This week I've been thinking a lot about the style of Tina Chow; a model, jewellery designer, and campaigner most famous during the 1970s and early 80s. Throughout her career she was muse to Andy Warhol, Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld and Issey Miyake.
“Tina had an innate elegance and never needed any designer to do anything for her. In fact, she did a lot for us.” - Giorgio Armani
Despite her success as model and designer (not to mention her very public life and, sadly, death) very little about Chow seems to have survived. I have scoured and scoured the internet searching for photos/designs/articles, yet have been turning up the same small set of low-res images for the last four years. This seems astonishing now - in an age of aggressively invasive paparazzi and insta-obsession - but perhaps it's partly this minimal record that makes her style seem so appealing.
I first read about Tina Chow on les anti-modernes* (way back in 2011, time flies!) and Sophie's commentary bears repeating; Chow's style was feminine and strong, bold yet subtle - a carefully considered selection of timeless basics which looks as good now as it did 30 years ago, and will still look good 30 years from now.
She nailed the androgynous look with short, neat hair and simple make-up (often none at all but she rocked a red lip) - a bold contrast to the big, loud styles most associated with that era. Reportedly, Chow wore a 'uniform' consisting of a white t-shirt, black slacks, a grey cardigan and flat pumps; an idea that is so prevalent today, especially after this article swept the web.
“Femininity has nothing to do with wearing ruffles. You can show your femininity regardless of what you wear. Your attitude will show it. Femininity and feminism go hand and hand.” - Tina ChowAlthough it's true that she was both way ahead of her time and a trend-setter, the fact is that this look will never really be out of fashion. There's something so comforting about that.
Chow pioneered the use of rock crystal in fine jewellery; strikingly combined with bamboo, leather, silk cord and precious metals. The influence affected by her designs is recognisable in many contemporary pieces, both high-end and high-street.
“I like the idea of wearing very personal jewellery and not much decoration.” - Tina ChowI'm reminded of the stacks of crystal bead bracelets I wore as a teenager (my favourites were rose quartz, hematite and jade). I've always really liked natural stone jewellery because it's so simple, versatile and easy to wear - a great complement to a minimal closet.
I will be doing my best to emulate her cool vibes this week! It's always good to have some inspiration on a Monday :)