S “tyle is a way to say who you are without having to speak,” says Olivia Lee-davies with an engaging smile. “It’s a quote by Rachel Zoe that I’ve always loved because you have nothing to lose and everything to gain from being brave— so challenge yourself to wear something different. If you don’t look good one evening, who cares?” This light-hearted approach to life and fashion is not what one expects from LeeDavies, one of Hong Kong’s most prominent socialites and a leading figure in a number of fields. But she got to where she is today by thinking outside the box. Coming from a big family with nine children, Lee-davies has always believed she was different from her sisters, both physically and mentally. “I don’t have the look of a typical Asian woman and I think I rebelled because I always felt I wasn’t the same as the others,” she says. “I started a career in advertising at 18 and married the following year, so I suppose you could say I was very busy from a young age.” A few years later, Lee-davies took a pause from advertising to look after her four children. After the children had started school, she opened a series of boutiques called Peggy Boyd and dabbled in interior design. “A few friends came to my apartment and loved it—and begged me redesign their places,” she says. “So I did one or two as a favour, and suddenly I had 10 people ringing me up asking me to give them styling advice.” After building a successful career in interior design, Lee-davies was approached by Barrie C Goodridge, the chairman and
Jacket and gown by Ralph Lauren; Schlumberger Bird on a Rock brooch in yellow gold and platinum with morganite and diamonds, bracelet in platinum with diamonds, ring in platinum with red spinel and diamonds (right hand), and ring in platinum with fancy intense yellow diamond and diamonds (left hand), all by Tiffany & Co.
CEO of Edipresse Asia, who asked her to join the Hong Kong Tatler team as social editor. “I arrived at Tatler in mid-august 2006 and I had five weeks to organise the annual ball— so it was a busy time as we had no venue or guest list,” she says with a laugh. “But someone asked me the other day which of my careers I enjoyed the most and I instantly said media—and I have Barrie to thank for that. It was lovely working there because everybody would come into the office in beautiful designer outfits and we’d chat about clothes on our coffee breaks. That’s something I don’t have access to in my new job.” Lee-davies is currently flaunting her skills in the wonderful world of television at TVB, but giving up her post at a fashion magazine hasn’t stopped her from wearing all her favourite designers to the office. Currently, they include Roland Mouret, Giambattista Valli, Mary Katrantzou and Esteban Cortázar. After all her years at Tatler Towers, LeeDavies also has some expert style advice to share. “The first thing every woman needs to understand is her shape,” she says. “For example, if you’re busty, then show your neckline or you’ll look matronly. By contrast, if you’re slim with long hair, then round necks look beautiful. You also need to know what works for your age, and then you can look to different cultures and eras for inspiration. But most of all, remember that fashion is fun—so always enjoy yourself.”
This page: Gown by Maison Rabih Kayrouz; Schlumberger Bird on a Rock brooch in yellow gold and platinum with amethyst and diamonds, and earrings in platinum and white gold, both by Tiffany & Co.
Opening spread: Dress by Giambattista Valli, available at Net-a-porter; necklace in platinum with diamonds by Tiffany & Co.
Group photo: Dress by Esteban Cortázar; earrings and necklace in platinum with diamonds, ring in platinum with green tourmaline and diamonds (right hand), and ring in platinum with sapphire and diamonds (left hand), all by Tiffany & Co.
Gown by Yolancris, available at Central Weddings; necklace in platinum with diamonds and morganite by Tiffany & Co.