When Eve Patton joined 40 glamorous women from around the globe for a classic car tour of Tuscany in 2011, she did it in style: in a 1957 Ford Thunderbird. "It was so much fun. Model Yasmin Le Bon and [US Vogue social editor] Chloe Malle were part of it - their Team Vogue really upped the glam factor."
There's no doubt that this effervescent director of a Hong Kong-based biotech company and mother of two loves life in the fast lane.
But recently she got the chance to slow down and relax. It was part of the Peninsula Hotel's "style celebrity for a day" package she successfully bid for at RTHK Radio 3's Santa's Silver Auction in December. The event celebrated 25 years of fundraising by Operation Santa Claus, the annual charity drive jointly organised by RTHK and SCMP. It set a new fundraising record in 2012, raising more than HK$18.8 million, with the money going to 18 beneficiaries.
"When I made a bid on this, I wasn't thinking about winning but about donating," Patton says. "I bet on several things and when I was told I had the highest bid for this fun event, I thought 'Oh, that's nice - I could do with a bit of a refresh!'
"But I was really hoping it didn't involve a visit to my wardrobe - it's such a mish-mash of stuff," she says, laughing.
Patton's treat, sponsored by the Peninsula Hotel's Lifestyle Academy, which runs elite courses on image and style for private clients (contact the hotel for more information on taking part). It started with a pick-up from her Mid-Levels home in a plush, dark green Rolls-Royce. Next stop was The Peninsula in Tsim Sha Tsui for a session with make-up artist Karen Yiu in one of the hotel's stunning harbourview suites. Beautiful cupcakes in spring shades were laid out on silver trays.
"Eve has great eyes - a mix of blue and green. Green eye make-up is good for you, as is purple. But today I'm going with something natural - golds and browns and greens," Yiu says.
After some expertly applied strokes, Patton loved her look. "Oh my God, I have eyes! I love these fake lashes," she says. While Yiu patted and powdered, Patton's thick auburn hair was curled by stylist Holly Lo.
On the fashion front, Patton was keen to break her "black in winter, white in summer" pattern. "Wearing different colours can have such an effect on your psyche and how you present yourself, but here I am again in black because it's the easiest colour to go around the world in. I lived in New York for 10 years and I always seemed to be in black … but I'm keen to experiment with colours," she says.
After a consultation with stylist Tina Leung, it was back in the Rolls and off to Harvey Nichols in Pacific Place. There, Leung guided Patton through a long line-up of brands, from Antonio Berardi and Lanvin to local designers like Jo's Ready to Wear. Patton could have the clothes for the day.
The ladies were looking for fresh colours and new outfits that would add a modern twist to Patton's glamorous look. Flattering fabrics that skimmed the curves were ideal.
In the end, Patton opted for three outfits. For a perfect summer cocktail look, she chose a floral, lace-embroidered summer dress in pale blue and yellow from Jo's, a white embroidered clutch from Kotur and nude Manolo Blahnik sandals. A simple, neoprene-lined green dress with short sleeves by Lanvin flattered Patton's figure, and Leung paired it with jewelled Badgley Mischka peep-toes, a '30s-inspired clutch and bold jewels.
The finale was a gorgeous, black, belted trenchcoat from Lanvin that half the team fell in love with. A shiny gold clutch and bold panther necklace by Venna set off the look.
With her wardrobe sorted, it was back to the hotel for dress-up, with the makeover styles captured by Carmen Chan.
Patton, a keen donor to charities, had a blast and is now keen to bid for more unusual prizes offered by charities (she once won a prize that involved a red carpet appearance at the Cannes Film Festival).
"The prizes at [the RTHK] auction were great - the best ones I've seen in Hong Kong," she says. "It offered unusual items such as having dinner with Jackie Chan or having your own song recorded in a studio. It really is more memorable than just offering a handbag."
But Patton doesn't plan to keep her foot off the accelerator for long. In September she and her "petrolhead" friends will take part in another rally in Tuscany, and this time it will be for charity. "I'm co-driving a Bugatti Veyron, a US$2 million car - the fastest [street-legal] car on the planet. I'm not sure what I'll wear. How does one dress to match a Veyron? Maybe I'll get a futuristic suit," she says.
The story was updated at 3.40 pm on November 11 to clarify in the 3rd paragraph that the “style celebrity for a day package” was a programme by the Peninsula Hotel; and in the 6th paragraph that Lifestyle Academy was also affiliated with the Peninsula Hotel.