Friday, December 3, 2010


Posted by Fashion Editor at Large

Tina Chow by Bob Colacello

There are very few well-known women walking around in the world today whose style and modus operandi I genuinely admire. We fill our magazines up with celebrities who gad around in lovely clothes, and I happily share that information with our readers. For me personally, though, I find fashion inspiration wanting from today's crop of young style icons.

Tina Chow with Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol by Bob Colacello

I admire Alexa Chung's style; its cute and boyish and young. But where does it go from here? Can Alexa move it on? Kate Moss was someone who I once felt could do no wrong in the area of personal style, but she has, seemingly happily stagnated around a pair of grey skinny jeans, Alaia ballet pumps, and an old fox fur. Not to mention her increasing dalliances with peroxide.

Tina Chow by Andy Warhol

In the last few months I've been finding myself being drawn to iconic women from days gone by. One of them is Tina Chow, a beautiful former model who, through marriage to restauranteur Michael Chow became a fashion icon in New York during the 70s and 80s, as well known for her simple elegance and beauty as she was for her charm and ability to make people feel special. Tina was from Cleveland, Ohio the daughter of a german father and japanese mother and the Eurasian clash resulted in startling green eyes and an impish face that could be as boyish as it was beautiful, especially in conjunction with her signature crop.  Most people assumed she was chinese.

Eventually Tina became a couture collector  She had the best: Mariano Fortuny, Alix, Elsa Schiaparelli, Cristobal Balenciaga. She called her collection a "mad passion". She also said that "dedication and the pursuit of craft with integrity are the only values of life and cloth".  I couldn't agree more with that approach.

Tina Chow and the Kyoto bracelet

Her love of jewellery - she was rarely seen without an armful of Chanel or Cartier - led her to design her own and she created simple and instantly iconic work which today are collectors items. If you know me well and are reading this there is a Christmas hint in there.

After the Vuitton show in Paris I knew that Marc must have be having a Tina Chow moment too.

Backstage at Vuitton by Jason Lloyd Evans And the Tina-alike is wearing MY suit!
Tina with her husband Michael Chow

There is a sad end to the Tina Chow story. Following a separation from her husband, she embarked on a couple of affairs - apparently Richard Gere was a lover - which led to Tina contracting HIV, and in 1992 she died of an AIDS related illness at her home in California. She was only 41. Tina was one of the first heterosexual women in the public eye to be open about her HIV status, and her story was told by the New Yorker with an indepth profile by Michael Gross.

Tina Chow by David Seidner

To see more of Tina Chow's jewellery go to