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A moment with… Vivienne Tam

New York-based Vivienne Tam is a celebrated fashion designer with a style that melds influences from both the East and West. Named as one of Forbes magazine’s Top 25 Chinese-Americans in Business, she is also the author of the book China Chic. In 2016, Tam was the recipient of a lifetime achievement award for promoting Chinese culture. Here she shares her love of red lipstick, John Lennon and long-haul flights

Portrait of Vivienne Tam

My favourite Mandarin Oriental is…

Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong. It’s the oldest one – it’s been open since 1963.

Because…

I feel at home there. I grew up in Hong Kong and I remember the lobby and the whole atmosphere. The rooms are beautiful: I always find inspiration from the carpets, the wallpaper, the lobby and the hallways. I love the attention to detail and the old-school charm of it.

The beautiful bar at Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

I go for a drink at…

Mandarin Grill + Bar (pictured above) for its romantic atmosphere. When I’m in Hong Kong I have my meetings there. I don’t drink, so I like a camomile tea.

The meal I always order is…

Hainan Chicken Rice, my favourite dish at the hotel’s Café Causette. I like to sit in the corner with my friends.

Woman practising yoga in the garden at Mandarin Oriental, Paris

My favourite Mandarin Oriental in Europe is…

Mandarin Oriental, Paris. I love the location, it’s so close to great shopping.

I always forget to pack…

Something. Maybe it will be my toothpaste, or my yoga mat. I like to do yoga in my room. But I find Mandarin Oriental always has something I can borrow.

I never forget to pack…

Lipstick. I wear red lipstick everyday but choose the shade according to what I’m wearing. Sometimes it will be a bright shade, other times it might be a more orangey-red. I’ll pack at least two options.

A miniature version of the Eiffel Tower

The song I never get tired of is…

Imagine by John Lennon, or anything by the Beatles.

The city with the best style is…

Paris, where they are obviously very chic; it’s the fashion capital. But every city has its own style and feeling. In Bhutan I found the mix of the traditional and modern inspiring; I based a collection on what I saw there. Another of my recent collections was inspired by the traditional flower offerings in Bali and Indonesia, where they turn the flowers into a mandala pattern.

Bird's-eye view of a plane moving along a runway next to the ocean

The best thing about international travel is…

The long flights. I love that moment of calmness after the packing and the stress, and the peace of mind. I switch off and think about the destination. That’s exciting.

The hardest thing about travel is…

Packing. I always end up packing too much and don’t end up using half of it. Every time I travel, I tell myself that next time I’ll travel light.

View of Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech from the pool

The world would be a better place if…

We were kind to each other and we all had compassion. And if people didn’t think about money and power so much.

I’m proud to say that I…

Am a designer and that I have managed to make a life doing what I love to do. I feel so fortunate.

I would love to stay at Mandarin Oriental in…

Marrakech, which looks beautiful. But the one I always really want to stay in is the one I know best, in Hong Kong, for its old-world charm and the memories I have of it.

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