Public School: The Perfect NYC Street Style


Public School is how I remember and still think about New York City fashion—minimal and monochromatic.  Most would associate the darker end of the spectrum for fall and winter, but New Yorkers find a way to make it work throughout the entire year.  With a closet full of black, I’m always on the hunt for design houses that take my favorite color and translate it into wearable garments regardless of temperature.  Fairly new and with a sophisticated nod to urban and street trends, Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne have finally made their introduction into womenswear.

While in its sophomore year of New York Fashion Week, Public School already has accumulated menswear awards and continues to do so. They’ve shown talent and drive for surviving in the industry since their 2010 induction into the CFDA’s Fashion Incubator development program, and still keep all clothing production within New York City.  With so much praise to their names, I was curious to see how the pair would tackle the other gender, and was delighted to see that they are definitely on their way to dominating the interchangeable world of sportswear.  While some feel their designs are more quiet than expected for spring and summer 2015, Chow and Osborne have a long and limitless future ahead of them.


Take a look at a few of the designs below from Sunday’s packed-house show.  It was a sea of artsy prints, geometrics, oversized fits, boxy styles and my favorite, a monochromatic palette with splashes of blue for creating additional visual interest.  I’m more impressed with Chow and Osborne producing flattering and classic cuts while keeping some urban edge, making their opening womenswear collection engaging to both the career woman and the streetstyle lover.  With such a strong start, the fall and winter 2016 line will be highly anticipated, and I am positive we will see another round of solid design work.

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 12.17.59 PM Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 12.18.11 PM

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 12.18.26 PM

All Photos Courtesy Of Guillame Roujas and



Why You NEED To See “Finding Fanny” This Weekend (Plus An Interview With Film’s Star Deepika Padukone)


Superstar actress Deepika Padukone (a member of the Bollywood 100 Crore Club a record-breaking four times last year) stars in the highly anticipated, English-language comedy Finding Fanny this fall. (The trailer alone has more than 3 million hits on YouTube; it hit the 1 million mark in a day.)

In the lazy tropical countryside of the Indian state of Goa, Padukone is a young virgin widow, bored with her mundane existence in the sleepy village. When the old local postman (Naseeruddin Shah) discovers a marriage proposal he had written 46 years ago mysteriously returned to him, never delivered, he is shocked and sets out to find out what happened to Stefanie “Fanny” Fernandes.

Under varying pretexts, he is joined by Padukone, the local (and bitter) mechanic, a belligerent artist and an obnoxious snob. What the dysfunctional characters do find on their journey is friendship and even love. The all-star cast includes Arjun Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia and Pankaj Kapoor, with a special appearance by Ranveer Singh.

Details FINDING FANNY opens across US/Canada this Friday, SEPTEMBER 12


Q: From commercial success to doing a quirky comedy like Finding Fanny, what kind of cinema excites Deepika?
A: I love commercial cinema. But I also get a rush from doing clutter-breaking stuff like Finding Fanny.

Q: You are at the peak of your career with hits after hits. What made you do an off-the-wall film like Finding Fanny?
A: A lot of people told me it’s a risk. I did not think of it as a risk, but a brave move on my part to do it. I went with my instinct. What my heart said. I trust Homi (Adajania) and his vision.

Q: But what drew you to the film?
A: For me, the story of a film comes first and character next. I was looking to do something different and I am glad I did this film. As we work in a Hindi language film, we are used to it. But when you do an English language film it is a different experience and it takes time to get into this space. The challenge was to perform in English language.

Q: You have a Konkani connection in the film. Talk to us about it.
A: As far as the accent of Finding Fanny is concerned, it’s actually something I enjoyed because I got to speak my mother tongue, Konkani, a little bit in some scenes. The film is set in Goa and Goans usually speak Konkani. I got to experiment and improvise. But most importantly it’s a nice feeling when you have command over a language. Having said that, the first few days were very difficult on the sets not just for me but also for the entire team.

Q: You are working with Dimple Kapadia again post Cocktail and as reported you adore her. Talk to us about your equation with her.
A: What I feel for Dimple-ji and my equation with her, I can’t describe it in words. She took me for lunch and shopping while we were shooting for Cocktail. She pampers me and spoils me. She treats me like her daughter.

Q: How would you describe the film Finding Fanny?
A: It’s a different film. I found it to be different. It’s refreshing, it’s quirky and cool!


Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 11.17.12 AM

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 11.17.23 AM Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 11.17.31 AM



Local theaters, ticketing, and showtimes will be posted on Wednesday at:

For more information, visit the official website.


Finding Fanny was featured in our Fall 2014 issue. Get your copy here.


New York Fashion Week Recap: Tadashi Shoji


New York Fashion Week is well underway and contributor Mariana Leung’s got the inside scoop on the shows. Here, her recap of Tadashi Shoji’s collection. 


Tadashi Shoji’s fashion show at Lincoln Center was a demonstration of all of the beautiful things you could do with lace.  There were two-toned black and white laces.  There were engineered motifs.  There were soft monochromatic laces in rich blue hues.  There were daytime outfits that used lace as a trim or inserted panel. There were simple machine lace fabrics embellished with beading.

The overall effect was a beautiful, feminine collection with a classic elegance.  For women who choose not to show a lot of skin, the designer offered a variety of sleeve lengths and hemlines.  Tadashi Shoji designs for all bodies and modesty levels.  This has been embraced by actresses like Octavia Spencer who do not fit Hollywood’s traditional red carpet body.

Capes and shift dress silhouettes were very forgiving.  You could choose a sexier look with a lot of sheer lace, or just a hint of skin peeking out through a narrow strip of mesh.  The most relaxed silhouette instantly becomes glamourous when it is executed in an intricate, embroidered lace.


Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 3.42.25 PM

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 3.42.35 PM


–Story and photos by Mariana Leung, publisher of


New York Fashion Week Recap: Son Jung Wan


New York Fashion Week is well underway and contributor Mariana Leung’s got the inside scoop on the shows. Here, her recap of Son Jung Wan’s Spring 2015 collection. 
Korean designer Son Jung Wan designed her spring 2015 collection with the concept of Yin and Yang. This concept was carried through in the juxtaposition of rough fabrics with delicate silk, rich jewel tones with metallic threads, men and women on the runway.

The best menswear sweaters had a combination of thick, chunky yarns knitted with superfine, almost sheer jersey areas. The sweaters were paired with light colored woven shorts. There was one free-form jacket offered in ivory that was also paired with ivory shorts.


There were plenty of clean white looks for spring along with deep navy, jade and amethyst. Many of the looks had a curved, metallic gold style line that gave the effect of the clothing being struck by lightning. It could also be a loose interpretation of the traditional yin yang symbol.

The pastels that the designer offered came in the form of a shiny iridescent group. Shimmering dresses and separates were paired with coordinating embellishments that mixed solid colored jewels with pearl and silver sequins.


-Story and photo by Mariana Leung, publisher of


New York Fashion Week Recap: Monique Lhuillier



New York Fashion Week is well underway and contributor Mariana Leung’s got the inside scoop on the shows. Here, her recap of Monique Lhuillier’s spring 2015 collection.


Monique Lhuillier’s spring 2015 collection was dreamscape of sheer and shimmer.

There was a black and white group towards the beginning of the show that featured laser-cut flowers as embellishment. The petals fluttered as the models walked. This motif was echoed in the iridescent flower confetti that showered the runway towards the end of the fashion show.

There were iridescent cocktail looks that will be popular among the affluent prom crowd. Pastel metallic fabrics, layers of sheer and iridescent finishes were reminiscent of 1980s West Coast party girls.

The models’ hair was combed back simply with a part down the middle. The makeup was very neutral, almost bare. The footwear of choice was metallic sandals that would transition well from day into night.

The showstoppers of the runway were the full skirted gowns with delicate floral embroidery. To me, that is Monique’s signature look. The dark purple against the pale lilac was striking and feminine. Look for these to be worn on the red carpet in upcoming awards seasons. There were mint green, pale yellow, ivory and pale blue gowns, also with elegant embellishments. These would also make a gorgeous bridal alternative for modern weddings.


Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 11.35.18 AM

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 11.35.28 AM


— Story and photos by Mariana Leung,



The Studio Ghibli Film You HAVE To See This Fall: “The Tale of The Princess Kaguya”




Hailed by Variety as “a visionary tour-de-force” after its international premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, the newest film from Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Grave of the Fireflies) is based on the classic Japanese folktale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter.

Eight years in the making, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya tells the untold story of Princess Kaguya, who was found inside a shining stalk of bamboo and raised by an old bamboo cutter and his wife. Kaguya grows into a beautiful woman and eventually ends up in the capital, surrounded by riches and pursued by five noble suitors. But the princess cannot escape her past and must eventually face her fate.


Directed by Isao Takahata, the film features the voice talents of Chloë Grace Moretz as the princess and James Caan as the Bamboo Cutter, as well as Filipino American actor Darren Criss, Chinese American actress Lucy Liu as Lady Sagami, Korean American actors Daniel Dae Kim and John Cho, and Japanese American actor Dean Cain.

Details In theaters October 17.

This story was originally published in our Fall 2014 issue. Get your copy here.

EQUITANCE: The Must-Have Skincare Collection That Brings Beauty From Inside Out


When it comes to skin care, Japanese women know a thing or two. For centuries, they’ve epitomized radiant, porcelain skin and developed a holistic approach to skin perfection known as “Bihada,” based on the Japanese belief that beautiful skin comes not just from skin care but what a woman eats and how she treats her body. Building on that philosophy, Japanese research-based wellness company Sunstar introduces an integrated skin care line 18 years in the making: Equitance.

Combining Japanese simplicity with botanicals, an advanced delivery system and daily supplements, Equitance is formulated to give women more radiant skin from the inside out. Sunstar scientists found that Linoleic acid, a naturally occurring fatty acid, had a measurable effect on diminishing the appearance of dark spots and discoloration, resulting in a more even tone and texture. Linoleic acid released over time through a unique microcapsule delivery system results in a patented combination that is clinically proven for its brightening efficacy. Botanicals like cherry blossom leaf extract and shell ginger extract are added to effectively hydrate the skin.

According to Dr. Annie Chiu, board-certified dermatologist and owner of The Derm Institute, “Equitance provides an effective but non-irritating formula to brighten complexion using Linoleic acid, which is proven to reduce the appearance of discolorations and promotes exfoliation of stored melanin that forms dark spots. It also doesn’t include any retinols or hydroquinone, making this a great option for sensitive skin.


“Equitance also offers an entire skin care routine focusing on brightening your complexion, including sunscreen,” Chiu continues. “When you combine a sunscreen with any brightening product, it offers the most effective regimen to address pigmentation. The ingredients found within this formula are also moisturizing and keep skin feeling soft.”

In addition to topical treatments, Equitance offers a dietary supplement with an exclusive blend of herbs, vitamin C and powerful hesperidin, an anti-oxidant with skin soothing properties. “I love that the Equitance line comes from a belief of not only focusing on the high quality skin care products that you put on your face, but that radiant skin also comes from how you take care of yourself with diet, supplements, exercise and meditation,” says Mitzi Dulan, RD, CSSD, an award-winning registered dietitian also known as “America’s Nutrition Expert.”

Need proof? Just look at the radiant skin of Equitance beauty vlogger ambassador and former beauty pageant makeup artist RAEviewer. Here, she gives us the scoop.


Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 12.49.42 PM

Q. How did you first get into skin care?

RAEviewer: I first started with Clinique sunscreen around age 13. In retrospect, I wish I had been more diligent about wearing it daily, but many sunscreens were rather greasy back then. At age 15, my skin-conscious grandmother encouraged me to use high-end skin care and presented me with a Shiseido Pureness kit (cleanser, toner, moisturizer) to help combat my oily T-zone.

Q. What is your skin care regimen?

RAEviewer: In the mornings, I currently use the Equitance Brightening Foaming Cleanser and follow up with the Brightening Toning Lotion. If I have time, I will use the Brightening Serum + Spot Corrector on my trouble spots and then apply the Equitance Hydrating Brightening Cream all over the face. If I’m short on time, I use the Cream alone. Most importantly, I never leave the house without applying a sunscreen that has both UVA and UVB protection.

Q. What are your main skin care concerns?

RAEviewer: I never struggled with acne as a teenager, but I had an unfortunate bout of serious cystic acne from waxing peach fuzz last year. Though I no longer suffer from active breakouts, I am currently working on healing the scarring and textural imperfections, which makes brightening and exfoliating my primary skin care concerns.

Q. How do you address these skin care concerns?

RAEviewer: I use quality skin care for best results. I also try to squeeze in a facial with extractions or a peel with a trusted professional every couple months to keep my skin free of congestion. Both treatments unfortunately require a week of down time, which is nearly impossible for me to accommodate nowadays, so I rely on my daily skin care products and sunscreen to achieve healthy skin.

Q. How do you incorporate Equitance into your skin care regimen?

RAEviewer: I like to incorporate Equitance into my morning routine. The brightening products have lovely, lightweight textures, so the skin care works well under makeup. I also like to travel with my Equitance favorites because the products are packaged in pretty plastic and do not weigh down my overnight bag or carry-on.

Q. What is your can’t-live-without Equitance product and why?

RAEviewer: My favorite Equitance product thus far has been the Brightening Serum + Spot Corrector. I love how easily it absorbs into the skin, and I will occasionally apply it all over (and not just on targeted areas) before the Cream if my skin is feeling lackluster and/or dry!


Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 1.15.48 PM


-Brightening Foaming Cleanser, $30: A luxurious cleanser to wash away makeup and environ- mental pollution residue.

-Brightening Toning Lotion, $50: A watery lotion to prep the skin and improve the efficacy of the Serum and Cream.

-Brightening Serum + Spot Corrector, $125: The star of the line, this serum is clinically proven to improve the appearance of dark spots and uneven skin tone.

-Hydrating Brightening Cream, $70: An ultra-light yet luxuriously rich cream that also features the patented blend of brightening ingredients with sustained delivery system.

-Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 36, $30: Mandatory for any skin care regimen, the fast-drying formula is also an effective primer for makeup.

-Skin Radiance Dietary Supplement, $50, 180 tablets: Calibrated to work with the balanced botanicals and proven technology of the brightening topical formulas, the supplement features a proprietary blend of ingredients designed to support radiance from within.

Get your brightening beauty on at 


This story was originally published in our Fall 2014 issue. Get your copy here



Dethroned Myanmar Beauty Queen Refuses to Return Tiara Until Pageant Apologizes

Last week, Miss Asia Pacific World dethroned Myanmar’s first international beauty Queen, May Myat Noe, for alleged dishonesty and accused her of absconding with a $100,000 tiara and free breast implants.

Noe lashed back in a press conference held in Yangon on Tuesday.

“I’m not even proud of this crown,” She said after opening a blue jewelry box and setting the tiara on the table, “I don’t want a crown from an organization with such a bad reputation.”

Photo Credit: Soe Zeya Tun of Reuters

Photo Credit: Soe Zeya Tun of Reuters



Noe said the South Korea-based pageant lied about her age, stating that she was 18 instead of 16. According to the pageant’s official website, the minimum required age to enter the contest is 18, but despite this restriction, May Myat Noe was somehow still allowed to compete.

She also denied accepting breast implants as claimed by David Kim, director of media for Miss Asia Pacific World. Kim had claimed that the $10,000 tab for the surgery was picked up by sponsors in order to enhance the teen beauty queen’s budding singing career.

“I was put under duress to undergo head-to-toe cosmetic surgery, which I refused… I didn’t have breast implants, but I don’t want to go into any details to preserve my dignity,” Noe said.

Photo Credit: Soe Zeya Tun of Reuters

Photo Credit: Soe Zeya Tun of Reuters


She also said she boarded a plane back to her home country before getting word of her dethronement and did not intend to steal the crown. However, now that the Swarovski tiara is in her possession, Noe refuses to return it without a “sorry.”

I will return the crown only when they apologize to Myanmar, for the dignity of our country,” she said.

Among other allegations, May Myat Noe said the organizers asked her to escort business tycoons “whenever they required” her company in order to generate funds to produce her music album.

Y.C. Choi, the president and founder of Miss Asia Pacific World, denied these claims and told AFP that the organization had photographic evidence of Noe on an operating table for the breast implant operation.

“She has been lying. She also lied at today’s news conference. She must return the crown,” Choi said, adding that his organization is ready to consider a lawsuit if Noe “refuses to cooperate.”

When The Korea Observer asked Choi what drove him to dethrone Noe as Miss Asia Pacific World 2014, he argued that Noe disgraced the organization by borrowing money from a nurse to buy $18 bras after breast implants, complaining about not having schedules sent to her in advance, and her unwillingness to pay extra expenses incurred during her mother’s extended stay.

This is not the first time Miss Asia Pacific World had a controversy.

In 2011, Amy Willerton, a contestant from Wales, alleged that the contest had been fixed after the contestant representing Venezuela was apparently named runner-up of the talent round before she even competed.

During the pageant’s four-year history, there were also other contestants who accused the officials of asking the women for sex in exchange for better rankings in the pageant.


This story was originally published on 

Photos via NY Daily News

“Lucky” Editor-in-Chief Eva Chen: The Super Cool, History-Making Sister You Wish You Had


She’s the chicer, cooler older sister you wish you had — one with all the ins on the best stuff, one you want to have a glass of wine with. Sure, Eva Chen’s the first Asian American editor-in-chief in the Condé Nast publishing empire and the youngest EIC at a major American fashion publication, but don’t let her trailblazing, history-making ways intimidate you. The Lucky magazine #girlboss is redefining what it means to be an editor in the 21st century and leading the charge for print to thrive in an increasingly digital world, one hashtag at a time. 


Eva Chen has just returned from a trip. “I took a very long, long, long vacation,” she says. “It was approximately three days.

“But it was my first time really and truly away,” she quickly adds. At a destination spa in the Poconos, Chen says she tried fly-fishing, took an upside-down yoga class, attempted to meditate (“which is the opposite of my personality, so it was 25 minutes of agony”), went wine tasting to sample local Hudson Valley and Pennsylvania vintages, and finished two books. “I know you’re not supposed to be like, I accomplished a lot on my vacation,” she says, “but I do feel like I accomplished a lot during my vacation.”

Even during a short getaway, Chen is a to-do-list-checking master. But that just may be her modus operandi, especially since her ascent to the position of editor-in-chief of Lucky magazine, Condé Nast’s publication devoted to shopping and personal style. On any given day, six floors above Times Square, Chen may be finishing up one of her more than a dozen appointments, responding to hundreds of reader emails, getting primped for a photo shoot, holding a biweekly mentoring interview with a young future editor, or sifting through hundreds of photos, trying to decide, perhaps, which photo of Dakota Fanning should be the one to grace the cover of Lucky’s September 2014 issue.

These are just a few of her duties as the top editor, a position she describes as “four simultaneous jobs.” But the post ultimately comes down to making choices on stories and photos that will connect to the fashion magazine’s readers. If her choices result in an increase in the number of subscribers and website visits, that will surely make the publisher and advertising sales people happy. And it just might please her boss, the notoriously hard-to-please Anna Wintour.

But even here, in the rarefied publishing air at 4 Times Square, headquarters for the Condé Nast empire (which includes titles like Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and Bon Appétit), there’s one person whose opinion may hold even more sway: Chen’s mother, who follows her 34-year-old daughter on Instagram. The other 200,000-plus followers of Chen’s social media musings are eager to weigh in, too, on everything from pictures of her outfits (accessorized with her signature peace signs), the beauty products she’s gone through, her famous fashion friends who stop by her office, and her shoe-bag combo for the day posted on the commute to work. Chen gets thousands of comments, and she wholeheartedly welcomes the feedback.

“I’m cultivating Lucky into a lifestyle brand,” says Chen, “and I want people to get a sense of what it’s like to be a magazine editor.”



Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 3.59.13 PM


It was the summer of 2013 when Condé Nast’s Artistic Director and Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour tasked Chen with rebranding Lucky and relaunching its website. In the process, Chen not only became the youngest editor of a major U.S. fashion magazine but also the first Asian American to hold the top editorial position at a Condé Nast title. Lucky, originally modeled after Japanese shopping publications, had changed the fashion magazine formula when it debuted in December 2000, but was hit hard by the 2008 recession and in need of a boost. Chen, who started as a beauty writer at Elle magazine in 2002 and spent seven years at Teen Vogue as beauty and health director, as well as special projects editor, now works directly with Wintour on the direction of Lucky. “She is the pre-eminent magazine editor, so to learn directly from her has been a great privilege,” says Chen.

But where Vogue is aspirational, Lucky is accessible, and that’s a reflection of Chen. As part of a younger generation of technologically savvy editors and writers (she organizes the twice-a-year Lucky Fashion and Beauty Blog conferences, a.k.a. FABB, that connects everyday style bloggers to celebrities, models and stylists), Chen knows the importance of stepping into the spotlight and actively making connections both in person and online. Her Klout score, which measures a person’s online influence on a scale of 1 to 100, is more than 70 (which is generally considered celebrity level). And from 2013 to 2014, Lucky saw a 34 percent growth in its social media footprint.

With the help of the virtual world, Lucky is being talked about again, as it brings in a new demographic. Currently, the average reader of the magazine is 38 years old, but according to Condé Nast metrics posted online, users of the website, for which Chen is still trying to work out the bugs from a recent redesign, are younger and more affluent. A year into her tenure, the total circulation of Lucky is at 1.1 million, and the website gets 22 million hits a month. As of May 2014, Lucky had added 18.7 percent more pages to its publication, with a 2.1 percent gain in ad pages and 41 new advertisers, including high-end luxury retailers Fendi and Louis Vuitton.

And it’s not just the advertising. Unlike most fashion magazines where high-fashion runway photos are staples, the editorial pages of Lucky are filled with street style shots and street style-inspired spreads. Fashion and beauty bloggers contribute regularly, and there is a distinctly more multiethnic look to the faces on the pages. As soon as she took the helm at Lucky, Chen asked the casting director to find a more diverse selection of models, and the change was evident from the start. Chen’s debut issue, September 2013, alone featured the Asian faces of fashion director Anne Keane, photographer Phil Oh, blogger Esther Quek, TV host Alexa Chung, magazine editor Caroline Issa, and models Pan Yan, Bonnie Chen, Tao Okamoto, Chanel Iman and Liu Wen. Chen is especially proud of the recent May issue, which features a particularly cool looking Indian model, Natasha Ramachandran, in a summer beauty spread called “A Look of One’s Own.”

“There are so many stylish women on social media that will redefine what beauty is,” says Chen, citing YouTube makeup sensation Michelle Phan and super bloggers like Aimee Song. “I hope that has a trickle-down effect. I’m really inspired by what they’re doing.”

Chen herself should be added to that list. When she posts a picture on Instagram previewing this cover story for Audrey and soliciting questions, she gets more than 600 likes within 10 minutes. Her followers want to know everything from where she got her adorable Hello Kitty iPhone case to how good her Chinese is. One follower writes, “Thank you so much for being so relatable — you’re a role model, and sometimes it makes me tear up when I think about you and other Asian American creatives … being visible for the little Asian American kids right now. They have you all to look up to, and that’s really something.”

“I always wanted a sister,” says Chen, whose only sibling is an older brother. “I think that’s why I always gravitated towards fashion and media, so I can be the older sister and dispense the advice.”



eva chen


Fashion and journalism weren’t always in the cards for Chen, however. Growing up in New York’s Greenwich Village with a Taiwanese mother and a Shanghainese father, Chen was an English and creative writing major on a pre-med track at Johns Hopkins University when she decided to change directions and pursue journalism. Her parents — whose immigrant story is fairly typical, with her father working at a restaurant in Chinatown before starting his own business, “making everything happen so that my brother and I could go to the best schools we had available to us” — were shocked and confused, but not necessarily disappointed.

“The lack of perceived stability [in the media world] can be intimidating,” says the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism alum. “My parents are very supportive because they truly want me to be happy. I think it helps I don’t ask them for money for groceries,” she laughs.

Despite having gone to an Upper East Side all-girls school with few Asian classmates, Chen has always embraced her Asian-ness, having served as president of the Asian American Association and then as vice president of the Chinese Student Association in college. “I’m always the first to say I’m Chinese American, first-generation American, child of immigrants, and my parents made everything possible for me,” she says. Her family speaks “Chinglish” at their regular get-togethers, where they still eat Chinese food “like almost every night.” And even someone in Chen’s position is not immune to your typical immigrant parent’s, shall we say, reticence to compliment.

“My parents’ generation of Asian parents are not the kind of people to say they’re so proud, or ‘good for you,’ or ‘congratulations.’” Chen adds, good-naturedly, “My mom very kindly sends me a critique of the magazine every single month. Yeah, she does that. It’s very Asian. Which is at once comedic and yet also still hair-tearing-out-y.”

That being said, Chen admits that if a young woman comes up to them at a restaurant and starts gushing, her parents “find it kind of bewildering, but I think secretly gratifying, even though I don’t think they would ever tell me that to my face.”

One way her parents are atypical is in their silence about her having kids with her British husband, Tom Bannister, whom she met while studying abroad at Oxford her senior year. “They see how I’m putting literally every fiber of my being into this position,” she says. “I’ve been at this magazine for nine months, which is about the time it takes to give birth to child, and I think they know how tunnel vision I’ve been about that.”

Being Asian has “always been a part of who I am,” says Chen. “I think in the fashion and media industry today, there are so many people pretending to be something they’re not — personality-wise, image-wise, lifestyle-wise. And for me, I am who I am. I’ve never really had a reason to question that. I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve never had to ask myself, ‘Did I not get this because I’m Asian?’”

Recognizing the tie to the growing Chinese market abroad, Chen sees fashion as being quicker to embrace the Asian face, not just the designers but in the modeling industry as well. She cites Liu Wen, whom she considers a friend, and Korean American Soo Joo Park, whose blond locks kicked off a trend. “But there are still not enough,” she says, adding, “The fact I can name every Asian working in fashion — is that a good thing or bad thing? I don’t know, but it’s a fact.”


But if fashion still has a ways to go, Hollywood, in Chen’s mind, is woefully in the dark ages. Though she calls herself “a very even-keeled person,” she speaks passionately when the conversation turns to the lack of Asian faces in Hollywood. “You know that classic icebreaker question: Who would play you in a movie? And I’m always like, ‘Well, I don’t know, maybe Morgan Freeman, maybe Melissa McCarthy.’ Because there aren’t enough Asians.

“It makes me really angry,” she continues. “I don’t understand how it’s still OK for certain shows to have humor that’s directed against Asians that would not be OK for many other ethnicities.” She mentions one sitcom with an unflattering Asian male character (though she admits she hasn’t watched in a few years, she says, “I watched that show once and I had to turn it off … I was horrified”), as well as a tech industry-based series that offends her “feminist streak” by its lack of female representation. “There’s one woman; she has a secretarial role,” she says. “That kind of thing I find outrageous, especially because I know so many strong, smart women in tech who are just changing the world.”

Chen hopes that Hollywood will one day catch up to other industries, like hers, that have more Asian Americans in positions of power. She can’t wait to sit down someday with Janice Min, the former editor-in-chief of Us Weekly who is now running The Hollywood Reporter. Chen has also recently chatted over lunch with Joyce Chang, the newly minted editor-in-chief for Self magazine.

Asian American women specifically, says Chen, start with a handicap of appearing quiet and passive. “It took me 30 years to get comfortable with myself. You have to work harder to be heard. Standing up for yourself is the hardest thing to do.”



Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 3.59.47 PM


When Chen first landed the coveted EIC title, it was the minority designers who were among the first to reach out to her. Of course, she knows them on a first-name basis: Jason (Wu), Phillip (Lim), Carol and Humberto (Lim and Leon, respectively, of Kenzo and Opening Ceremony). And on the occasion of her Audrey photo shoot — which marks the first time she’s gracing the cover of a magazine — she called in only Asian American designers from the Lucky closet.

As she’s getting her hair and makeup done for the shoot, dressed in a chic sweater and Topshop heeled loafers that she’s already shown to her Instagram followers on the way to work, she is multitasking, a mock layout of the next issue taped on the adjacent wall. And who could blame her? In addition to editing the monthly magazine on a day-to-day basis, Chen is responsible for coming up with new ideas for the brand. (Condé Nast just announced a spin-off e-commerce platform, with Chen as its chief creative officer.) And yet she insists on nine hours of shut-eye a night, something she has previously called her secret to staying sane.

During a time when the magazine industry is in flux and struggling to stay relevant in a digitally fragmented world, Chen remains, as always, “glass half-full.” With each post and hashtag, she’s bridging the gap between consumer generations and breaking down barriers.

“For me, it’s been about bringing a fresh perspective,” says Chen. “Lucky’s a magazine about shopping, but it’s also a magazine about personal style. I think that’s the elusive thing that everyone’s trying to figure out right now.

“And we don’t talk down to you,” she adds. “The voice that Lucky pioneered was this friendly, accessible, we’re-your-best-friend voice. If you see us in real life, we’d invite you to sit down with us and have a glass of wine or go shopping with us.”

Though Chen admits she may be losing readers of a certain demographic — she cites a letter from a 52-year-old first-time grandmother who says she no longer identifies with the content — for every one letter like that, Chen gets three letters from 20-somethings who are discovering the magazine for the first time or former subscribers who are rediscovering it. “Every letter that I get like that — I’m not gonna lie — brings a tear to my eye and makes me so, so, so happy,” she says.

Chen still remembers being a 21-year-old intern at Harper’s Bazaar, walking through Times Square, with its tourists buzzing and giant billboards flashing, and passing by what was then a newly built Condé Nast Building, with aspirations of being part of the story- telling going on inside.

Thirteen years later, ensconced on its sixth floor, Chen looks like a pro, seamlessly changing from one outfit to the next for her photo shoot. But she retains the spirit of that 21-year-old intern, as she acknowledges that she’s still learning on the job. “I feel very grateful to be even in this position,” says Chen. “My entire career has been a great risk and a great adventure.”


This story appeared in Audrey‘s Fall 2014 issue — get it here.

Story by Ko Im, with contributions by Anna M. Park and Ada Tseng.

Photos by Conan Thai.

Makeup by Brian Duprey, hair by Chris Lospalluto.



Fall Street Style: Asia’s All About Casual Crewnecks


Summer is slowly withdrawing its balmy qualities for the cool, crisp days of our colder months. Much to our delight, this means a new wardrobe rotation begins!

For some simply bringing back their favorite fall items is satisfying, for others it means new retail therapy sessions—out with the old, in with the new.  If you do decide to revamp your closet staples, take a peek at this early fall tendency for Seoul city dwellers with all its variations: the casual crewneck sweatshirt.


The crewneck originated as an American football sporting garment in the 1930s, and now it has been diversified plenty of times with urban streetwear brands.   While some opt for a more fitted size, you can go oversized and layer away as the temperatures continue to drop into winter.  While heat makes it difficult to look fresh in the heavier fabricated sporty trends, it’s September so those who love to embrace the runway’s more workable options can break them out.

Graphic print sweatshirts are popping up all over Seoul’s streets.

crew 1

Photo Courtesy Of

crew 2

Photo Courtesy Of

crew 3

Photo Courtesy of


Others go for the more solid, classic look.

crew 4

Photo Courtesy of

Can’t get enough?  Check out these fall and winter 2014 collection crewnecks from a few contemporary womenswear designers and brands.

crew 5

Rag & Bone New York’s graphic chainstitch sweatshirt in grey heather. Available at: for $325

crew 6

The Agi Mixed-Media Sweater in cement marl and silver from All Saints. Available at for $250.

crew 7

Helmut Lang’s more unconventional Waft Sweatshirt in black. Available at for $275.

crew 8

Alexander Wang’s Paisley Pullover with contrasting sheer cutouts. Available at for $595.