Wardrobe Insider: Chantel Shafie

For those already acquainted with Chantel Shafie‘s effortless way with fine jewellery, it will come as no surprise to discover that the glamorous Anglo-Persian models her eponymous jewellery collection for her social feeds most mornings, dressed in her Olivia Von Halle pjs; her creations piled on with carefree aplomb. The designer, who started her namesake brand in 2010 after an extensive search for her own engagement ring, is the jewellery designer Hong Kong’s style-set such as Lucia Tait Tolani, Georgina Wilson, Dervla Louli and Sasha Dennig turn to when they want a touch of sparkle for day, or a bold statement piece for a special occasion. Designed entirely by Shafie, her collections demonstrate her unique knack for effortlessly fusing antique and contemporary aesthetics to create modern, wearable designs, using time-honoured techniques and packed full of personality and symbolism. 

Here, she shares what’s on her fashion wishlist, dream collaborators and which supermodel’s wardrobe she wants. 

1)    Describe your style in 3 words

Colourful, chic and comfortable.

2) Earliest fashion memory

Insisting on wearing dresses and refusing to wear jeans, trousers or sneakers at all as a child, which is strange as it’s what I live in most of the time now. But from about five years old I decided that little girls should wear pretty dresses, tights and smart shoes. I must have been about 16 when I bought my first pair of jeans and sneakers and never looked back.

3) What’s the most precious item in your wardrobe?

I have an original Biba dress that my mother had custom-made in the 60s. It’s a fitted black crepe de chine dress with hearts on it, and a lucite heart buckle. My mother was absolutely tiny so I can only wear it after a serious bout of food poisoning but it’s fabulous.

4) What’s on your current fashion wishlist?

The list is ever-growing, but I have had the classic Paco Rabanne disc dress in gold in my basket for a long time! And I’m forever on the hunt for a Hermès black Togo Birkin 35cm with Gold Hardware.

5) Favourite item in your wardrobe that you will keep forever?

I have a limited edition, Chanel flap bag with gorgeous enamelled ladybugs crawling all over it. I try not to wear it too often as I don’t want to damage it, but when it goes missing it’s usually found in my daughter’s dress-up box. It’s probably safer for me to take it out for a night on the town!

6) What is the best fashion advice you have received?

Coco Chanel famously said, “Once you’ve dressed, and before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.” As much as I try to adhere to this, I usually do the opposite and put on another piece of my jewellery.

7) Who are your style icons?

I think Lauren Santo Domingo always looks effortless, glamorous and chic, and for my more downplayed British style days, Kate Moss is the queen of pulling together boho, high-low looks.

8) A recent shopping find is

I just returned to Hong Kong from a six-month trip around the world. As my suitcase space was limited, so was my shopping. I took 19 flights and each time I wore my cream cashmere Olivia Von Halle tracksuit, which was extremely comfortable yet very elegant.

OVH makes the most wonderful lounge wear with really stunning custom silk fabrics and fantastic cashmere. I have lots of her silk pyjamas, and I wear them every night. In many of my IG shots I’m wearing medallions and her pyjamas, because I get the best light in the morning on my balcony. I currently spend more time than I should admit wearing silk pyjamas and gold medallions, which I’m sure is exactly how Olivia would love her clothes to be styled!

9) If you could have anyone’s wardrobe whose would it be and why?

Kate Moss just exudes glamour to me. She has been at the forefront of fashion and the epitome of cool my entire adult life. I think she looks her best in a tailored tux jacket, and her signature, messy-chic hair. She also has an oversized, leopard faux-fur jacket that I would definitely steal if she ever let me near her wardrobe. If only her clothes could tell stories!

10) If a museum asked you to donate one item from your wardrobe that represented you what would it be?

It would have to be a piece of jewellery from my own collection. I’m never seen without one of my 18k gold and diamond medallions. My current collection is based around the lunar animals. Between 1976 and 1987 Hong Kong issued solid 22k gold $1000 coins to commemorate the Lunar New Year. The artwork on them in incredible and very retro. I encase them in 18k gold and diamonds and wear them on a chunky chain.

11) What will we never find in your wardrobe?
Square toe shoes. I have no desire to have bovine hoofs at the end of my legs!

12) Who would be your dream collaborator and why?

I love what Gwyneth Paltrow has done with Goop. She mainstreamed the wellness and lifestyle market but also has a Midas touch when it comes to designers and bespoke pieces. I think she would look fabulous in one of my lunar medallions. She is a rat apparently…

14) Favourite music to get event-ready to

I listen all year round to Venus FM online which is the local Mykonos radio station to keep the party going until next summer. Current favourites include,

Love Tonight by Shouse
Pepas by Farruko
Jerusalema by Master KG ft. Nomcebo
Won’t Forget You by Shouse
Under The Sun by Franky Wah x AR/CO
All I Got by Miss Monique

15) Top 3 accounts to follow on social media

@thelsd Lauren Santo Domingo

@eyeswoon Athena Calderone

@_georginagraham_ Georgina Graham who is my best friend and an incredible London based creative director and make up artist. She is a zeitgeist of our generation, a feminist and activist and bloody funny too.

16) If you could go back in time, which fashion era would you choose and why

It would be the 50s when people dressed up to fly, and wore gowns and high jewellery to dinner. Dresses were elegant, formal with feminine silhouettes and perfectly matching accessories.

17) Who would you invite to your fashion dinner party

Kate Moss, Audrey Hepburn and David Bowie.

18) What is your go-to outfit

Always something leopard! I’ve banned myself from buying more than one leopard dress a year now as my wardrobe was starting to look like it was straight from the jungle but if you spot a leopard in a crowd it’s usually me!

19) Favourite fashion apps

MatchesFashion, Net-A-Porter,  Vestiaire Collective, The Outnet and Yoox.

20) Where was the last place you travelled to and what are the can’t miss shops?

I recently went to Milan for Salone del Mobile. Valentino had a pop-up in the Madame Pauline Vintage shop which showcased an incredible collection of rare finds from the brand. The vintage shopping in Milan is amazing, mostly concentrating on high-end luxury and you will always find something special. I picked up a wonderful classic Valentino crepe de chine gown with an open back which is a show-stopper.