For style entrepreneur and glamorous Singaporean socialite Arissa Cheo, the confidence and assuredness that comes with experience is one of life’s great luxuries. Here, the founder of one of Asia’s hottest fashion lines – aptly named Arissa X – shares her tips for what to wear for dinner at the Captain’s table, as well as why holidays at sea are the ultimate treat.
How would you describe your professional life?
I’ve been in fashion ever since I graduated, although it wasn’t planned. I studied Communication and Film, and I was looking at doing something more in media, but I ended up doing something online with my cousin – an online ecommerce site. After that, when it came to starting something on my own, fashion made sense as I already had experience in that.
Where did that passion for style come from?
I do love fashion – I love shopping! When me and my cousin were kids, we used to pretend that we had a store and sold clothes, who knows, maybe it came from that!
You’ve had the chance to attend many extravagant events. What does glamour mean to you?
To tell you the truth, I actually don’t enjoy every single event – I’m always standing in the corner and then out of there in 30 minutes! Unless it’s for work, and to support friends, of course. In terms of what glamour is, I don’t think it’s about how you look, or what you wear, it’s all about how you feel. So, if you’re feeling comfortable and confident then you’re naturally at ease and can enjoy yourself more. That’s what glamour means to me.
So, what’s the secret ingredient to confidence?
You know, I wasn’t confident at all when I was young, although I was very good at covering it up. I think it really takes a long time to gain confidence, and that comes from getting to know yourself better. It’s about being your authentic self. As you grow, you’re learning along the way, gaining more confidence as you go. And if in doubt, put on some heels and lipstick – that can help a lot!
And how can you get this inner confidence?
Mindfulness, health and wellness, they do play a part in helping you find yourself. But for me personally, the issue I had when I was younger was not being able to manage what people thought of me, and now I’m at a point in my life when I really don’t care about that anymore. Now, it’s really about how you feel and what the people that really care and love you think. It’s the people that you have the most respect and love for, that’s all that matters really.
So, what would we find you wearing at the Captain’s table, for dinner?
When I’m in Singapore, I’m usually in sweats or T-shirts and shorts, but if I go on holiday then I love to go all out and dress up – heels, gowns, the works! So, for a beautiful evening dinner, I’d love a flowing gown and some stunning jewellery. I accessorise a lot! I always have rings on – right now I’m loving them in gold. But when I go on a cruise or a ship, I dress very differently to how you might normally see me.
So, you enjoy spending time on the water?
I love the water! It’s just such a luxury to go aboard. I’ve always loved being in the water, being surrounded by the open ocean. It’s so incredibly calming, and the convenience of being taken from place to place on a boat – you can just hop on and hop off, it’s like a moving hotel. What more could you want!
Photographer Jeff Chang
Stylist Jerome Awasthi
Assisted by Jet Ho
Hair and Makeup Manisa Tan using Clé de Peau Beauté