China Chow has been giving even triple hyphenates a run for their money in recent months: she was shot by Mario Sorrenti as part of Barneys New York’s Fall 2011 campaign and by Karl Lagerfeld for an upcoming Chanel project; she collaborated with Richard Phillips and Jason Wu on arts-related endeavors; and she was featured in a performance piece with artist Glenn Kaino and magician Derek DelGaudio at New York’s The Kitchen.
Oh, and then there’s the Bravo TV series Work of Art, whose second season premiered on October 12. Chow is by turns witty and compassionate as the host of the show, leading the aspiring great artists through a series of challenges, only to then be critiqued by the likes of Rob Pruitt, Adam McEwen, and Mary Ellen Marks (whom Chow also helped wrangle as guest judges). Here, Chow takes a break from her hosting duties (a new episode airs tomorrow tonight) to discuss her favorite architectural shoes, her new digital discoveries, and where you’re likely to find her dining.
Define your style in three words: Architectural, conceptual, wabi sabi.
Daily uniform: Linen dresses in the summer. Black trousers (usually Comme des Garçons) and a cashmere sweater in the fall with black Silvia Fiorentina flats.
Greatest hits: A crocodile box clutch by Nancy Gonzalez. I love its simplicity—without hardware or logos, it truly feels timeless. Another favorite in my closet: a trapeze Rudi Gernreich coat.
Preferred footwear: The black pump in all its fantastic variations. My current favorite is a pair by United Nude. I love its block wooden heel. You can tell it was designed by an architect. It just so happens that Rem D. Koolhaas is the brand’s creative director.
Finishing touches: Jewelry designed by my mother, Tina Chow. I treasure my ebony pendant with a small herkimer diamond dangling from a silk cord. It has the formal qualities of modernist sculpture and highlights her incredible sensitivity to materials. I’m also fond of my vintage Indian cuff—it dates back to the 19th century—and while it appears heavy, it’s actually quite light.
Nighttime look: Black trousers and a silk shirt or a dress by Rodarte, Balenciaga, or Junya Watanabe.
Favorite stores: Muji, LN-CC in London, Art Catalogues at LACMA, New York Vintage.
Style pet peeve: None.
Style icons: My mother, my grandmother, Tilda Swinton, and Terence Koh.
Last purchases: A Martin Margiela top made of gloves from his 2001 collection purchased at New York Vintage. A Balenciaga clutch—it reminds me of works by French contemporary artist Jean Pierre Raynaud or an Andree Putman tiled bathroom.
Lusting after: Yves Klein’s La Vénus d’Alexandrie (Vénus Bleue.) He created my favorite color, International Klein Blue.
Favorite haunts: Mr. Chow restaurants.
Favorite works of art: Cy Twombly paintings, John Chamberlain sculptures, and works by emerging artist Alex Israel.
Fall must-have: Sunglasses—Freeway eyewear collaboration with artist John Baldessari.
Portrait: David Vasiljevic; Alex Israel: courtesy of Peres Projects; Yves Klein: Corbis; all others: courtesy of China Chow.