There's life after Louboutins

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 March, 2012, 12:00am


For stylist and photographer Olivia Tsang Ka-yee, style is no longer just about what's trendy or what the magazines are telling us to buy. It has, she says, become more about comfort and functionality.

There was a time when fashion statements may have dictated some of Tsang's style choices but that was before she got married and had her first child. For starters, she's let go of her obsession with gravity-defying Christian Louboutins. She confesses to once having a whole wall lined with bank-breaking, envy-inducing, red-soled heels.

'I used to obsess over Louboutins after I bought my first pair of open-toe black patent heels in my younger days. After that, I would buy a pair every month, even though I didn't love them and couldn't walk in them. When I realised what style I preferred, I stopped that addiction and sold them all to another Louboutin lover,' says Tsang.

Her cupboard still contains a few impressive pairs of shoes, though most of them are now Jimmy Choos and only three or so are Louboutins. There is even the odd pair of runners. This is the result of what the 32-year-old describes as a 'painful streamlining process'.

For her clothes, she's taken over the wardrobes in the bedroom she shares with her husband and has also laid claim to those in the room of her eight-month-old son. 'He won't be needing that storage space until much later, I suppose,' she says.

In these wardrobes, Hong Kong-born, New Zealand-educated Tsang houses her basics: white shirts, easy dresses, jackets, her collection of urban, athletic-inspired garb from T By Alexander Wang plus sportswear from Nike, Mizuno and Lululemon.

'It's a very practical, honest and wearable wardrobe. All the clothes look the same. It's like a cartoon character's closet - like Winnie the Pooh, always wearing that same old red shirt. I'm always wearing an Alexander Wang jersey dress or top. I like to keep things easy and simple and highly mobile because of what I do. Sometimes, I need to be in eight to 10 different places a day.

'At the moment, I am working on a photography project with Peta [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals] for dog adoption. This is my dream project because I've always wanted to do something for dogs,' adds Tsang, who counts GQ China, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Bulgari, IWC and celebrities Andy Lau Tak-wah and Eason Chan Yik-shun among her clients.

Tsang says she doesn't have any favourite pieces. 'I guess whatever I bought most recently are my favourites,' she says with a laugh, adding that she hardly shops for herself because it is what she does all day, every day, for her customers.

'I love my Alexander Wang striped dress, the nude mesh Gucci heels, and the racer back black dress from ASOS. Then there's one simple black tube dress from La Perla a few seasons ago in silk.'

She does have one sartorial commandment that she will never break. 'I will never wear tricky denim - denim with excessive embroidery, crystal studs, prints and so on - that is a definite no-no.'