A social and philanthropic fixture in Shanghai, Hong Kong, London, and New York, Wendy Yu has already become China’s unofficial, self-appointed fashion ambassador at the age of 28, helping luxury brands to navigate the Chinese market. And now she’s trying her own hand at the designing game, in a new collaboration with Olympia Le Tan to celebrate the Chinese New Year. “Working with the Olympia Le Tan team to create a series of bags to celebrate Chinese New Year was a dream come true,” Yu said. “It was my first time co-designing a product range, and it was extra special to be with a brand I’ve been collecting for many years. An Olympia Le Tan clutch brings personality to any outfit. Seeing amazing women carrying bags that celebrated a part of Chinese culture was very humbling and emotional for me.” In honor of the new collaboration, now on sale at Net-a-Porter, Yu breaks down her very fashionable wardrobe, which includes Fendi capes—for a day off, of course.
Describe your style in three words:
Spontaneous, feminine, fun.
What is your go-to outfit for a day off?
Alaïa body-con and leggings and a Fendi cape. On days out of the office, I like to feel comfortable but still polished.
Who is your ultimate style icon, and why?
I’m very drawn to the old Hollywood favorites, such as Jackie O. and Audrey Hepburn. I love that elegant look that is forever timeless, but admire how each of these women added their own unique twist. It’s that glamour when you can just look so effortlessly chic in a well-tailored top and trousers for day. Then add some jewelry to take the look to another level for dinner. In terms of business, I’m very much inspired by strong independent women such as Diane von Furstenberg and Anna Wintour; each has left such a legacy in the fashion industry.
Best fashion advice you ever received:
I think fashion is about knowing who you are and not being afraid of expressing it through creativity. In work, I love to look polished and chic, but when off-duty or on holidays, I love to be spontaneous. I don’t believe in copying other people’s looks; you have to be individual and make your own style.
First major fashion purchase:
I started to collect evening gowns from the age of 19. It has definitely become a hobby for me that I now see as a passion investment; I’d love to open China’s first fashion museum one day. My collection started with Oscar de la Renta and Matthew Williamson.
What was the last thing you purchased?
I ordered the Teach for China clutch from my collaboration with Olympia Le Tan. Teach for China is one of my biggest passions, therefore being able to intertwine my love of fashion and creating a bridge between China and the rest of the world via design was a product I had to invest in purchasing.
Biggest fashion regret?
I was actually quite a tomboy growing up and was a bit rebellious when I first moved to the U.K. at 15. Tracksuits were a big trend at the time.
Where are you favorite places to shop?
I love to shop online, and Net-a-Porter is my go-to for the ease of service. I’m always on the go and travel frequently for work, but with Net-a-Porter they can send a look to your door almost wherever in the world you are.
What is always in your bag:
All the necessities: my iPhone, a portable charger, and always a pair of statement sunglasses. Large sunglasses are a must, especially when traveling. I take around four trips a month back and forth between my home in Shanghai and cities where I have investments, so I am always doing my work on the go. The right tech to keep my phone charged is so important.