14 Oct, 2022 @ 12:15
3 mins read

EXPANDING HORIZONS: Our best self is our most flattering style

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Increased global mobility both for educational and professional reasons has led to an increase in inter-marriage between Spaniards and other nationalities. 

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At a recent international gathering I noted that over 50% of the women were married to Spaniards. One of those is Edith Chan, a native from Hong Kong who arrived on these shores six years ago. A personal stylist to stars such as Leonardo di Caprio and ever the entrepreneur Chan is used to starting from scratch. 

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In Chinese culture appearance is key and from a very young age Chan was inspired by the clothes of the customers in her parents’ restaurant in Hong Kong. It didn´t take long for her to climb through the ranks of the hair and beauty industry to become Art Director for various hair styling brands and to style models for magazines and actors in the film industry. By the age of 27 Chan was teaching other professionals how to do head-to-toe transformations and has worked in London and New York before moving to Madrid in 2016. “I realised that if you have a particular skill it can lead you neatly into other directions that naturally branch off from it. I started working on people´s hair and make-up and now I do a lot of work on their image and mindset. My job is all about listening to my clients and visualising how best to enhance them. My creative skills remain at the core of everything I do.” Chan is now an established Image Consultant and Mindset Coach as well as a Personal Stylist and Colour Me Beautiful consultant. She is also qualifying as a Rapid Transformational Therapist and works very successfully online. Clients range from men and women wishing to enhance their appearance professionally either in person or for their social media accounts to women interested in discovering which colours complement their features naturally. She has a broad clientele across the globe as she is able to work her magic online as well as in person. 

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Having met her husband in Ibiza, Chan has had to learn to how operate in a European culture that is different to London. Working as an assistant stylist at Madrid Fashion Week Chan prefers to speak in English so that she can command more respect and has also just styled German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the CBS Chief Correspondent, Margaret Brennan.

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I wonder naively what the difference is between being a Personal Stylist and a Fashion Stylist. Chan explains that for the former you are emphasising a client´s originality and enhancing their best features, whereas in the latter you are focussing on showcasing the latest trends on what is probably a standardised body type so you really have to think outside the box.

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One fashion icon who was famous for doing just that was my distant cousin Isabella Blow. Responsible for launching Alexander MacQueen and models such as Stella Tennant and Sophie Dahl, Blow was also Fashion Director of Tatler and the Sunday Times Magazine. 

Isabella Blow in her heyday sporting in a Philip Treacy creation

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Isabella Blow in her heyday sporting in a Philip Treacy creation

In 1994, my grandmother decided that my brother should be a model (without any prior consultation with him on the matter) and with Blow´s contacts she arranged a little soirée at her house to which she invited some model scouts and a Vogue editor amongst other couture bods. Feeling rather overwhelmed by this sudden alien invasion in my grandmother’s sitting room I attempted to strike up conversation with the rather unassuming shy chap standing next to me who was the only one wearing a shabby sweatshirt, jeans and trainers, long before sports shoes were in vogue. He explained he was a milliner so I conjured up pictures of him in some cramped damp East London workshop working his fingers to the bone on felt hats and in a bid to keep the flagging conversation going I casually asked where he sold his hats, to which he replied in a lilting Irish accent “Well, some go to Harrods, others to Harvey Nichols and a few one-offs go to Madonna, Naomi Campbell and the Queen direct….”  Philip Treacy´s humble features remained etched on my memory for eternity after that.  

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Philip´s friend and muse, Isabella Blow

So perhaps it was befitting of me to be wearing a sumptuous headpiece while watching The Queen’s Jubilee celebrations earlier this year. As for my brother, he has had a happy TV career behind the camera as opposed to in front of it and the only model in the family turned out to be my grandmother!  

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“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.”
Gore Vidal

Edith Chan – https://linktr.ee/edithc.style


Susannah Grant

Now on her fourth residency in Madrid, London-born Susannah has seen the city flourish since the 1980s. In retaliation to countless family holidays in the frozen wilds of Northern Scotland Susannah has been making up for lost time (and sun) travelling to over 86 countries. A wordsmith at heart, she is fluent in 5 languages and fascinated by people and cultural idiosyncrasies the world over. Following a 12 year-marketing career in the wine and spirit industry she now devotes her time to writing and editing.

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