Interview with Hem

Today’s interview is with Hem, who has a fabulous collection of Balenciaga and designer goods in general – from clothes to shoes and to jewelry. Add to that some great photography skills – along with a penchant for labeling her photos with helpful captions (be still my heart..I love a good, informative captioning) – and you have a fabulous interview subject. So here we go – enjoy meeting the lovely Hem!

First things first – who are you? What do you do, and where do you live?

Hi! I’m Hem, a Filipino-Chinese born and raised in Manila, Philippines. My Dad is Fukinese and my Mom is Cantonese.ย  I am an interior designer by profession, a photographer by passion, and a manager at our family owned chain of restaurants.

You have a great Balenciaga collection. I’d like to ask when you got started – and why you got hooked?

It all started February of 2010. I was looking hard for a leather bag that wasn’t stiff and structured. I have been a Prada girl for the longest time and was getting weary of their collection. So I was on the hunt with a mission… then I came across Balenciaga. That slouchy piece of leather that smelled oh so good – that was what got me hooked.

What was your first b-bag purchase…and where is that bag today?

The 2010 Classic Black regular hardware Velo was my very first B-bag, and she is still very much in my collection. My eyes twinkle every time I use or see her.

What are some of your favorite and most used items?

I love anything comfortable, be it clothes or shoes. I love tunic or bohemian inspired tops, paired with skinny jeans or leggings and boots or sandals. I never leave the house without a watch, a pair of diamond stud earrings and solitaire necklace, my wedding ring and my Cartier Love bracelet. Most of the time I reach for my B-Bags to match or complement my outfit.

What is an item that you were crazy over and loved – and now you wish you hadn’t bought?

I can’t think of a particular brand or item I regret purchasing. I used to love Prada bags though, but I would not say I regret purchasing them ๐Ÿ˜‰ They do bring back happy memories.

What are some other items and brands you collect? What’s a holy grail item you’d like to have one day?ย 

These are the items or designers I adore…

For bags: Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Celine, Proenza Schouler, Chloe, YSL, Goyard, Mulberry and Givenchy.

For watches: I like Cartier, Bvlagari, Rolex and Technomarine.

For jewelry: I love anything with diamonds, Pandora and Tiffany and Co.

Shoes: Balenciaga, Tod’s, Car Shoe, See by Chloe.

My holy grail item? I would like to own a Panerai watch some day.

What brands do you personally find are overpriced?ย 

I believe all designer items are overpriced. However, if we can afford them and love them, price should not be a deterrent. My motto is, “Only purchase something you love and will use”.

What fashion items do you splurge on – vs save on?

I splurge on bags, jewelry and watches, shoes and leather jackets. I save on: clothes.

I would love to hear some of the fashion/style/budgeting advice that you’ve had to learn over the years…that you can share with us…!

I love clean lines, cottons and linen fabrics. Anything comfortable I will purchase. Function and beauty goes hand in hand in my book.

I usually accentuate my wardrobe with my bags, a scarf, a nice belt or leather cuffs. It’s good to experiment once in a while outside your comfort zone, but not to get carried away with what’s “in” at the moment and end up buying something that only sits in your closet.

I think it is best to accentuate your assets and hide your imperfections. Classic clean cut lines on clothing makes a good fashion statement too. It’s important that the cutting and fit flatter your body type.

I believe in purchasing at least one designer bag and a watch. Quality over quantity.

Finally – tell us something surprising about yourself!

I have always been perceived to be the girl next door type, but deep inside I’m more of the boyish type. Someone who you think you would never encounter in an Aikido Dojo. I love to drive around and go and road trips and secretly wished to be an F1 driver.

I totally think Hem has the makings of an F1 driver! ๐Ÿ™‚ Okayย I really can’t stop staring at that last photo of the Celine bag collection – I think I may have added another few bags to my lust list. Thank you so much Hem for sharing your beautiful collection and impeccable taste with us….and have a wonderful Wednesday, everybody!

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  • Anna
    October 5, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    What an incredibly successful and inspiring woman!! I really didnt need any new obsessions that would chew up my money but you may have a partner in crime in me now as I too fell in love with those Celine bags (& the Balenciaga's as well) .. My mouth dropped at her collection. Its almost every girls dream. Thanks for sharing her story ๐Ÿ™‚

    Anna xo

  • homestilo
    October 5, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    I really like how casual she seems to keep the rest of her wardrobe. Really showcases the accessories as fabulous accents..Also love the collection of flats!

  • Lindsay
    October 5, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Man, I love your interview series. It's so insp/aspirational! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Chocolate, Cookies & Candies
    October 5, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    I've never been into Balenciaga bags but after look at Hem's collection, I'm starting to crave for one too. I've been drooling over her Celine and PS1 bags as well as the jewelry!

  • Chocolate, Cookies & Candies
    October 5, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    I've never been into Balenciaga bags but after look at Hem's collection, I'm starting to crave for one too. I've been drooling over her Celine and PS1 bags as well as the jewelry!

  • amy b.s.
    October 5, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    wow. what i wouldn't give for some extra money lying around. those bags are beautiful!

  • The.Red.See
    October 5, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Wow what an amazing collection. Great interview!

  • Kiwi's Fashion Blog
    October 5, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    What a great interview!! Now I feel like "bag" is more real ๐Ÿ˜‰ I enjoy her collection and pics very much. Thank!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • makeupandpearls
    October 5, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    amazing bag wardrobe!

  • skippysays
    October 5, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    God Katherine you always have the best interviews! Beautiful photos, loved this post!

  • mai
    October 5, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Love Balenciaga bags.
    And, oh my god. That is quite a collection of designer items. My eyes were getting wider and wider as I scrolled down, lol.

  • azu
    October 5, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Beautiful bags! This was a great interview. Definitely drool-worthy pictures ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Mary Ann
    October 5, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Love all these interviews, thanks!!

  • audrey marie
    October 5, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    i need a new bag – i think mulberry and proenza are on the top of my wish list.

  • bohemianbones
    October 5, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    omg, Ive never seen anyone with a collection of bags like this, in fact she collects everthing!!!!
    she could give me a bag =) lol

    October 5, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    wow…that's quite the collection!

  • Annemarie @ Brunch at Saks
    October 5, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    What a gorgeous collection! I am loving her Lanvin flats especially! xx

  • Make Mommy Chic
    October 6, 2011 at 1:41 am

    Katherine, you knocked it out of the park with this one. What a great interview, and gorgeous photos. I have yet to see a collection that gorgeous for balenciaga (except, at the stores themselves). Still drooling over here about the Celine's as well. Your interviews make hump day so much brighter!

  • Rod and Alex - aka: "Rolex"
    October 6, 2011 at 1:47 am

    Color me jealous! Great collection! Love the handbags!

  • stylish with a budget
    October 6, 2011 at 1:49 am

    wow…the bag collection was very impressive!! and love that leather jacket.

  • La Professionnelle
    October 6, 2011 at 5:16 am

    OMG the black jacket is stunning! It is officially my first tweet!! ๐Ÿ˜‰


  • Sarah
    October 6, 2011 at 5:37 am

    Oh my all the different color bags are gorgeous!

    Dont forget to enter my $50 La Posh Style giveaway!

  • Katrina
    October 6, 2011 at 5:44 am

    Loving the rainbow collection!

  • BeTwin Us
    October 6, 2011 at 6:00 am

    Thatโ€™s quite a collection!!! Iโ€™m also tempted about having a Balenciaga bag! Amazing stuff loved them all! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    BeTwin Us

  • Polka Princess
    October 6, 2011 at 6:22 am

    Oooh! Her collection of all those designer bags & Tod's Loafers is just GORGEOUS!!! <3

  • audrinajulia
    October 6, 2011 at 7:59 am

    These collections of her is any girls wanted.Love the rainbow Balenciaga, her collection of flats and tiffany! Very inspirational and put a smile in my face while reading. After reading your weekly inspirational interview I told to myself by next year I will only splurge one bag that will last for years and will be inherit by my two daughters, maybe a Chanel or Balenciaga. Thanks always for your informative post, hope to read more info and tips.God bless!

  • The doll on fashion
    October 6, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Wow what a collection! Thanks for sharing.

    The doll on fashion

  • Chic 'n Cheap Living
    October 6, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    oh my the colors, the selection – I love them all! She has such a great range from Celine to the B bags! Thanks for the interview! What is her blog again? I was also intrigued because I know a ton of Chinese Filipinos now!

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  • Veronica of Best of Palm Beach Consignment
    October 6, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Wow, wow and wow. Her collection is beyond. Loving the B-bags and the Mulberries. Love her shoes too. Le sigh.

  • Paige Andy
    October 7, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Wait..could I be any more obsessed with those two-toned flats? Too perfect.

  • Trips & Treasures
    October 7, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    enjoy reading your blog !

    This designer collection is crazy, I would be very happy if I would have a fraction of the stuff she has. I personally don't see the point of having that many Balenciagas, but if you can afford it, why not ?

  • Trips & Treasures
    October 7, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    enjoy reading your blog !

    This designer collection is crazy, I would be very happy if I would have a fraction of the stuff she has. I personally don't see the point of having that many Balenciagas, but if you can afford it, why not ?

  • Lydia
    October 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Another great interview. I'm drooling over her collections! Fabulous!

  • The Blonde @ Stylish3
    October 14, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Another great interview! I can't believe her handbag collection. I wish she'd included a picture of how she stores them all… they must have their own closet!