Cover Zeman wears a dress by Cecile Bahnsen (Photo: Affa Chan)

Tatler showcased the most fashionable individuals from Hong Kong on the recently revealed Asia's Most Influential: Style list, and we spoke to Melinda Zeman about how her daring fashion phases moulded her bold choices today

Melinda Zeman’s fine jewellery brand Boochier stands out for the right reasons. Her emphasis on colour and playfulness appears at first sight to play the trendy debutante, but upon closer inspection takes on a modern approach to happiness, memory, and nostalgia. The half-Chinese, half-Ghanaian mother of four is known to meld East and West in her designs, and her personal looks encapsulate that of the woman hitting checkout on Boochier: a fashion-forward individualist who’s as enamoured by story as she is with style.

See more: These Are The Most Stylish People in Hong Kong in 2021

1. How would you describe your personal style?

I love experimenting. I remember I used to be obsessed with cowboy hats when I was in high school and used to walk around in cowboy hats on the weekend. I also went through a phase where I was obsessed with traditional Chinese clothes. I’m probably not as daring these days because my kids would never let me get away with it, but I do like to mix and match more classic pieces with slightly unusual or extremely colourful pieces that most people wouldn’t wear. We live once, so why not have fun? 

2. What’s a fashion Instagram account you’re currently obsessed with?

I’m currently obsessed with @susiebubble. She is such a mood lifter and has such a unique sense of style. Her style is colourful and so tasteful. She knows who she is, what her style is and full embraces it. It's so genuine—and I think that is a characteristic that we value now more than ever. I also love @tinaleung. She makes looking cool so effortless, is so good at accessorising and is so chic. 

3. What is your favourite fashion memory and why?

I think my favourite fashion memory was probably the first time I met Rihanna. She was wearing a black and gold Versace bomber jacket with matching leggings and just looked so sophisticated, cool, loud and elegant all at once. She looked so confident and so in charge and yet so relaxed. It's such an unusual combination but that’s how I felt at the time. I’m really into early 00s fashion, where everything was about loud prints, bright colours and matching tops and bottoms, so that was a really iconic moment for me.

4. What is an item in your closet that holds a lot of sentimental value?

Probably a small white onesie that my mom knitted for me when I was born. It’s quite simple but to me it holds so much sentimental value.

5. What is the most unusual item in your closet?

A metallic snakeskin print jumpsuit that I had made for my husband’s birthday party a few years ago.

6. What is a fashion faux pas you’ve committed that still makes you cringe?

Probably the cowboy hat phase that I mentioned earlier. I’m so proud of my younger self for being so daring and confident enough to experiment with accessories that no one else around me would ever wear, but it also makes me cringe a little at how embarrassing that was.

7. What’s something you wish you could change about the fashion world?

For inclusivity to be the norm and not the exception. For curvier models to be the norm and not to be labelled "plus size models". It’s bittersweet because at the same time you want to celebrate seeing people of different sizes and ethnicities represented in campaigns and yet it's sad that it's still not the norm and that it's a cause for celebration to begin with.

8. What’s something you would never wear?

I’m personally not a fan of wearing fur.

9. There’s a fire and you can only save one item in your closet—which would be it?

That is such a tough choice but probably a tie between my wedding dress and a white Valentino dress I bought a few years ago that has the most flattering and amazing cut. It makes absolutely anyone look good.

10. What’s an item on your wish list right now?

This intricate beaded metallic leopard print Gucci cape that I saw at one of their recent events. I have absolutely nowhere to wear it to but it was just too fabulous for words.

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