Fashion Hall of Fame 2013: Let’s Talk Style

Fashion

April 11, 2013 | BY Dana Koh

When it comes to globetrotting, trendsetting and sniffing out fashion gems, Singapore Tatler's three newest inductees into its Fashion Hall of Fame, Sabrina Ault, Dimple Aswani and Linda Soo-Tan, walk the talk

LINDA SOO-TAN

This active fundraiser and homemaker never fails to dress up for the occasion, and is always perfectly coiffed, with a fascinator or flower in her hair

How would you describe your style?

Feminine, timeless and elegant. I like strapless, fitted, knee-length dresses or long gowns – it’s all about knowing how to accentuate your assets without being too flashy or trashy.

What do you love about the spring/summer fashion season?

It indulges my love for colourful ensembles, especially bright and bold dresses that, while keeping me on trend for the first half of the year, manage to serve as occasion-appropriate dresses for years to follow. For 2013, I’m most excited about anything with blooms, pops of emerald, a 1960s-inspired silhouette, and black and white contrasts. 

Tell us more about your latest acquisitions.

I’ve got a polka-dotted day dress that has a vintage feel about it with its sweetheart neckline and knee-length can-can petticoat – it’s playful yet sophisticated; a couple Nicole Miller dresses and a red Talbot Runhof dress for day; and a flowing Oscar de la Renta dress in tangerine.

How has your style evolved over the years?

It all comes down to adapting new styles without compromising my personal style, and wearing what makes me comfortable and confident. That means colourful dresses for day and sparkling – sequinned, metallic, embellished – outfits for evening, in different cuts and shapes. Zuhair Murad and Romona Keveza never disappoint.

What is your finishing touch?

Fascinators and silk orchids pinned on my hair are my signature accessories. I’ve been collecting them for years. I love statement-making jewellery, especially pieces inspired by botany and the wild. I love butterflies and I have them on Warutti brooches, a Sara Taseer ring and Chanel earrings; a Bulgari Serpentine bracelet; and even in the form of dazzling clutches by Judith Leiber.

Where do you shop?

Boutiques Pois and Tribeca are one-stop shops for me; they carry a wide range of designer gowns, dresses and separates. I rarely shop online, although my daughter Zeena, who studies abroad, sends me links to new online stores every once in a while. My favourite way to shop is to do it overseas. Besides Europe, one of my top destinations is San Francisco.

 

SABRINA AULT

A clotheshorse and mother to four-year-old Phoenix, she is the creative director of The Ault Group and Pangaea, and masterminds the club’s world-renowned themed parties

How would you describe your style?

Flashy, sophisticated and fun. I’m never afraid to try something new and tend to reach borderline outrageous for my theme parties. I am a nightclub owner after all! You can be whomever you feel like being that night, depending on your mood, and what a gift it is to be able to express this through fashion. From feathers and ball gowns to horsehair hats and rubberised corsets, the options for after-dark style should be theatrical, and I relish every moment of it.

What are your latest acquisitions?

Giuseppe Zanotti high heels are wardrobe essentials, and I call my latest pair “Pocahontas Punk” because of the juxtaposition of brown suede with gold studs and leather tassels. I’ve also bought a truckload of sweeping silk one-off dresses in decadent jewel tones by my newest discovery, local designer Zenchi. 

How do you tend to shop?

I shop constantly. My eyes are always peeled whether I’m rushing to the gym, meetings or events. My theory is if you’re always picking up pieces you like in advance, no matter how last minute an event is, you’ll always be ready. I shop in the moment, just how I live!

What are your style secrets?

I prefer to go with a one-off piece or pick a design by an unknown or emerging designer. Anything vintage totally does it for me, too. And as I am always in a rush, I tend to do my own hair and make-up instead of getting it done by someone else, as that saves me four hours. And lastly, arriving with a smile is always in style. 

What are some of your favourite accessories and why?

One-of-a-kind or handcrafted jewellery that I’ve collected from my travels. I love them for nostalgic reasons, as each piece represents the country I found it in. I’ve bought necklaces from South Africa, opal earrings from Peru, and one-of-a-kind handcrafted jewellery by Balinese designer Ozlem Esem of Jungle Tribe. So you can imagine how much baggage I generally have after a trip – I pack super light on vacation but sometimes end up with 10 times the amount of luggage on my return trip!

 

DIMPLE ASWANI

Her eye for good design isn’t limited to her adventurous fashion choices; the director of Royal Group Investments also contributes to the creative side of her family’s property development business

How would you describe your style?

It’s an elegant adventure. I’m willing to try anything stylistically, be it with my hair, make-up or outfits. However, whenever I discover something new or different, I always try and pair it with something a little more subdued, say a black top with bold printed pants. I love anything that features a fit-and-flare silhouette – it’s one of those classic styles that never goes out of style.

What are your favourite trends from the spring/summer 2013 season?

I love black-and-white stripes, and recently acquired a striped Fausto Puglisi flared dress that encapsulates this trend perfectly. I’ve also been leaning towards feminine pieces with bright, edgy accents, which is why I bagged a Peter Pilotto red sequin-embellished shift dress and a Preen navy blue dress with neon yellow accents. Make-up’s no different – last season’s bold lip has been replaced by bright eyes! 

Where do you shop?

I usually travel to London and Paris a few times a year for the bulk of my shopping. My personal shopper at Harrods emails me images of new pieces so I have an idea of what’s available before flying there. In Singapore, I shop at Pois at Ion Orchard, and Club 21 at Four Seasons.

What’s your ultimate shopping tip?

When I find something I like, I automatically plan an outfit around it – if it’s a skirt, I visualise the matching top and accessories. This helps me decide whether it’s worth buying and prepares me for when I’m getting ready in a rush. 

How has your style evolved over the years?

I’ve become more adventurous over the years. In the past, I was very hesitant to change my hair and make-up, but now I try new looks because that’s a statement in its own and elevates an outfit. Also, I was rather tomboyish as a teenager; I was mainly in jeans but always fashionably cool ones. I still remember donning a Jean Paul Gaultier pair! 

What’s your ultimate accessory?

Nothing comes close to a pair of diamond solitaire earrings. They go with everything! A strand of pearls is another classic piece, and it’s fun to incorporate that into current fashion looks for an unexpected twist of old and new.