Yu Mei founder Jessie Wong on uniform dressing, style icons and the best city in the world to shop

Fresh from university, Jessie Wong launched her Wellington leathergoods label in 2015 with just six styles. Now with 36 stockists around the world and a flagship store at Commercial Bay, the understated luxury brand can be found in the hands of stylish women everywhere. We asked the go-getting fashion entrepreneur to share her mental mood board.

My personal style can be defined by: Resolved simplicity, utilitarian and functional. I love a uniform — usually a blazer paired with a silky pair of pants, and a strategically curated selection of wool base layers going into colder months.

The last thing I bought and loved was: A cashmere t-shirt from The Row, their quality is beyond luxury.

An unforgettable place I visited was: The Chateau Marmont with my friend Ch’lita. It was the most outrageously fun experience.

Next place I’d like to go to: Lake Como or Morocco.

The last thing I added to my wardrobe was: Shoes… Bottega Veneta heels that I’ll probably never have a chance to wear.

On my wish list is: Edition number one of The Gentlewoman magazine.

An object I would never part with is: My great-grandmother Vi’s Dux medal. It was given to me by my grandma and has always been an inspiration.

An indulgence I would never forgo is: Summer holidays camping by New Zealand beaches… with fish and chips from Tairua.

The best book I’ve read in the last year is: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. I cried the full three hour Eurostar trip from London to Paris.

My favourite app is: Instagram.

The design (building, person, item) that inspires me is: The Barcelona Pavilion by Mies van Der Rohe, the epitome of form follows function, and Miuccia Prada — an activist icon.

I can’t miss an episode of: The Handmaid’s Tale.

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city it would be: Melrose, LA.

My style icon is: Phoebe Philo.

In my fridge you’ll always find: Kimchi, organic veggies from our garden and Hallertau Number 2.

My favourite room in my house is: My conservatory. It gets the most amazing sunset views and looks over Wellington harbour.

I recently discovered: What a cover crop is… and the importance of worm farms.

The people I rely on for my wellbeing are: Jack my partner, my mum and dad, my incredible team and my friends.

My favourite website is: The Business of Fashion and the soon to be relaunched yumeibrand.com.

The podcasts I listen to are: Red Scare, Two Russian — New Yorkers With Some Questionable Opinions and How I Built this, with Guy Raz.

A gadget I can’t do without is: My iPhone and our four-slice toaster.

The one artist whose work I would collect is (if price is not an issue): Yves Klein.

Yves Klein, Helena (ANT 61), Lithograph

The last meal out I had that truly impressed me was: It was actually dinner at home from Rita in Te Aro, Wellington. I was so impressed by their skill in translating fine dining to home cooking. I also can’t stop thinking about the pepper sauce at Lucien in New York. If anyone has the recipe for that please let me know — the internet has not been fruitful.

The best gift I ever received was: My education.

The beauty product I can’t live without is: La Roche Posay Toleriane Cleanser and Avene Riche Face Cream — French pharmacie at its finest.

The last music I downloaded was: Some Bill Withers, rest in peace.

If I wasn’t doing what I am, I would be: I would be a lawyer.

I have a collection of: Leather handbags!



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