's been wearing her new wide-brim hat, men have approached her—they've been giving their business cards!). No, but seriously, what I like the most is the time during fashion week when we feel like we're in the jungle and we're delivering this "new baby" (the collection), and then, once we've passed the test, we can just laugh and relax again!

ANH: Favorite thing about this collection?
DS: The cashmere cube jacquard cardigan, because it's sophisticated and comfy at the same time. And then, of course, the polka dots!
FILED UNDER: Chauncey, FW12, Mens