This week’s That Girl is the super-stylish super-stylist Priscilla I’Anson of Electric Sekki. We take a nosey round Priscilla’s wardrobe, hear about her top shops for clothes-hunting and find out if she could be HK’s very own Rachel Zoe!
Can you tell us a bit about where you’re originally from and where you grew up?
I was born in Hong Kong to an Australian father and a Taiwanese Mother. I lived in Hong Kong ’til I was 15, then left for boarding school in Massachusetts.. followed by university in Sydney, Australia. Since I’ve lived all over the world and have a diverse background, I don’t really think that I’m “originally” from anywhere. I like to think that I’m a citizen of the world!
Where do you live? How have you made your home your own?
I’ve been extremely lucky to be able to live right near Hong Kong Park for most of my life; it’s fantastic to be able to walk through the serene green surroundings each day on the way to a meeting or a photo shoot. Living in Hong Kong, spaces are so small, so I’m extremely picky about staying organised, because when you’re living in such a cramped space, it’s important to maintain some semblance of order! Also, because we don’t have that much living space, I’ve turned many of my prized fashion possessions into “artwork”; that is, I display my shoes, bags, clothing out in the open to give the space a bit more character.
You make a living as a stylist and blogger – is this as great as it sounds? Are you Hong Kong’s answer to Rachel Zoe?
I could only dream of one day being as successful as Zoe! Yes, it is as great as it sounds, but only because I love what I do. I believe that if you spend every waking moment working towards something you love, no matter how hard you are working, you’ll reap rewards that are greater than if you were working fewer hours at a job that bored you.
About a year ago I started my own company, Style Regime, providing brand consulting, image strategy, digital & social marketing and styling services within the fashion and arts industries. Blogging for Electric sekki is great because it allows me to explore both my love of writing and my love of fashion. I studied economics at university, and while I enjoyed it, I figured if I’m going to spend 70% of the rest of my life at work, I might as well be doing something that I love. I worked really hard for several years at internships and entry-level jobs in the fashion industry to gain my industry ‘cred’ before starting my own business.
I knew from a young age that I wanted to do something creative with my life; during my teens I was very into drama and writing…. One thing that has always remained constant, however, is my love of fashion. The beauty of a well-made textile is enough to make my heart skip a beat. It’s the most accessible form of art, because you can live in it every day.
What is the big news in the Hong Kong creative community at the moment? Who should we be keeping our eye on?
One of the other projects that I’m working on is HKHQ.tv, which was created by my fantastically creative boyfriend, Boris Burgess. HKHQ.tv features fashion, arts and lifestyle videos. Since we moved to Hong Kong 18 months ago, we found that there wasn’t any outlet for budding creatives to explain their work to a wider audience. We also felt that many of the events websites failed to deliver an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the exciting fashion, arts and lifestyle events going on in the city.
It’s been such a rewarding project, as it’s opened our eyes to a tight-knit, supportive group of creatives in the city. Artistic types can often be really competitive and cutthroat, but above all, what we’ve found in Hong Kong is that the creative community here is encouraging of mutual talent. I wouldn’t say that there is one person in particular that we should be keeping our eye on but that, on a whole, look out for fresh young talent! There is a lot of it here in Hong Kong!
How do you describe your personal style? How does it evolve and change?
My personal style is very straightforward. I don’t do anything too complicated. I love printed silks, textured knits, lace and leather. My look is usually also somewhat tailored. Also, to keep my boyfriend happy, more often than not there’s a little bit of sexiness as well. In Hong Kong, that’s often looked down upon, but I’ve learned to ignore those more conservative opinions and feel confident in the clothes I wear.
I definitely used to be a slave to trends; I would try anything! Now I’ve found what suits me best, so I tend to work trends into my wardrobe based on the silhouettes that suit my figure. I love Dries Van Noten, No. 21 by Alessandro Dell’Acqua, Oliver Theyskens, Isabel Marant, Proenza Schouler, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Alexander Wang, Stella McCartney … There are many designers whom I admire, but I know their shapes just don’t work for me.
Where do you shop in Hong Kong? Any secret finds you can let us in on? Any labels we should be keeping an eye on?
One day, I turned up to my old work and saw three girls wearing the same Zara dress. I think that’s when it hit me that I needed to change my shopping habits. I wanted to stand out in a crowd, not blend in! I’ve started buying less in quantity and more in quality! Yes, I’m buying mostly designer now, but not for the label. It’s cut better, lasts longer, and won’t go out of fashion so quickly.
Nowadays, I’m almost anti-trend. I love buying vintage or going to the outlets in Ap Lei Chau. My favourite outlets in Ap Lei Chau are JOYCE and I.T, and of course I also love the Pedder Warehouse in Tung Chung. I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with buying off-season.
Often, I have dreams about a Balenciaga skirt I wish I could have afforded from FW09, only to go to the JOYCE outlet a couple weeks later to find it at 70% off. Sold! Some “fashionistas” wouldn’t be caught dead in an outlet because they don’t think it’s chic, but personally I think there is nothing more chic than finding a bargain at 90% off. Others can’t “do” outlet shopping because it’s a real mission to find the good stuff, but that’s what I love most about it! I’m a competitive shopper at heart.
I’ve also recently found an amazing vintage store on Stanley Street. I bought a gorgeous cream Chanel jacket with gold buttons for under $1,000, a Dolce & Gabbana lace suit for $900 and this Jil Sander SS10 floral print pencil skirt that I’ve been dreaming about for months for just $680. It’s definitely my new favourite store.
Another great thing to do is to make your own clothing. There are so many great tailors in Hong Kong. Whenever I go overseas, I like to buy fabrics and then bring them back and get them tailored; on my last trip to Bali I bought this beautiful navy patterned Balinese silk that I had made into a blazer. I get so many compliments on that jacket. And I love it when people ask me where they can buy it and I get to tell them that it’s one-of-a-kind!
What are your must-have beauty products? Where do you go for hair/nails/maintenance?
I am extremely low maintenance. I rarely get a manicure or a pedicure; I do it myself, if I do it at all. I never get my hair blown out, unless it’s getting cut. I’ll treat myself every once in a while to a good facial; usually after I’ve spent too many weeks in the sun and need to be exfoliated! I also don’t wear that much make-up, but I swear by Dior Show Blackout mascara and bright red Lady Danger MAC matte lipstick.
My mom always taught me that the most important thing is to take care of your skin! So, like a good daughter, I have followed her advice. Definitely, I spend the most money on a good moisturizer for the face. I swear by La Mer. It’s expensive, but it’s worth every single cent and a tube of that stuff seriously lasts forever!
What is your favourite thing to do at the weekend?
During weekends I love spending time with my boyfriend or family. I like to go to the beach if the weather’s good, and go for a walk along Bowen Road. In the afternoons I’ll usually get a magazine, buy a coffee and sit and read for a while. If it’s raining, it’s nice to go and see a movie, but Hong Kong never gets the movies that I want to see! On Sunday evenings, my mom cooks dinner, which is always delicious. I look forward to it each week.
What is your favourite restaurant in Hong Kong?
I love the tapas bar in Great, Pacific Place. I forgot its name (Ed – it’s called Estudio Ibérico!)! I love sushi at Sen-Ryo, but since my boyfriend isn’t a fan of Japanese food, I don’t get to have it often! Le Salon de The de Joel Robouchon in The Landmark has a well-priced selection of sandwiches; my favourite is the carrot and chicken baguette. I love the macaroons at Le Gouter de Bernardaud — Earl Gray tea is my flavour of choice. My favourite afternoon treat is tea at Café Causette in the Mandarin Oriental. Fuel definitely has the best coffee in town, and I love their pale green cups!
What is your favourite travel getaway? What must-haves do you always pack in your suitcase?
This year, I’ve been to Taipei and Koh Samui. They’re two of my favourites, but totally different. And Paris, of course! Taipei was fantastic; all I did was eat delicious food, but somehow didn’t end up spending much money at all. Love it when that happens. oh Samui is just paradise. Paris is best at the end of July, because that’s when the sales are on. There is nothing better than a Parisian fashion sale! Oh, that and Ladurée macaroons. Heaven!
You have to go out a lot as part of your job – how do you navigate the party scene in Hong Kong? Do you get a lot of hangovers?
I’m actually really good when it comes to drinking. It’s just a matter of knowing your limit, so I don’t have any problem in that respect. Actually, the biggest problem that I’ve had is that I’m incredibly shy, but attending events has forced me to be more outgoing and I’m gradually becoming more comfortable with unfamiliar crowds now.
Honestly, though, it does get a bit tired, the whole event scene. It’s mostly the same format, the same people, the same canapés even! However, I am so grateful to get invited and have the opportunity to meet some of my biggest heroes. I recently met Oliver Theyskens who, to me, is literally a fashion god. On Monday, one of the companies I work with, Electric sekki, managed British Fashion Council’s London Showrooms event in Hong Kong, and I met Mary Katranzou, whose prints I absolutely die for! I’m so humbled to be able to meet such inspiring people.
Fab photos of Priscilla by her boyfriend Boris Burgess of HKHQ.tv!
Check out the rest of our That Girls here!