Society doyenne and philanthropist Peggy Jeffs is the queen of Singapore’s gala scene, throwing extravagant soirees that have earned her a reputation for creating the city’s most glamorous moments. Here, she shares the secrets to hosting a spectacular event, whether you’re celebrating at home or on your travels.
Fabulous fashion is your calling card, and you are celebrated as the embodiment of Asian luxury. What does this mean to you?
I can’t wear what everyone else is wearing – I just can’t do it! I’m always on more of the flamboyant side. My fashion choices reflect me as a person, very much so. It’s not about confidence, to me, it’s an art. The way I do my makeup, it’s like drawing or painting. I always say, you can buy whatever is in season, but styling is different: it’s art.
You are often snapped at Singapore’s biggest and most lavish events. What has been your most glamorous moment?
That would be my birthday last year. I named it ‘Life is Still a Cabaret’, because I had another party before which was ‘Life is a Cabaret’, and, you know what, life is still a cabaret! My friends all dressed up – no questions asked. But that is just a party. Last year, I supported Muscular Dystrophy which is a charity that is not very well known in Singapore. It’s hard to raise funds for this sort of thing, so I changed it to ‘A Night in Brazil’, which meant everyone dressed like Carmen Miranda – it was so colourful!
Your ambition is endless! Who inspires you?
My family – not just parents, but grandparents and great-grandparents – and other people I meet that do charity work. Also, it’s simply a passion that comes from wanting to help. I started visiting homes when I was very young, and I continue to do it now. There’s no stopping me – I’ve already been invited to chair my next charity in 2020.
Dress: Loretta Caponi from Private
Hat: Peggy Jeffs’ own
And what drives you to keep going?
The challenge – making what I want happen.
You have done so much charitable work, and thrown some incredible fundraisers. What’s the secret to hosting a great event?
The people you invite, of course. And then there is the food, the entertainment – you have to consider many things to bring everything together in the best way, so that people have a memorable experience. But if people are enjoying themselves, that’s the secret ingredient.
What about private events – do you enjoy hosting friends?
I don’t entertain at home, except for family gatherings. I like to go out – I have a ladies’ lunch group which we have done regularly for many, many years. We like to try new restaurants in town, to enjoy one another’s company and to have a good laugh. It’s always better to share those times together.
And if you were to host at the Palace Restaurant, what type of event would it be?
I can imagine an intimate dinner celebration for an anniversary or birthday. It would be a private dinner party, I can see it very clearly and it would be beautiful! A wonderful evening of celebrations, bringing friends and family together.
Who would you invite on your cruise experience?
I would invite my family or close friends who already love to go for short cruise holidays.
Dress: Nida Shay
Hat: Peggy Jeffs’ own
Speaking about short holidays, what’s your favourite vacation spot close to Singapore?
I have a place in Phuket, which I go to every month. In fact, that’s why I chose to cruise to Langkawi recently. I would also choose Penang for its great food, or even Malacca, because I’m Peranakan! The new route on Dream Cruises, to Shanghai and Hong Kong, would also really interest me as it’s something different.
You’re well acquainted with the finer things in life. What do you consider these to be?
When I travel, I like good restaurants. Shopping is of course my weak point; my eyes are always looking for hats and headgear. I have quite the collection. And Dom Perignon champagne!
And what does true luxury mean to you?
In terms of material things, I have seen everything; it’s not about wishing to get something or to buy something – whether it’s a dress, a watch, a piece of jewellery. In my mind now, it’s not about that. Luxury is about experiences, sharing and memories.
Photographer: Jeff Chang
Art Director: Grace Tay
Stylist: Jerome Awasthi
Assisted by: Ling & Jet Ong
Hair and Makeup: Greg-O