Michelle Ong talks personal style: Part One

Carnet founder Michelle Ong is known for her delicate, one-of-a-kind fine-jewellery designs

Image: anne-sophie heist

My personal style signifier is a pair of earrings, usually my own design. No matter the style, their sparkle always lights up my day. I also adore vintage watches and have collected them for years. The 1920s is my favourite period in terms of design and craftsmanship, but I am also attracted to the graphic references of the 1970s, and I treasure my Piaget cuff watch which I bought at auction in London.www.carnetjewellery.com.

Caprice Bar, Four Seasons hotel, Hong Kong
Caprice Bar, Four Seasons hotel, Hong Kong

The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a purple cashmere sweater set from Loro Piana. It’s part of my uniform, with trousers and boots, and purple is my favourite colour. www.loropiana.com.

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The best gift I’ve received recently is a fabulous, early-20th-century English parasol my dearest friends created for me. They found it at the L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue flea market and refurbished it at Alexandra Sojfer in Paris. The handle is hand-tooled silver, light and perfectly balanced, and the fabric is a perfect dove grey. 218 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75007 Paris (+331-4222 1702; www.alexandrasojfer.com).

Jardenia by JAR, ¤340 for 30ml
Jardenia by JAR, ¤340 for 30ml

The site that inspires me is the view of the Hong Kong harbour from my home. I am fascinated by its ever-changing beauty, energy and iconic status – day or night. In some ways, it’s like the perfect jewel – sparkling, enduring and mesmerising.

Ong’s early-20th-century English parasol
Ong’s early-20th-century English parasol | Image: anne-sophie heist

The beauty staple I’m never without is my wonderfully feminine Jardenia perfume by JAR. He is a good friend and told me this was the right scent for me. Every note is perfect; it makes me feel as though I am wearing a lush gardenia that is bloom-deep, heady and memorable. And Crème de la Mer’s moisturising cream is a key part of my daily skincare regime. Crème de la Mer, £105 for 30ml, www.cremedelamer.co.uk. Jardenia by JAR, €340 for 30ml; JAR Parfums, 14 Rue de Castiglione, 75001 Paris (+331-4020 4720).

Michelle Ong’s 1970s Piaget cuff watch
Michelle Ong’s 1970s Piaget cuff watch

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Italy, for the opera festival at the Arena di Verona in Piazza Brà. It’s a magical place in terms of history and architecture, and it’s incredibly special to enjoy musical performances seated in a Roman amphitheatre holding millennia of memories. www.arena.it.

Cantopop star Eason Chan’s The Key
Cantopop star Eason Chan’s The Key

The last music I downloaded was Lang Lang’s The Chopin Album, Yang Xiu Fei’s Sojourn and Cantopop superstar Eason Chan’s The Key. Depending on my mood, each suits me to a tee.  

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The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Claude Monet. I have always felt connected to his work, particularly the Water Lilies paintings. His use of colour, the recognisable fantasy and the expression of natural beauty all inspire me in my designs.

The objects I would never part with are the handmade birthday cards from my children. Since they were little, they’ve had a tradition of making me a card that reflected their version of my year. It’s very touching. The cards are a continuing journal of my life through their eyes.

The people I rely on for wellbeing are Madam Tsui Kwan Yon, a traditional Chinese acupressure masseuse who keeps me going no matter what, and my instructors at DansinnHeavenly. Ballroom dancing is my hobby, my exercise and my constant challenge. DansinnHeavenly, 9 Des Voeux Road West, Sheung Wa, Hong Kong (+852-2858 0020; www.dansinnheavenly.com).

The last meal that truly impressed me is a toss-up between a sublimely flavourful roast chicken cooked for me by the food critic François Simon at his home in Paris, and a meal at Caprice, at the Four Seasons in Hong Kong. I swooned over Fabrice Vulin’s braised-oxtail cannelloni with Perigord black truffle, followed by sautéed frog’s legs. Four Seasons Hotel, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong (+852-3196 8888; www.fourseasons.com).

My favourite website is The Huffington Post, which, in a “never-a-free-minute” world, is the best way for me to keep up. www.huffingtonpost.co.uk.

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