Jeanette “Jan” Fisher was the first to recognise that stylish, ready-to-wear, Western-size garments had a local market. Born in 1889, in Mackay, in Australia’s Queensland, to Irish immigrant parents, Fisher came to Hong Kong in the late 1920s with her husband, Frank Tasman Fisher, a ship’s captain on the China coast run. The couple settled in Kowloon, and their daughters attended St Paul’s Convent School, in Causeway Bay. Widowed in 1935 – her husband lies buried in Happy Valley’s colonial cemetery – and with a family to support, she went into business. Before Vogue, her glamorous shop in Central’s Gloucester Building (where The Landmark now stands), European women relied on talented local dressmakers, who tended to produce similar designs. European or North American styles, made from dress patterns, were usually a season or two out of date, and a certain repetitive dowdiness epitomised the typical Hong Kong style. Vogue imported limited quantities, which – in a small town – dramatically reduced the possibility of someone else wearing the same dress to a party and made these highly priced garments even more coveted. With clothes ordered direct from Paris and New York, for Hong Kong’s fashion-conscious women a visit to Vogue was the next best thing to travelling to such places. Styles were only a month or so late; standing orders for regular shipments of “the newest thing” were sent by sea upon release. American shoes, handbags and accessories were also imported. “Ma” Fisher, as she was popularly known, was, her granddaughter Barbara Laidlaw remembered, “small in height, with a large bosom, short but slender legs, and an exaggerated ‘British colonial’ accent. Her hair was always dyed blond and swept up into a bun, with heavy make-up”. Turbans enjoyed a lengthy period in fashion in the interwar years and Fisher trademarked the style locally. Her younger daughter, Allison, explained to me a more practical consideration: Hong Kong’s humidity made even the best-tended coiffure quickly collapse. Turbans concealed the near-inevitable dank, lank mop that followed a long day’s work without air conditioning. Vogue was located across from Gripps, the city’s premier pre-war meeting place, in the Hongkong Hotel on Pedder Street, where Ma Fisher had afternoon tea most days, a shrewd opportunity to show off new arrivals to a wealthy older clientele, who were likely to pop in and buy something afterwards. Allison took over as a cocktail-hour mannequin, wearing eye-catching styles for younger women. Numerous Stanley internees recalled witnessing the perennially elegant Ma Fisher striding into the Japanese prison camp in 1942, wrapped in a fur coat, turbaned head erect, in high heels and silk stockings, and with her make-up – as always – immaculate. While it is easy to mock the apparent vanity, the bravery of someone who had set her own personal standard and insisted on maintaining it, come what may, in awful circumstances should not be derided. She was interned until 1945, with her older daughter, Kathleen Hume, and granddaughter Barbara. Allison – then married to American businessman Reg Owens – was repatriated to the United States in 1942, with her own daughter and other US internees. Ma Fisher reopened Vogue after the war, retired to Sydney in 1957, and died there in 1959. After a period living in Capri, Italy, Allison eventually returned to Hong Kong with her White Russian husband, Vladimir “Voy” Werner, and later managed Joyce, in Central, for many years. Notable – like her mother – for her recognisable personal style, she died in Hong Kong in 2011.