Cover Master marketeer Peter Cheung has amassed an eclectic designer wardrobe over the years. (Photo: Affa Chan)

Tatler’s man-about-town opens his designer wardrobe and shares the stories behind his favourite pieces from his collection—from his Piaget watch to film memorabilia

I have always been a slave to fashion. I collected clothes from a young age and spent years working for some of the world’s most illustrious fashion houses. I have amassed a sizeable collection—my wardrobes and storage spaces were bursting until they underwent a recent edit where I gave away or sold numerous pieces. In the process, I rediscovered clothing and accessories that have special meaning to me, and also found many brand new pieces that I haven’t got around to wearing yet. Here are some of the most precious pieces from my wardrobe that I love, have sentimental value, I’ve yet to even wear, or that I will keep forever.

I’ll never shed this

When I worked at Dior between 2000 and 2008, I became quite friendly with John Galliano—then creative director of womenswear. After one of his Paris Fashion Week shows in the early 2000s, I was told to go to the boutique the next day because John had selected something special for me. I went to the boutique and out came this incredible, one-of-a-kind python trench coat. It’s a wonderful thing that I will definitely keep forever because it reminds me of John and it really makes a statement. I’ve worn it maybe three times—the last time was on a second date with someone (I won’t name names) and I did it as a test. If this person could fully accept me wearing this python coat then we’d be off to a good start. It went well. Why waste time? We’re all busy people!

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Happy times

My Piaget watch was a birthday gift from my mom about 15 years ago. She really influenced my style of jewellery because she used to pick me up from school and take me to her favourite jewellery shops. She taught me a lot about jewellery at a young age. She nonchalantly gave me this watch at my birthday lunch and I was completely blown away. It’s something that I definitely will keep forever. I was lucky that she gave me a lot of jewellery, but this watch was something very special.

Sparkle stepper

I love glam rock. And Louboutins, of which I have many. What I love about these Huston boots is that the sequins are two-sided. So you can brush the sequins one way and it’s all silver, and when you brush them the other way, they show a camouflage pattern. Of course, the heel helps; it props you up a little bit. I wear them a lot—usually when going to dinner. I go all black on top and let them go “kebang!” on the bottom.

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The emperor’s new clothes

When I was deputy director of public relations at Sotheby’s, there was a charity auction of all the costumes from Yonfan’s movie Peony Pavilion. In the post-handover era especially, there were a lot of Chinese dress-up parties, so I’ve got a lot of wear out of this emperor costume. It’s all silk and very elegant, and when I wear it, people see it’s very special. You wear your own trousers underneath and it comes with a costume Jade amulet. I feel very “Puyi, the last emperor” when I wear it and carry myself differently. Instead of a traditional get-up, I spark it up with some crazy sneakers.

Precious flower

I have a beautiful relationship with Van Cleef & Arpels. This is a very special piece called Rose de Noël made from black mother-of-pearl and diamonds. Van Cleef & Arpels pieces are very expensive, so I had to save my money and buy something that I would really love and that would be wearable. I purchased this back in 2015 and it’s amazing how much wear I get out of it. It’s so easy to wear, even in daytime (it doesn’t have to be a black tie thing) on a jacket lapel. I always get compliments. I have referred a lot of sales for men: friends go to the boutique and say “I saw Peter wearing this brooch.” It’s very signature Van Cleef & Arpels and is instantaneously recognisable, so it attracts lots of attention.

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Dress to impress

The wonderful sales team at Joyce boutique have been my friends for over 30 years. Carol, the sales associate I’m closest to, always pulls out pieces for me and says, “Peter, you should have a look at this.” About ten years ago, she showed me this Rick Owens man gown. Even for me, it is really out there. I’ve worn skirts but this is a full-length gown. It’s so light and thin that you kind of feel like you’re almost naked. It actually is extremely flattering: you look like you’re ten feet tall. That said, I have not worn it. I think about pairing it with a tuxedo jacket, but then I worry about how I’d go to the bathroom because there’s so much fabric. I bring it out, put it on, and then just before I leave the house, I’m like, “I can’t!” Maybe it should be on my to-do list for this year: rock this man gown somewhere.

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On the prowl

When I left Versace to join Van Cleef & Arpels in 2008, Donatella insisted that I had to fly to Milan Fashion Week and say goodbye to her. Backstage before the show, she gave me a hug and she said, “I can’t believe you’re leaving the rock ’n’ roll for the rocks.” And then she whispered in my ear, “I love Van Cleef & Arpels; can I call you for a discount?” I’ve always been such a Versace fan. I stayed very close with the team even after I left. They’d let me know when cool pieces were coming to Hong Kong. This is a faux fur coat from fall-winter 19-20. This oozes Versace. It’s beautiful. Even though it’s faux fur, it’s as luxurious as it can be. And, of course, I love the glam rock style.

Birthday suit

For my 50th birthday in 2018, I had a little party for 380 of my closest friends. Ha! It was super fun. I really wanted to invite all my friends in the fashion industry, in the luxury industry, in the media: everyone that had supported me in my life and career. I was really spoilt because a lot of friends wanted to give me something to wear. I had put on a little weight, as you do when you’re 50, and I was worried about how I’d do the gifts justice. So I declined everyone and decided to find something on my own. Then, in the final hour, a very good friend at Saint Laurent said they really want to give me my birthday outfit. So I took the jacket, which is amazing, and paired it with PVC Versace trousers, which didn’t breathe. But what’s pain when you’re vain? I added Saint Laurent boots and it was great. You’re still allowed to have a little rock ’n’ roll at 50. I’m not going to start wearing grandpa sweaters.

Loud and proud

In the early Nineties, I was a kid in university coming back to Hong Kong for crazy summers and binge shopping. Versace, headed by Gianni Versace, was huge. The shop at the time was in the Landmark. Everybody needed a silk shirt, that iconic studded waistcoat, or studded bustiers for women; everybody wanted those crazy jeans with cartoon graphics. There were queues every day outside the boutique. I think I stretched all my parents’ credit cards to get this outfit. It was a time when everyone made an effort when dressing up for a night out. You didn’t repeat your outfit. There’s no way I could squeeze into those jeans now, but they cost a bomb. At my 50th birthday, I changed into this beautiful silk shirt after midnight. I love that on the labels it still says Gianni Versace because he was such an idol of mine.

Just keep rollin’ baby

When I was a teen growing up in Canada, roller disco was huge. One of my favourite movies of that time was Xanadu (I’m really dating myself now). It was the thing to do as a teenager: go to roller discos. I was pretty good! So when Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent came out with these very Eighties-inspired skates with a running shoe, I had to get my hands on some. They were very limited edition and I searched everywhere, with everyone trying to help me. Someone gifted them to me because they heard about me going crazy about these rollerskates. They’re a great talking point. My friends said I should make my entrance to my 50th on skates. We were setting up in the ballroom of the Grand Hyatt and I tried them on and I was like, “No way. I’m going to break my neck. And that’s not what I want to do on my birthday.” So they are on display in my office.

 

Pack it up

I have my father’s Louis Vuitton suitcases. My mom was my jewellery, beauty and style inspiration, but my father was a very well-dressed, dapper gentleman who instilled in me a sense of luxury and style. He wore impeccable tailoring and shoes, and was really into quality: he would only use Montblanc pens and Louis Vuitton suitcases and briefcases. When he visited us in Canada, he brought perfectly laundered shirts that were impeccably folded. Now, people don’t travel so much with heavy suitcases. About five years ago, he asked me if I wanted them; if not, he was going to throw them away. Of course, I took them off his hands and they’re sat in my living room. They remind me of where I come from, in the sense of my father always giving me the best of the best and supporting me. I love that they’re really worn, with airline luggage stickers still on there. My dad is 92, he’s still around and in great shape.

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