Best Local Clothing Designer (2006)

Chloe Dao

What's not to love about Chloe Dao? The sixth of eight children from Pakse, Laos, Dao settled in Houston with her family and grew up riveted to CNN's Style with Elsa Klensch. A good daughter, Dao followed her parents' wishes and entered UH's business school, but she soon left to pursue design. She climbed the NYC fashion ladder and, in 2000, returned to Houston to open her boutique, Lot 8 in Rice Village. She quickly became a local media darling, but last year after securing a spot on Bravo's Project Runway she became a TV darling, too. Throughout the series, Dao withstood ber-annoying contestants (Santino: Shut up already!) and consistently wowed judges with her flowing dresses and fresh, hip couture. It was the perfect nice-girls-finish-first story: As other designers preened for the camera and bitched to each other, the charming Dao came off as humble, hardworking, talented and, ultimately, the best. Now a veritable household name, she's $100,000 richer, and she's still keeping it real (and fabulously chic) in her hometown. How very Houston of her. Thanks, Chloe, for making us look so good.


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