Harper's Bazaar (Singapore)
The idea of what’s sexy today is so diverse. Yes, it still relates to the idea of seduction or something that’s alluring and desirable. But what’s so fascinatingly different today is who it’s for—the gaze of the receiver is often not the intended. In the past, we used to dress sexy for our partner or someone we want to impress. Now, it’s more about self and how we feel. This month’s cover girl, Pom Klementieff, declared: “I don’t usually go for a sexy vibe. I don’t think it’s the most interesting way of dressing. Sexy is something you either have in you or you don’t—you can be fully covered and still be sexy and feel sexy. It’s about the energy, an attitude; it’s something you can’t really pinpoint.” She couldn’t have said it better. On the cover of an issue dedicated to the body, I decided to go against the grain and pick something quite covered up. I wanted to showcase the perfect arch of Klementieff ’s pale alabaster neck, which reminded me of Gong Li’s painted and exposed white neck in Memoirs of a Geisha. The act of Li lowering her kimono was such a subtle gesture (strategically so) and yet, it was charged with eroticism—filmed in such a seductive way that it truly captured the essence of sexy, regardless of time, culture and era. Which brings me to Associate Fashion Director Jeffrey Yan’s “Look, Don’t Touch” feature on page 34, which explores how exposure and concealment is as much a statement of power as it is an act of seduction. Sex and power have always been intrinsically linked, and designers such as Pieter Mulier at Alaïa and Anthony Vaccarello at Saint Laurent show this symbiosis by adding a certain edge to their fashion, a muscularity that is at once appealing and confronting.
On a personal front, I myself have been working out tremendously over the past two years. With international borders closed and travel ground to a halt, I was able to take stock of my health and diet for the first time in 20 years. I decided a revamp was really needed when my chubby frame could no longer fit into my wardrobe of Italian size 48 fashion. I engaged a personal trainer for thrice-a-week training, and completely overhauled my diet for the past one and a half years. It has paid off well and I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life. It also opened up a whole plethora of fashion I never thought possible to wear. I’m my own worst critic, and scrutinise every pore and inch with a magnifying glass—always looking for flaws and with a “glass half empty” mindset. But I’ve slowly begun to see the good of what I’ve created through sheer hard work, dedication and discipline. It has also refocused my mind, and helped with finding peace and strength when I do my daily stretches and controlled breathing. So when I say that fashion’s new sexy is a deeper connection between body, mind and soul, I really am speaking from my heart. And that, dear readers, is what no money can buy.