Cover Beatrice Ho wears a Nicole + Felicia gown from The Wedding Gown and jewels from De Beers (Photo: Affa Chan/Tatler Hong Kong)

Asia's Most Stylish honouree Beatrice Ho talks to Tatler about owning her body, learning from strong female role models, and why fashion is so much more than just window dressing

Most Hongkongers do their power walks in exercise gear—a Lululemon outfit, perhaps, with trainers in varying shades of neon. Beatrice Ho has just returned from a brisk stride around Deep Water Bay dressed in a black crop top and long ruffled skirt, as well as a pair of three-inch-high Stella McCartney Sneak Elyse incline trainers.

This is unsurprising given that Ho doesn’t own a single pair of flats (nor, for that matter, jeans). “I own these Stella McCartney trainers and a pair of workout trainers—because honestly, what else can you wear to play tennis?” she says, laughing. “But everything else in my wardrobe consists of varying styles and heights of heels.”

Ho is the daughter of prominent businesswoman Daisy Ho, and she attributes much of her style to the powerful women of the Ho family, starting with her maternal grandmother, Lucina Laam.

“My late grandmother told me: you don’t know who you’re going to meet when you walk out of the house every morning,” she says. “Normally—when I don’t go on a walk—I try to have my hair and make-up done [before leaving home]. Every single day, you should look presentable at the bare minimum, and [preferably] have a dimension of flair in some way, so people will remember you. You want to stand out in a positive way.”

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One gets the sense that the balance between public perception and self-expression through personal style is something that Ho has honed over the years. The 27-year-old Princeton and Penn graduate has had her share of the limelight as the granddaughter of gambling tycoon Stanley Ho, not to mention growing up with her mother and her aunt, Pansy, both prominent businesswomen in Hong Kong. 

She refers to how the late fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld once said that his greatest luxury was not having to justify himself to anyone. “I agree with this sentiment completely. I believe that one’s body is not beholden to anyone because an individual should have confidence and complete autonomy over their own body,” she explains. “My style stems from what I think would best flatter my body, while accurately reflecting my personality and respecting the occasion I’m at.”

She adds that her personal style is all about timeless elegance. “I view myself as more of a Grace Kelly than a Marilyn or a Jacqueline. I’m more a classic kind of girl,” she muses. “I want to look back in 50 years and be proud of my choices, because while I want to be stylish and fashion-forward, ultimately I would pick what looks good on me as opposed to what everyone else is wearing; to me, that is what a stylish woman is.”

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Ho’s style has certainly evolved over the years. She remembers how, during her formative years, her aesthetic was “relatively predictable”. Inspired by her mother, whose favourite colour was pink, Ho embraced the hue with youthful enthusiasm.

“My mum recently reminded me that my old wardrobe had actually consisted of 90 per cent pink clothes,” she says. “As I entered my later teenage years, my style began to emulate the trends and outfits that I observed around me.”

Ho remembered how she fell in love with the “preppy, polished Ivy League aesthetic” when she went to university in the US, a style that she also loved on the character Blair Waldorf in the US drama series Gossip Girl. This aesthetic took the form of silk and chiffon collared blouses, sweaters and a healthy dose of tweed, which she would accessorise with a cape, poncho or gilet, and wear platform booties and pumps “to add character and charm”.

The ease with which she styles her outfits comes from an early understanding of the fashion scene. “I was blessed to be exposed to international luxury designers …  and was able to identify what I liked and disliked from a young age,” she says. She adds that while her scope has widened over the years, some things don’t change: “I have always loved bows, tulle, sequins, feathers and crystals, and I’ve stayed very loyal to that style.”

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Ho points out that while she has a distinct fondness for “all these different types of feminine embellishments”, she would also receive helpful and constructive advice from her Aunt Pansy, whose taste she has every confidence in.

“I trust [her] style, which is refined, sophisticated and timeless. She would tell me if something is a little too much. From a very young age, she really taught me what ‘beautiful’ really means,” Ho says. “They [Pansy and Daisy] also grew up in the limelight and they know what society deems beautiful and appropriate, but they’ll also be able to put a spin on it.”

Ho has come a long way from her predominantly pink wardrobe, a sartorial evolution that mirrors her personal growth; she believes the two are intricately tied.

“Deeming personal style and clothing as simply window dressing is reductive: creative and artistic visions can be manifested through various ways, and fashion-conscious individuals express their artistic expression through style,” she says. “Personal style, similar to one’s identity, is composed, constructed and honed by the society and culture that people are immersed in.” 

Most importantly, she emphasises how her style—her personal expression—is what brings meaning and happiness to her every day: “Fashion is my creative outlet,” she says. “[It allows me] to inject joy into otherwise mundane moments in life.” Perhaps it’s time we all tried a bit of power walking in her three-inch soles.

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  • PhotographyAffa Chan
  • StylingCherry Mui
  • HairWendy Lee at Wendy's Workshop
  • Make-UpWendy Lee at Wendy's Workshop
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