Olivia Cheng, founder of Dauphinette wearing a green shirt and carrying a baby pig on her back talks...

On Repeat

Dauphinette’s Olivia Cheng’s Favorite Songs Are As Thoughtful As Her Designs

The New York designer shared her latest collection and how she dances to Paramore by herself.

On Repeat is a music series where NYLON asks our favorite creatives — designers, artists, and more — about the songs they can't stop playing while they work. You're going to want to add these to your playlists and streaming platforms ASAP.

When we asked Dauphinette designer Olivia Cheng about her favorite songs right now, the list and reflections are just as thoughtful as the clothes behind her indie fashion label.

“I think that when our emotions become very loud, music is an incredible way to amplify and connect the dots,” Cheng tells NYLON. “I draw many similarities between fashion and entertainment, and each collection really is a designer’s performance — in that sense, the music is an imperative part of the role’s preparation.”

Case in point: A song by Minnie Riperton is what Cheng describes as “walking on clouds and simultaneously exploding into a canyon of wildflowers.” And funnily enough, that’s also how it feels when you come across a Dauphinette garment. Her Fall 2022 collection, which debuted on Sunday, Feb. 13, during New York Fashion Week, is filled with her usual mix of surprising quirky details, like shiny beetles as embellishments, dried mini rosebuds transformed into a bra top and skirt, and Cheng’s signature: pressed flowers inside tiny resin tokens that make up anything from gowns and dresses to tops and detailing on jackets.

ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images

Music played a large role in Dauphinette’s Fall 2022 presentation, which took place in a private event space in Chinatown. Showgoers waited patiently for the show to begin, tapping their toes and swaying side to side to the background music that played. Once the first look made its debut appearance, the new collection unfolded almost like a storybook, which each group of looks representing a different sartorial theme, from colorful tattoo-inspired separates to cozy graphic knits and pleated mini skirts.

“Designing this collection was largely character-driven, and I spent a lot of time investigating the mindset of a young, heartbroken person and how that crushingly individualized, isolating feeling could be expressed through clothing,” says Cheng. “I’m communicating a lot in vignettes — there are moments of trudging through snow in nothing but a tiny two-piece made of rosebuds, and other times where there is this craving for warmth and comfort.”

Ahead, Cheng shares the songs that have inspired her work and new designs for NYLON’s latest edition of “On Repeat.”

“Start Me Up” - The Rolling Stones

“Songs usually remind me more of times than of places. However, I consistently return to this song as a reminder of New York and the places we live in. It feels like a heartbeat.”

“Gentle Rain - RJD2 Remix” - Astrud Gilberto

“The best beat in the entire world — a great driving song, a great dancing song.”

“I’m Not In Love” - Kelsey Lu

“Kelsey Lu knows how to make her listeners wait for every word, and her version of ‘I’m Not in Love’ is pure dark magic. It’s impossible not to cling to every single thing she says and to really feel exactly where she wants you to end up, which is entranced and possibly enchanted.”

“Heaven” - Talking Heads

“I enjoy the blunt philosophy of this song, and how assertively it confronts our collective approach towards life and post-life. It’s subtly dark and leaves you with a lot to think about.”

“Ain’t It Fun” - Paramore

“This album is of paramount importance for accessing that ragged, adolescent bandwidth of emotions. Honestly, I love to dance alone to this, and I can imagine myself still dancing to it in 10 or 50 years. My neighbors can see me and I really don’t care, and I feel like that’s the point.”

“Hellhole Ratrace” - Girls

“There’s a beautiful line in this song: ‘Sometimes you’ve just gotta make it for yourself. Sometimes sugar, it just takes someone else.’ It’s intriguing and very suggestive of an approach towards romance and relationships that is often overlooked in media.”

“Les Fleurs” - Minnie Riperton

“This song is like walking on clouds and simultaneously exploding into a canyon of wildflowers.”

“As I Am” - H.E.R.

“This is just an excellent song to exist in confidently. She says, ‘Tell me I’m the best (I am), you’d be a fool to not take me as I am.’ It all feels very casual — like we’re just sitting together in the living room having wine — and I’m sitting across from H.E.R. thinking, of course she’s the best and maybe I am, as well.”

See more of Dauphinette’s Fall 2022 collection, below.

A model wearing a dark denim combo with floral details from Dauphinette's Fall 2022 collection.
Photos by Naoko Maeda/Courtesy of Dauphinette