As Chanel’s head of style advisory for 27 years, Claudia Shaw is widely regarded as one of Hong Kong’s most stylish women. We catch up with her on fashion advice, her philosophy on life and why she’ll never be stuck in a single style.
A huge part of my role is helping women find their style and expand on their style. I’m always telling the women I dress that fashion is always moving. As you get older, never think “my fashion days are done”. To get stuck in a certain look can be dating and hugely boring.
A buyer shouldn’t be dictated by what their clients like and what they don’t. Our job is to educate our clients on what the new styles are and what they should be looking towards. If you keep on looking at what they traditionally like you’re looking backwards; fashion always looks forwards.
I don’t like to blindly follow trends. We’re fortunate to live in an age where there are so many different trends and we’re not completely dictated by a single one. People should see what’s out there and then adapt it to their own personal style, body shape or age.
I’d never want to come back as a man because in terms of fashion it’s much more exciting being a woman. Since it’s so exciting, why limit yourself when you have so much freedom? Sometimes you’ll get it wrong, but that’s OK – you only find out when you experiment. That’s the beauty of fashion.
Beauty doesn’t just come from clothes. It comes from the person wearing clothes. My role is getting clients to appreciate themselves and give them confidence. If they’re mothers, I remind them that the way they speak to themselves is the way their daughters are going to as well, so ask is this something you want to pass down to your daughter?
Comparison is a poison and if you keep on comparing yourself to a person who’s completely unattainable, you’ll never be happy, no matter how much you spend on clothes.
My sense of style comes from a blend of being exposed to so much from an early age. My mother is Austrian and growing up we travelled a lot. My mother was always telling us to have an inquisitive eye and to always keep asking, keep looking and always be interested in different styles, whether you’re in Europe, in Asia or the US.
I was definitely born in the wrong era, I love the elegant looks of the ’50s with gloves and hats. My look is quite clean with fitted shirts and trousers. But there are days when I go completely boho with a flowing dress or something floral. I don’t want to be stuck in just one look.
The thing I’d never do without is a white T-shirt or a white shirt. That’s my staple, I literally have one wardrobe of just white shirts but each one speaks differently. I’m quite particular about the feel of the cotton and the colour.
Another big part of my life is spirituality. I opened a meditation centre in Hong Kong called the Samadhi training centre for the Soul. It’s a place that anyone can go to and meditate in stillness; we also offer meditation and crystal sound healing.
The purpose of life is to serve others whether it be your family member or partner. Meditation is a daily practice for me and a way of creating a life filled with love and compassion.