Interview

Interview with Chris

Today’s interview is with the lovely and talented Chris, who I was excited to interview because she has such a fresh, feminine and classic style. Chris is adorable, very accomplished (you’ll read soon about all that below) and has an incredible wardrobe. She’s also a big fan of one of my favorite brands from Australia – Collette Dinnigan! It was wonderful getting to know Chris some more – enjoy meeting her!

Lovely Chris

Who are you? What do you do, and where do you live? 

Hi, I’m Chris. I was born in Malaysia of Chinese descent, and grew up in Australia. I work and live in London. I am a mathematician working in risk management, for a global financial services company.

London finance can be a very “alpha” and male dominated environment. What have been your biggest career learnings thus far, and what would be your advice to anybody interested in pursuing that career path? 

Haha, yes I look at numbers most of the time. It involves building mathematical and statistical models as best we can, to model the business environment. From there, we try to quantify the risk in monetary terms so the company knows what its potential exposures to the various business risks are. But now I tend to review work rather than do any of the model building and number crunching myself.

I do work in a male dominated industry, my whole team consists of males except me, I am always in meetings with other teams and clients where I am the only female.  I accept that I am different, not because of my gender but because we are all individuals. I approach my work as a professional and doing it in a way I believe is right and most efficient. I am fortunate that in general that I believe am treated well and get along with my colleagues and my bosses. Having said that, I am not the sort of person who can be intimidated easily by anyone and I always stand up for myself. My big boss used to say to me, ” Chris, you have no fear of authority.” I responded, “Well why should I fear? I believe in myself and can support my opinions and conclusions with solid work.”

My advice really is not to think too much – if at all – about gender differences, when you find yourself in a male dominated world. The reality is that we are all individually different. I just focus on doing it my way and also believe in my abilities.

Chris’s evening looks

How would you describe your style? What’s a typical day look for you, and night look? 

I would like to think my style is fun, carefree, careless and chic – almost always randomly put together on the spot. I don’t really plan what I wear from one day to the next. It usually depends on what is ironed and look presentable (…I am someone who constantly has 6 months worth of ironing piled up in my cupboard..!) and being in London, the weather plays a big part in what I wear on a daily and which bag I carry!

Chris’s casual looks (with some lovely VCA Magic Alhambra necklaces)

My style has gone from one extreme to the other as I got older …it has also been influenced by my complete change in lifestyle. I moved from Melbourne ,where I had a car and drove everywhere…to London, where I walk everywhere or take public transport and don’t have a car! When I was younger and living in Melbourne, I always went for the dressed up tailored fitted look and skyscraper heels, aka Victoria Beckham. But now I prefer simple casual ALL the time, unless I have formal events to go to. On weekdays, I am at work – so in suits, shirts and simple shift dresses paired with pumps.I love classy elegant shoes. Here are some that I love.

Some of CC’s shoes

On weekends, I’m casual always, unless we have dinner at a restaurant with a formal dress code. Anything goes: colours, neutrals, matchy matchy or even clashing!

For formal events such as weddings, engagement parties, company events, etc, I love my tailor made cheongsams from Shanghai, and also my Collette Dinnigan dresses, with my Giuseppe Zanotti or Manolo heels.

 Blue Paon HAC 32, Black Box Kelly 32, Vert Clair Kelly 28, Orange Kelly 25, Pink Lindy 30, Birkin 35 in Capucine and Etoupe

You have a lovely Hermes collection in a great array of colors and styles. Can you share some more about your collection, and some of your favorite pieces?  

My favourite bags? Hmm…gosh I love them all. Everytime I rotate, I feel like I have a new bag.

My first Hermes bag was the Hermes Evelyne in Rubis…I have always liked the Evelyne. As soon as I could afford it, I bought it.   Then I saw someone carrying an orange Lindy in Hermes Singapore, and I went on a mission to search for one. Now I have three Lindys, all in size 30. I was hooked from that point on and the rest was history as they say! I love Hermes enamels, Clic-Clacs, leather bracelets, Twillies and shawls too. My current loves are my Concours D’Etriers shawls. Spectacularly colourful and beautiful.

What items from your wardrobe do you wear the most? 

I love rose gold, and I wear my my Van Cleef rose gold Perlee clover diamond bangle and my Piaget rose gold diamond watch most days. And lately my Hermes shawls too as it hasn’t been much of a summer this year in London!

What are some of your favorite luxury and high street brands to shop at? 

My favourite luxury brand now is Hermes. I used to love the Blugirl range from Blumarine. And I still love Collette Dinnigan  I have bought other brands in the past: Louis Vuitton, Bottega Veneta, Chanel etc..but none were my favourites. I also favour clothes that have Asian designs and influences.

My favourite high street store brands are all Japanese: Uniqlo and Muji being the two available in London. I buy them when I visit Japan or Hong Kong. Japan is my favourite holiday destination, I love Japanese food and culture.

Chris with her Rose Tyrien Evelyne and beloved Concours D’Etriers shawl

Was Hermes your first “luxury brand” love? What was the first item you bought? 

Yes, Hermes is my first and only luxury brand love. I buy other brands too but I don’t love them as I do Hermes. My first Hermes item was a pair of Oran sandals when I had a shoe obsession many years ago. I have many pairs of shoes, some still unworn after many years, and I have a reached saturation point with my collection. Not many shoe designs interest me these days, I am not a fan of platforms which are all the rage these days.  I just bought my first Chanel ballet flats since CC are my initials!

My first Hermes bag was my Rubis Evelyne which I have used and abused and it still looks pretty good! I don’t baby my Hermes bags, they are meant to be used and reflect my lifestyle. The only Hermes bag I am extra careful with is my black box Kelly, I just don’t carry it in the rain!

If you could do your Hermes collection all over again starting from the beginning – what would you do differently? 

That’s a difficult one. It really was, and still is, trial and error to find out which bag/bracelets/scarf/shawl works and which doesn’t. But thankfully, given their eye for design, colour and quality and also thoughtfulness in the things they create, Hermes works for me most of the time.

Anyway I would have liked certain colours in my collection for the bags – Vert Fonce, Vert Veronese, Vert Bronze and Rouge H and Rouge Garance…colours that are either rested or gone for good. I would like to have given more consideration to the reputable resellers – for example Haute Gallery and Kaleidoplace to get the the older colours. But hey, I was a newbie, am still relatively a newbie, so  bought all my Hermes from Hermes directly except for my Blue Paon Chevre HAC and Vert Clair Courchevel Kelly!

Chris with her favorite Hermes shawls

Can you share a piece of advice about shopping/style/choosing the right items that you’ve learned the hard way over the years?

It is way more economical to buy the one expensive piece that you love and will use a lot, rather than buying cheaper alternatives that end up not being used and sitting in the closet for years, in order to feel less guilty about spending so much money on one piece. However this is easier said (with the benefit of hindsight!) than done.

What percent of your items do you buy on sale, vs. full price? 

Most of my clothes and shoes purchases are sale items except for Hermes and Van Cleef.

Chris with her pink Lindy

Can you share a piece of life advice that you’ve taken to heart over the years?  

Life is too short to care about what other people say or think about you and your actions/decisions/choices in life. I am fortunate to have lived in countries where I am free to live my life the way i want and therefore I will do just that!

I also strive to be humble, and not be judgemental. I tend to get judged a lot based on my appearance. I eat a lot, eat what I want, don’t exercise and don’t put on weight and I have received a lot of unpleasant comments like, “Oh I am sure she doesn’t eat”, or “You must spend all your free time in the gym right?” from strangers, acquaintances and colleagues who don’t know me well.  I have always been slim but most importantly healthy. I rarely ever get sick. I think people should be more accepting that we are diverse in our genetic make-up. It really annoyed me to no end when I was younger, now I just smile and eat my cake! So I try strive not to judge people in the same way.

Beautiful evening looks

Finally – please share something surprising about yourself! 

I love to sleep! I think that’s the secret to being healthy and looking youthful and probably helps with staying slim too!

I also look grumpy all the time so people who don’t know me sometimes think that I am scary because of the unsmiling expression on my face. But once they get to know me well, they are rather surprised that I am so easy to get along with and am a rather funny person. I have heard this from many close friends of mine!

 

The last part made me laugh because I have had a similar problem – except unfortunately, people tend to think that I’m a ditz (possibly accurately) based on what I’ve been told is a very clueless look on my face a lot of the time. In fact, I was particularly infamous for an incident in college when one day walking down the street in Berkeley, a bus driver actually took the time to call out, “Hey lady! Are you lost??” ….anyway

I really enjoyed Chris’s interview – she just wears color so beautifully and has so many lovely colors in her wardrobe – something I really admire. It’s clear that Chris is not only stylish with a killer wardrobe but incredibly intelligent and accomplished. Thank you Chris for sharing some of your life with us today – and I hope you all enjoyed meeting her as much as I did!

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  • Tabitha
    August 1, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Chris, if you are out there, where did you get the two dresses in the second photo? They are utterly beautiful.
    And Katherine, once again you found a brain box, I wish I had stuck in at school instead of staring out the window all day.

    • Katherine
      August 1, 2012 at 8:04 am

      Tabs I will pass your question along to Chris 🙂 And I was laughing at the Brain Box comment!

      • Katherine
        August 1, 2012 at 2:51 pm

        OK: The cheongsam’s that you like are made in Shanghai (pic number 2 and 6)…

        The evening dresses in number 10 are Collette Dinnigan, with coat from Topshop 🙂 Hope that helps!

        • Tabitha
          August 3, 2012 at 7:22 am

          Darn – no Shanghai trip on the horizon, they are so lovely.

  • chocolatecookiesandcandies
    August 1, 2012 at 7:47 am

    I can certainly identify with her. There’s a small community of ex Malaysians who grew up in NZ or Oz and now settle down in the UK. We’re a little too westernized to fit back into Malaysia and perhaps too easternized to completely assimilate into our adopted country but the main thing is to keep the balance between the two cultures.

    A woman after my own heart! Hermes! I’ve been wearing my Hermes shawls thanks to the crappy summer we’re getting. It’s hard to love another bag after owning a Hermes. They’re just so beautifully made and lasts for generations. She’s got fabulous style and a woman who marches to the beat of her own drum. What a sound advice!

  • foodfashionandflow
    August 1, 2012 at 8:11 am

    Great interview and WOW does she have amazing style. Such an amazing shoe and Hermes collection.

  • adele
    August 1, 2012 at 8:41 am

    What a stylish lady!
    Happy Wednesday Hun xoxo
    http://www.intotheblonde.com/
    Vote intotheblonde BEST LIFESTYLE BLOG in the Cosmo Blog Awards 2012!
    http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/blog-awards-2012-vote

  • Ines
    August 1, 2012 at 8:58 am

    I love her style! I definitely find it hard to wear high heels in Montreal where the majority of the workforce take public transit and a lot of the streets are on a hill or cobblestoned. Also, I drive a manual transmission car and I can’t exactly push the clutch while in pin/stiletto heels!

  • Miss K
    August 1, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Wow, an interview I truly enjoyed reading. She has an amazing handbag and clothes selection. Most of all I like her attitude towards life. She’s right when she says that one shouldn’t care too much about other people’s opinions. I fully agree and live my life the same way.

    • Katherine
      August 1, 2012 at 1:08 pm

      Yes! I love her no nonsense way of living – I need to adapt that more 🙂

  • Elle from Elle's picturebook
    August 1, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Great interview and pics – VCA & Hermes together are magical!

    http://www.mstylepicturebook.blogspot.co.uk
    (H & VCA blog)

  • Alice
    August 1, 2012 at 9:53 am

    I love how Chris’s answers reflect such a strong, no-nonsense approach to life! Her wardrobe is impressive but I’m even more impressed by her character!

  • latkesanddimsum
    August 1, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Such a fun interview, Kat! Thank you for posting 🙂

  • K
    August 1, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Katherine, I love it when you interview women who have earned the money to buy their Hermes and Arpels themselves. Please do more of them 🙂

    • Katherine
      August 1, 2012 at 1:50 pm

      I will try! 🙂

  • Ella Pretty Blog
    August 1, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Such beautiful bags and shoes! Loved her thoughts on the benefit of sleep – I totally think it affects your metabolism and youthfulness…am now determined to sleep even more 😛

  • phiphis blog
    August 1, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    another fantastic interview – CC is such a strong and amazing woman. i love these interviews that highlight such inspirational women. (and their gorgeous collections!) thank you! xox P

  • L.
    August 1, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Dear Katherine,
    Another “killing” interview, lovely to know a bit more about Chris.

    Chris:
    I loved the part you said that we should don’t care about what people think about us. In my case, I was battling depression and I heard all sorts of blind advices. People used to say that I was being picky, ungreatful, weak….all sorts of nonsense. I’ve got loads of weight, always been petite size and I was using medium to large size. People just bother to say how fat I looked and that I should stop eating this much.
    I learned the hard way that people just like to talk and give unasked advices to other, when the last thing we want to hear it’s a damn advice. Congrats and more success…

    L.

    • Chris
      August 2, 2012 at 12:51 pm

      Hi L, I hope you are well now and yes trust yourself. No one knows you better than you! And thank you for your kind words.

  • Jess
    August 2, 2012 at 3:55 am

    Hey Chris! If you are reading this, what shoes are the patent purple ones with gold embellishments in the back in the middle of picture number four? They are so gorgeous!

    • Chris
      August 2, 2012 at 11:59 am

      Hi Jess thank you. the shoes are from Louis Vuitton a few seasons ago.. the gold bit is the LV lock!

      • Katherine
        August 2, 2012 at 2:26 pm

        Thank you for answering! <3

      • Jess
        August 6, 2012 at 9:56 am

        Thank you! I hope they will make shoes like that again in future seasons:).

  • Nicole
    August 2, 2012 at 7:02 am

    Hi! I really like your blog, your photo’s and content you post are just so great! I really hope we get to know each other as I will be visiting your blog often! Feel free to stop by my blog! I just started it yesterday :). Love your purses!!! Soo lucky :).

    Ziqqua.blogspot.ca

  • Chic 'n Cheap Living
    August 3, 2012 at 7:20 am

    I love how she sticks by her guns! If you know you’re right and can back it up, it makes such a difference (though I would say, the message should still be measured, depending on your audience!) She has such beautiful pieces and I am agreeing with her philosophy of buying a few, beautiful pieces!

    xoxo,
    Chic ‘n Cheap Living

  • Lili
    August 3, 2012 at 8:06 am

    she is gorgeous! love her style!

  • KT
    August 6, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Love this interview. Chris has an amazing collection of bags and I adore her evening style (esp that body hugging white dress!).

  • PSCLY
    August 7, 2012 at 4:10 am

    Oh wow, I would love to have a collection like hers too in the near future but I think I would purchase other brands as well. Love her style — so elegant, feminine, and classy.

  • arv
    August 20, 2012 at 11:59 am

    she’s not that skinny

  • JJ
    August 20, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Thank you for another wonderful interview. Chris is a lovely and classy lady. I love her effortless casual style. As for what she does for a living, can we say impressive? 🙂

  • Anonymous
    March 19, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    Hi Katherine,

    You have a wonderful blog which marries depth and breadth beautifully. The cheongsams are lovely and I was wondering if you are able to reach out to Chris and have her disclose the name and contact details of her tailor in Shanghai? Also, congratulations on your pregnancy.

  • Melody K
    March 19, 2015 at 11:51 pm

    Apologies, above anonymous poster was me – forgot to insert my name and email address.