Out of My Closet: Grace Chan

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 November, 2012, 2:07pm

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Grace Chan knows her way around all the local boutiques, from the cool upstairs stores in Causeway Bay to the shops tucked away in Sham Shui Po. The bag designer and founder of accessories brand Glush takes her indie brands seriously.

"I like classic looks with a 'wow' factor," says the Polytechnic University fashion school alumna.

Her "grass" clutch, a canvas purse featuring a synthetic green turf, has been seen on the arms of the city's A-listers and fashionistas.

"I've been looking for alternative materials to create my bags as the price of leather has been inflated in the past of years because of the shortage in supply," Chan explains.

A light bulb went off over her head when she saw the artificial grass during a stroll around the home supply shops in Wan Chai.

"I thought, 'Why not put that on a clutch? We don't get to see a lot of green in the city'," she says.

Chan's wardrobe holds a mixture of independent brands from Hong Kong and South Korea, as well as a few high-street favourites and do-it-yourself projects.

Her go-to pieces include a vibrant floral blazer with leather harness straps on the back, and an orchid printed silk top. Both are from South Korean brand Mars, purchased from her favourite boutique, Heaven Please, a multi-brand store in Causeway Bay owned by her college friend.

"I love the jacket for its rock 'n' roll and punky touch. I don't wear it with skinny jeans, but with something feminine, like a Helmut Lang jersey maxi with a thigh-high slit," she says. "I like that, from the front, people would think it looks ordinary, but when they see the back straps, they'd be surprised."

Apart from a few floral and photo-printed items, her closet is filled with dark shades, but her jewellery box is a sea of gold.

"Black and gold are really my thing," she says.

The designer has created matte golden necklaces and bracelets by recycling garment parts. One of her art deco-inspired heavy chokers was made with swimsuit buckles and another one made from the clasps she removed from a pair of denim overalls.

She also raided her mother's jewellery box for a trayful of chunky gold chokers, bracelets and rhinestone-studded clip-on earrings. "I can never have enough gold accessories," she says. "It's a good colour that complements my skin tone."

Chan says she plans her outfit starting with her shoes. "If I'm only dressing for a casual lunch with friends, I wouldn't be walking in crazy heels; instead, I'd be wearing flats," she says. "My shoes give me the starting point, and then I will work my outfit upwards."

For her daily routine, Chan has tanned lace-up brogue wedges from Rag & Bone, forest green pumps with heavy wooden heels from Marni for H&M and black suede booties with funky heels from Ann Demeulemeester.

She's all set for a night out with her hot tangerine strappy sandals from Zara, multicoloured Nicholas Kirkwood peep toes and glittery Jimmy Choo pumps.

Chan says she gets her daily fashion fix from her favourite magazines and trend reports. But for style inspiration, she simply looks out the window of her hip Sheung Wan neighbourhood.

"You'll always find me at an alfresco cafe, or wandering around. I'm actually watching the pretty people in my neighbourhood. I prefer street style than just following what's on the runways," she says.