Vintage to the core

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 July, 2011, 12:00am


A vintage cheongsam takes pride of place in Denise Ho's long and narrow closet. The black cheongsam, which features gold and orange embroidery, is more than two decades old and used to belong to her grandmother. In a closet crammed with designer threads - Ho is a stylist by trade and has accumulated a well-edited wardrobe collection - this piece stands out like a shrine, not only to fashion but also to her family history.

'I've never actually worn it, but I just love it so much. It also looks a little too small for me,' Ho says.

She has parlayed her fashion eye into a clothing line for children called A For Apple. 'This is my main job now, and I do styling on the side,' she says. Before this career change, she was styling the advertising campaigns of brands like Shanghai Tang and Cathay Pacific. Now her children's collection sells internationally, and she has designed a line for Opening Ceremony.

Ho has an impressive collection of vintage pieces in her closet. You just have to dig through the many garments in her double-hang wardrobe. There are Chanel jackets, Oscar de la Renta dresses, Yves Saint Laurent frocks, and a wild and exuberant Pucci kimono - one of her prized pieces. Most of her vintage numbers are eBay finds.

Her bags reflect every trend there ever was: logomania, oversized and minimalist, to name a few. Ho has bags by Jil Sander, Gucci, Chloe, Mulberry and Kotur - her collection reads like a namecheck of designer labels.

'I also love all my fur coats,' she says, pointing to a stack that has been vacuum-packed. 'But they're not all designer pieces. I have a lot of APCs and Acnes, too.

'My style is easy. I just throw on whatever I feel like wearing. It's a no-fuss, relaxed style.'

Her shoe closet is in a small room next to the main door of her two-storey flat. On one side is a floor-to-ceiling shelf of high heels from Miu Miu, Brian Atwood and Prada.

'I can wear six-inch heels every day and I find that Prada's shoes work the best on my feet,' she explains. But she also has an impressive collection of sneakers and tennis shoes.

Despite having a no-rules approach, Ho says she would never dare to wear some things, like ruffled dresses and frilly tops.

'I like a touch of menswear in my clothes,' she says, citing Alexa Chung, a master at mixing the masculine and feminine, as one of her style icons.

Ho credits her fashion savvy to her mother, who brought Jean Paul Gaultier's label to Hong Kong when Ho was little. 'She really opened my eyes to fashion,' she says.