Kathryn turned 19 in the 1980s. “When big shoulder pads and Japanese designers such as Kansai Yamamoto and Yohji Yamamoto were popular. I was a huge fan of Yohji, but the outfits were mostly all black,” she reminisces of her fashion sensibilities back then. “I prefer colours these days.” She also has fond memories of having a set of modern portrait shots done by her then-boyfriend and ex-husband when she was 19, which still hangs on a wall in her home.
“I like to think that, barring the addition of a few wrinkles, I don’t look that different now than I do in those pictures. Looking at those portraits always reminds me of the folly and innocence of my youth, but sometimes, I think I’m still that 19-year-old girl at heart,” she says with a laugh.
Who was your favourite song/band/singer that year?
A-ha’s Take On Me, which was playing on the radio everywhere that year! It’s still one of my favourite songs from the 1980s.
Life plan back then?
Finishing medical school. After completing my Pre-Med bachelor’s degree, I specialised in Immunology for my Master’s.
If you were to relive your teenage years, what would you change?
Probably nothing… After all, it’s all about learning from your mistakes.
Is there an item of clothing or accessory from that time that you still have today?
The neon green Michael Simon New York sweater I’m wearing here, which I’ve had since my uni days. Simon was a struggling ballet dancer who made ends meet by making leggings for his fellow dancers on a handloom knitting machine, and he later branched out to making sweaters. The only material he could afford was old-stock yarn – usually in neon colours. His sweaters became so popular that all the hip stores started carrying them. With such a backstory, this piece is definitely worth keeping.
Art direction: Audrey Chan
Photography: Joel Low
Hair: Christvian Goh & Zoel Tee, using Revlon Professional
Photography assistance: Alfie Pan