Meet The Real Crazy Rich Asians: Peggy Jeffs

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September 5, 2018 | BY Cheryl Chan

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. In this final story of a three-part series, we speak to none other than society maven, Peggy Jeffs

As a prominent society doyenne who’s a devoted headdress collector, Peggy Jeffs is one person who doesn’t believe in the word casual. Known for her striking and individualistic style (with an equally colourful personality to match), this former fashion boutique owner embodies the more is more ethos and would rather be overdressed than underdressed, even if she’s just popping out for a simple lunch.

A risk-taker who loves supporting under-the-radar and avant-garde designers, you’ll never spot this maximalist wearing the same thing as anyone else—even if she has to design it herself. Whether you would categorise her bold sense of style as quirky or “crazy”, one thing’s for sure, when it comes to fashion, this is one woman who isn’t afraid of being distinct. 

(Related: Meet The Real Crazy Rich Asians: Dick Lee)

While personal style is subjective, do you think having a crazier sense of style is automatically more interesting?
Peggy Jeffs (PJ)
I think it depends on the individual. I’m not a classic or minimalist dresser, so fashion and make-up to me are art forms. When I put my looks together, I need colour; I can’t just put on something that’s too plain and simple—that’s just not who I am as a person. Others might not dress the way I do or understand the way I look at things, but I just find these details much more interesting. I’m drawn to very unusual things.

How did you develop your own quirky brand of style?
PJ Even as a child, I would always dress up, so I don’t know anything different. It’s just the environment I grew up in. I can’t imagine my life if I was less quirky, and I think I’d be like this even when I’m 90 years old. I don’t know if it’s in my genes because when I looked at my grandmother, she was always dressed up even in her 70s. She would wear rings on every single finger and put flowers in her hair.

As someone who loves to be different, what is considered your normal when it comes to dressing up?
PJ 
Casual doesn’t exist in my book. I hate it when people would remind me, “Oh, it’s casual, just wear a T-shirt and jeans”. Just let me wear what I want to wear. First, I take into account the weather, and then I make sure everything matches, from my make-up to my outfit and accessories. And it’d have to be in loud colours or prints, and preferably in a long and dramatic silhouette. And then, I’d definitely accessorise with jewellery and a headpiece. Unless I just did my hair and don’t want to ruin it. 

(Related: Crazy Rich Asians: The True Story That Inspired The Best-Selling Trilogy)

What draws you to collecting the “crazy” pieces like hats, jewellery and statement pieces you have come to be known for?
PJ 
It’s my eye and interests that attract me to such pieces. I can’t get something that everyone has, it totally turns me off. Individuality and creativity excite me. At times, I prefer to design my own gown or headpiece, rather than buying it off the rack. I’d not take the risk of having another person wear the exact same piece at the same event. In fact, if I saw someone at an event in the same outfit as me, I’d go home and change.

Why do you think people are so afraid to be “crazy” and think out of the box with their fashion?
PJ 
They don’t think out of the box, they just want to be the same as that means that they are in trend. I think it’s also the character and the way you carry your style. You need to make sure you style something according to how it suits you, and not just blindly follow and purchase whatever is popular. You have to wear the clothes and not let the clothes wear you. I do think to be able to pull off quirky and interesting things, your personality has to match as well.

What is the craziest fashion piece you have ever worn? Is there anything that you would consider too crazy for even yourself to wear? 
PJ I can’t think of one. I’d wear anything, even a red feathered top. But I wouldn’t wear or design something crazy just for the sake of it. I must always be able to incorporate it into my wardrobe or ensure that it’s suitable for the dress code. I only wouldn’t wear a bikini or hot pants now just because it’s not suitable for my age, but I’d still wear something that’s bare-backed or low-cut. 

What do Peggy Jeffs, Dick Lee and Calista Cauca have to say about Singapore? Watch below to find out...

 

(Related: Meet The Real Crazy Rich Asians: Calista Cuaca)

Photography Darren Gabriel Leow
Styling Desmond Lim
Hair and Make-up Grego/Indigo Artisans, using Keune Haircosmetics Singapore and Parfums Christian Dior and Edward Aw and Cecilia Chng
Photographer's Assistant Eric Tan
Stylist's Assistant Joey Tan