Tina Liu’s own confident style and easy sophistication casts her as a distinctive figure in Hong Kong’s social scene, earning her the title “First Lady of Looking Good” among other accolades. But it’s as a stylist casting her discerning eye over the wardrobes of the city’s fine and the fabulous that she’s built her career.
Not bad for a girl that grew up in hand-me-downs. “I was the youngest of three and wore whatever came to me,” admits the stylist dynamo. After Liu’s father died suddenly in an air accident, Liu’s journalist mother was left to bring up her three children. She didn’t have much in the way of dispensable income left over to lavish on clothes – to this day, Liu covets two of her mother’s “rare treasures”, a minuscule bottle of Dior perfume and her Coty make-up compact – but she had an innate sense of grace that imprinted on her young daughter and has stayed with her through a career that has spanned, fashion, theatre, film and publishing.
“I still say that you don’t need a lot of money to look good,” says Liu, who explains that her own style took shape when she returned from Vancouver to Hong Kong in her 20s and was exposed, through her circle of creative friends, to the music scene, art exhibitions, film and design.
Accessories are a key way to bring added zest and personality to a look and Liu, often seen in asymmetric, deconstructed or minimalist black and white attire, accents outfits with bold statement jewellery that epitomises her vibrant, playful personality. Today, she wears two deep ruby acrylic rings from a collection available on a new affordable online accessories portal – tinaschoice.com – that she created with the intention of spreading her philosophy on personal style. “Dressing, really, is just a part of life. You don’t have to spend that much, but since we do it every day, why don’t we have some fun?”
And enhancing what nature provided is another of Liu’s tips to fostering good personal style. Liu is a fan of Clarins personalised rejuvenating Tri-Active facials. During a recent visit to the Clarins Skin Spa in Central, a sanctuary in white, beige and deep red, where fresh blooms grace smooth shiny surfaces and staff outfitted in crisp white and red clothing greet clients with warm smiles, Liu requested a firming facial. She was prescribed the Power Firmer, a 75-minute, triple-acting facial to improve elasticity and smooth skin. “I’ve been very spoiled by excellent genes, and for years I didn’t need to do anything. Now I do need some extra help,” she admits, flashing a wide smile.
During Liu’s rejuvenating firming treatment, 23 different “touches” were employed 100 percent by hand courtesy of Clarins’ knowledgeable beauty therapists. All of the Tri-Active facial and body treatments available are administered without the use of beauty gadgetry, Liu explains, a soothing point of difference for her when it comes to beauty treatments.
Nothing, she says, replicates the softness and sensitivity of a pair of caring hands.
Over the course of the treatment’s 23 touches, those hands performed the Clarins patented application method. Following a sensorial awakening, with the added benefits of aromatherapy, the skin is prepped to receive the French institute’s effective facial formulas, which are based on plant extracts. In a Tri-Active Facial, rejuvenating products are applied using the whole hand initially and are then gently pressed into the skin in a routine that facilitates a thorough toxin elimination process and lifts the features.
Further along in the firming process, an icy cooling fabric mask brought Liu relief as it tightened, and was delivered with a facial massage to improve circulation. Massage is an essential element to the facials, with attention focused beyond the face to the head and shoulders, aiding relaxation and providing a sense of well-being for the body and mind.
“There was lots going on, gently and quietly,” says Liu. The treatment offered a rare moment of respite and for Liu, and the final results were immediately noticeable. Her face had slimmed, and appeared smoother with fine lines diminished and bloating banished. The area running from the base of the nose to the upper lip, the nasolabial folds had significantly lightened. The skin around her eyes was taut and left her looking refreshed and youthful.
The result was quite the revelation. Good personal style has to evolve, says Liu. It is drawn from and showcases the wearer’s knowledge and interest in design, the arts, fashion and more, along with a display of colours, shape, and proportion best suited to them. And it needs to be unique but consistent, or Liu remarks, “clothes worn are merely costume”.
All of those elements appear to collide in Clarins Tri-Active treatments, an evolved new generation of skincare regimes that bring to culmination the French skincare brand’s rich ingredients knowledge, expert personalised care, and attentive service. And an indulgent moment for renewal.