The wife of Hong Kong financier and dynastic rich, V-nee Yeh (Value Partners founder) is a fashionista and A-list socialite in the city.

Fashion lover Mira Yeh explained, "I wanted to match all my Chanel accessories," so she
chose an Adam Jones top, Libertine skirt,
Martin Margiela shoes, and a Fendi wrap.   
Fashion lover Mira Yeh explained, "All my life I wanted to own a deranged poodle but the ones in Hong Kong are creepily sane"

Some of Hong Kong's ladies who lunch - better known as tai-tais - are facing a minor dilemma. Spending big-time is currently viewed as more crass than chichi.

"It's now a crime to spend a lot in today's market," says socialite Mira Yeh. "The buying mood is just not there since Sept. 11." The global recession has seen some tai-tais cut their luxury goods spending sprees by 30%-50%. That's a fair chunk out of a habit that, according to socialite Lelia Chow, can run over $100,000 a year. Yeh says tai-tais are more price-conscious than ever before: "All the stores were empty until the early private sales started."

The self-confessed "professional shopper," who prides herself on "never being photographed twice in the same outfit," recently opened her own boutique. Despite having a fineexcuse to shop overseas, Yeh decided to curb her spending: "I was in New York last week, and I felt really guilty walking into Bergdorf Goodman when everyone was so down."

Her pain is shared. "I still go shopping, but I just try to stay low-profile and not flaunt all my bags of goodies around," one anonymous socialite says. "I wouldn't say I feel guilty; I'm just morally aware." To deal with her internal angst, this tai-tai has cut her shopping trips to Paris, Milan and New York. Instead, she is ordering from shops over there by telephone: "They ship the pieces to my door. It saves me a trip."

Not every member of Hong Kong's rich set is sympathetic to the current depressed spending mood. "Economics is simple," says socialite and avid jewelry collector Wendy Wan. "If you are strong, you will survive. If you are weak, you're out." Another tai-tai quips: "It's not embarrassing to be indulgent if you can afford it. If you've been shopping all your life, how can you be expected to stop?"

Combine that excuse with a 30% discount tag, and kerrching!, a brand-new handbag for the holiday season. The guilt among this set won't last long, surely.
     - 2001 November 30   ASIA WEEK

Socialite, fashion diva and devoted mother to seven-year-old daughter Nadya. A patron of the Hong Kong Ballet, she is also on the Hong Kong International School Committee and writes for society magazine Talkies.

"The best present I've ever received was the first picture my daughter ever drew for me, when she was three. It's kept locked away in a safe place.

"My other best present was given to me by my very good friend in New York - a paperweight in the shape of a diamond ring. It's a replica of a Tiffany ring with a 120-carat rock, made of crystal - Swarowski, I think.

"It's really pretty as a paperweight, but the beauty of it is that you can also wear it as a bracelet. On the card, my friend wrote that diamonds are a girl's best friend.

"She knows I don't wear diamonds - I may lose them. I won't ever lose this one. Christmas is a time to get in touch with friends far away, and this funny paperweight always reminds me of her. It also makes me laugh. It is a gift I treasure."   - 2003 December


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