A fashionable mess

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 June, 2011, 12:00am


Fashion stylist Tina Leung describes her closet as a mess. 'A total mess,' she says. 'A glorious, wonderful mess, but a mess nonetheless. It's a miracle I'm able to get dressed in the mornings.'

She pulls back the curtains to reveal her stash in what was once a second bedroom in her apartment. Having styled the likes of Yun Jin Kim, Karen Mok Man-wai and James Ferragamo, the sheer volume of clothes that Leung has accumulated over the years is astonishing. And it's not the high street, inexpensive, disposable fashion kind. Hers are serious designer pieces.

On one side of the wall is an industrial double-hang installation about to collapse under the weight of all the Alexander McQueens, Dolce & Gabbanas, Fendis and Lanvins. On the other side is shelving packed with a chaotic disarray of accessories from clutches to chunky necklaces to drop earrings. Another rack of designer garments stands next to it. There's a crocodile-skin corset from local designer Piecco Pang. Leung confesses she can't breathe when she wears it, 'but it's still fabulous'.

It's like seeing behind-the-scenes footage of the wardrobe departments for Sex and the City or Gossip Girl transplanted into a Hong Kong bedroom.

Then there are her shoes, which are everywhere. The ones on constant rotation are on the bookcases-turned-shoe shelves by the entrance of her apartment, though there are several pairs in her study as well. She favours the vertiginous kind - Martin Margiela, Christian Louboutin and Yves Saint Laurent, Roger Vivier and Gucci.

Leung likes to experiment. She can be glamorous one day and funky the next. 'I don't seem to have a set style,' she says. 'It depends on my mood, and it changes all the time. One day it can be very minxy Miu Miu, and the next day it's quirky Margiela. I think I often end up looking like a fashion victim, but that's part of the fun of it all!'

Despite her daring approach to fashion, there are some trends that she would not dare attempt. 'The local trend of wearing MBT shoes, never!' she says. 'And I love the peplums that they showed at Jil Sander this season, but it is a hard look to rock if you are not stick-thin.'

The most treasured pieces in her closet include an orange column dress from Alexander McQueen, which her sister gave her when she turned 21, and her collection of vintage sunglasses. 'I found the most delicious pair of vintage Dior sunnies at Dover Street Market in London. I think they were around GBP400 (HK$5,050). I bought them right away,' she recalls. 'On eBay, a couple of days later, I found the exact same pair for US$35.

'I was so annoyed about the huge mark-up that I proceeded to buy whatever vintage sunglasses I could find on eBay. I came to my senses after about 80 pairs and stopped.'