If reality is stranger than fiction, then you wouldn’t be surprised to know that the colourful characters featured in the pages of Singapore Tatler lead lives that truly embody that crazy rich Asian spirit. Calista Cuaca, Dick Lee and Peggy Jeffs look through their crazy, rich and Asian lens to dissect what fashion means to them. Cheryl Chan joins the clique.
Say the name Calista Cuaca and any millennial worth their weight in Instagram likes will be familiar with socialite Jamie Chua’s daughter. Better known as @xcalikins on Instagram, this social media superstar lives a privileged life, hitting the best parties in town, and always togged out in the coolest gear. And while this James Cook University marketing student boasts an enviable style, this is one fashionista who doesn’t believe in overhyped pieces, garish logos and head-to-toe designer looks.
DO YOU THINK MONEY CAN BUY STYLE?
No. A lot of people just buy the most expensive things or a shirt that shows the logo in a really obvious way. Maybe it’s just not my style, but I feel like that’s not fashion, that’s just showing off.
DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD BE LESS STYLISH IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE AS MUCH MONEY?
I don’t think so. I always wear clothes that make me feel confident. If I didn’t have money to buy something that I like, I’d find a cheaper alternative that’d still make me feel good wearing it.
IS LUXURY FASHION ACTUALLY GETTING WAY TOO EXPENSIVE?
Yes, in some ways I think it might be. But there are also many pieces where hours of hard work and craftsmanship go into them. They could be heavily embroidered and embellished or completely handmade by the artisans in the atelier, so they deserve to be priced that way.
DO YOU THINK HIGHER PRICES ARE A GOOD WAY OF ENSURING LUXURY FASHION REMAINS EXCLUSIVE?
Yes, this ensures that the items remain valuable and are not easily obtainable. So in that way, maybe it’s a good thing.
WHAT IS THE MOST EXPENSIVE ITEM YOU OWN?
My Richard Mille RM 037 watch, which was a gift from my dad.
DO YOU FIND THESE ITEMS WORTH PURCHASING?
Logo tees: Yes.
Designer Crocs: No, I can’t even walk in them!
Novelty purses: Yes.
Fur slippers: Yes! I love them.
A brick from Supreme: Yes, for the aesthetics.
Gowns you can only wear once: Yes, it’s great for special occasions!
HE DOESN’T CALL HIMSELF THE Mad Chinaman for nothing. A celebrated entertainment industry veteran, one must applaud Dick Lee for injecting an Asian flair and “Singaporean-ness” into everything he does, from music to fashion—and all with an intense passion for love and life. As someone who’s had a big hand in shaping Singapore’s fashion industry in the 1980s and ’90s, he shares with us his thoughts on the future of Asian fashion and where Singapore’s fate lies in it all.
WHY DO YOU THINK IT IS SO HARD FOR ASIAN DESIGNERS TO MAKE IT BIG GLOBALLY?
I do believe that Asian designers have taken off, but there are few and far between, and they’re all from Japan. Even Singaporean designer Andrew Gn has plateaued in terms of his visibility and popularity. But to answer the broad question, the fashion that we’re familiar with today is of a Western tradition. Historically, fashion stems from couture and that dressmaking from the West was way more superior that the quality in the East.
DO YOU THINK THERE IS A FUTURE FOR ASIAN FASHION?
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