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Hong Kong style tips

‘Anything goes’ for this Hong Kong fan of Issey Miyake, Etro, and Dries Van Noten, who’s mad about colours

  • You’ll struggle to find a white T-shirt in the wardrobe of Laura Cheung, founder of interiors boutique Lala Curio – she like colour, prints and patterns
  • Cheung loves shopping for vintage jewellery in flea markets around the world, but isn’t as passionate about shoes or bags
PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 January, 2019, 12:46pm
UPDATED : Monday, 07 January, 2019, 7:52pm

Laura Cheung, founder of Hong Kong interiors boutique Lala Curio, wouldn’t be difficult to spot in a crowd.

Her love for prints, patterns and sharp colours is patently evident from a closet that overflows with Dries Van Noten and Etro and is noticeably lacking in boring basics, whether practical layering pieces or functional sneakers.

Five fashion insiders open their wardrobes to share their styles

“I like colours a lot, I like patterns, I like mixing and matching textures ... And I like the spirit of anything goes,” she says.

A devotee of comfort, she’s a fan of loose and flowing silhouettes that are a constant whether she’s at work or working out, at a gala benefit or shopping at the supermarket.

 Cheung’s personal style  

“I like Etro, Dries Van Noten, Giambattista Valli, Ermanno Scervino. I like Marchesa too. I think the commonality is colour, texture and patterns. They are always inventive, innovative, not boring. Sculptural. I like Issey Miyake too for its sculptural, architectural silhouettes. I’m not the kind of person that chases brands for their name, I truly appreciate the creation and the making of all of it. When you’re paying for a certain piece, you need to see the craft that has gone into it.

“I’m super instinctive and very fast at making decisions on what I buy and don’t buy. The process of elimination is very fast. It just needs to speak to me. A little bit like my [hand-painted custom] wallpaper – I’m drawn to colours and a story. I almost feel like I walk around like a room vignette, I’m a piece of wallpaper or a velvet sofa and some crazy jewellery – that’s like the hardware. I’m a curtain!

“I feel like my style is pretty consistent. I don’t have a ton of very casual clothing because my decision is based on whether I really love the piece for the creation. There has to be something special. If there’s anything lacking in my wardrobe it would be basics. I have one white T-shirt, I can’t even find another one. Even my yoga trousers are colourful.

“I’m working on a yoga trousers project now. Possibly launching our own brand, using our wall graphics creations and somehow finding ways to apply them to fashion. Active wear is something we’re interested in, something I’m doing with my [LA-based] husband for my LA transition. I’ve been asked to do eye wear as well, but I said no because it doesn’t come naturally to me.”

Cheung’s treasure trove of jewellery

“I love coloured gems. I’m not a diamond person; my engagement ring was also a coloured gemstone. I love the rarity, I love the energy and the colours that come out, almost like the gem is alive, so you really see the colour changing. A very good friend of mine is an artist and a sculptor so she makes jewellery by moulding gold by hand, and I love her work.

I love my clothes. I love jewellery too. I don’t love my shoes or my bags.
Laura Cheung

“I’ve always loved chunky jewellery, I love gold, but in a very organic form, so the textures would be much more hammered rather than polished and smooth.

“I like it when things age naturally, so I don’t go out of my way to polish my jewellery because I think there’s a beauty in the ageing and I love period jewellery too and fashion accessories. I think they’re loud and fun and they are not real stones.

“I shop a lot at markets when I’m overseas. You never are in the right mindset in Hong Kong and flea markets don’t exist there. But when you’re travelling it’s so great, it’s like you’re in Mexico City and walking the markets and there are local artisans that make the most amazing handmade pieces with metal and semi- or non-precious stones. Or you go to Europe and you find Yves Saint Laurent or Chanel jewellery and it’s so awesome because the prices are good, it’s fun, and it’s also a collectible. That’s the beauty of it.”

The proudly ‘Made in China’ backpack that’s good enough for Rihanna

Preserving fashion

“Passing on to the next generation is a huge problem. I hoard things. I have problems throwing things out and I have things from college or even high school, I have sweaters that are still in my cabinet. I make a point of not trying to wear the same thing every day so I try to take them out sometimes (with great effort) but I don’t super take care of my things.

“My mother would have handbags in the same box [it came in] and everything is numbered and there’s a photo of it on the boxes and everything lives in boxes. For me, you buy something, I use it right away. I don’t care if it’s expensive or not expensive, whatever it is, it’s like if you don’t use it, then what’s the point of buying it. Who’s going to enjoy your museum of wardrobe? For who to look at?”

 Bags and shoes 

“I love my clothes. I love jewellery too. I don’t love my shoes or my bags. I feel comfort is the most important thing and I feel at my best when I feel comfortable, and beautifully designed shoes are very often uncomfortable. And I have to be practical, because it’s not exactly like I’m living a tai-tai life where I don’t have anything to do. Having a bag that fits all my gear is very important.

“I have the world’s heaviest bag. I have my laptop, documents, I have my yoga gear, my huge water bottle that weighs a ton, I have my lunch that I bring to work and a scarf so I don’t get cold. I have my vanity bag where I have very heavy things. Six pens, a measuring tape. So my bag is seriously heavy. And sometimes flat shoes if I need to walk fast.”

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The husband

“I dress my husband (pictured below with Cheung) and he should thank me. He should pay me for it! I changed him. I threw out all his American khaki [cargo] pants. He is very picky and goes out of his way to buy the sloppiest clothing by some very unknown designer that is actually crazy expensive and the piece looks like – aiyaah.

“It’s just a much sharper and more European silhouette now.”

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A post shared by Laura Cheung (@lalacheung) on Dec 25, 2017 at 1:18pm PST

Cheung’s beauty rules

Key point is that I have understood the evilness and crap that is inside most big brands for skincare so it’s super important for me to use something natural. So all my skincare is natural. I understand that some things like foundation or concealer are usually better when you use non-organic brands, thanks to whatever that chemical composition is.

“But the problem is that it really goes straight into your bloodstream, and I feel like when I’m trying to eat organic, skincare is something so close to you and your skin is your largest organ, and there’s really no reason why you should do that to yourself. So I try. It really helps to be in LA spending more time there, I realise this is something that is super advanced.

“I found my base – it’s an organic sun cream that’s tinted. But I haven’t found an organic eyeliner that works. I haven’t found an organic concealer that works. So one step at a time. All my lipsticks are organic. And the biggest part of your face is covered by base and that’s organic. Anyway, it doesn’t change your life at all, because you still look good, and you feel good too. You’re not putting crap in your body and you don’t have plastic on your face. It’s fantastic.”