Apr 25th, 2018, 04:16 PM

YSL IT Girl: Shala Sluijser

By Janice Louis
Image Credit: Instagram/@shala_ss
YSL it girl and avid traveler (she’s been to over 140 countries!), Shala Sluijser shares some of her fashion insights. A well-travelled, doting wife, and mother to 1 shares some her favorite runway trends, some differences in Caribbean versus Singaporean style, and more.

Where are you from? What is your nationality?

I’m from Singapore, but I’ve been living in Switzerland for the past 5 years.

What do you like to do in Switzerland?

I like to climb mountains because there’s so many of them. I definitely consider it a work-out.

How often do you work out?

I work out at least 2 hours a day for 5-6 days a week, which is my normal routine when I am home in Switzerland. I love to eat and I don’t believe in diets. I will usually do a detox and eat raw foods for 3 days if I’ve had a long night of drinking. No alcohol for at least 1 week and a 3-day detox where I only eat RAW fruits and lots of veggies, salads, and soups, no carbs, no meats. More exercise: Just eat less !!!

What was fashion like for you growing up on the islands?

Well, Singapore is a hot and humid place, so you wear a lot of summery shorts and dresses. I was actually a bit of a tomboy growing up. My dad used to wear these big platform heeled shoes and my mom was always fashionable. They were really funky. I wore these spitfires from the 80s-90s, I lived in them. Then, at 15, my mom told me I needed to start wearing high heels.

Do you have a different perspective on fashion now?

Well, as I got older, I started to wear less color. I don’t like pink though.

Why?

Well, because when my mom started buying dresses for me, they always used to be pink. Anytime I buy it I end up not wearing it or giving it away. I’ll wear like a hot pink shoe thought. My style is rocker chic and edgy. You should know your own style.

Are you the only fashion-focused individual in your family?

My son is 15 and he has a lot of Italian friends, so he’s becoming more fashion conscience even though he won’t admit it.

*Shala’s husband, listening in the background*: I am not fashion conscience at all.

Shala replied, “It’s true but I help him out. He still looks good in a t-shirt and shorts. If we’re traveling he’ll lay out what he wants to pack on the bed and I’ll go through it to see what matches.”


Who and what inspires your style?

Growing I always loved Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Sophia Loren. She's a ‘sex bomb’. I also like Milan and Paris street styles.

Do you feel Caribbean style is different from Asian (Singaporean) style? How so?

Caribbean women naturally have fuller bodies so when you go out at night, you see a lot of very sexy makeup, nails, and boobs.

In Singapore it’s more mixed because we are a very rich country, people are very well educated and well traveled, we are more exposed to fashion and have the luxury of a big spending power. Think New York City. That’s Singapore in Asia, but so much cleaner and safer. Women are very sophisticated there.

To give you an idea, VIP clients are invited to fashion week based on their spending power. Women are very fashion conscious. We have AUDI fashion week every year showcasing local designers. Women are FASHIONABLE in Singapore. You see them wear things from the runways around the world. And when they have less spending power, they wear clothes inspired by the current fashion trends. But every woman you meet in Singapore will have at least one if not more, very expensive luxury brand handbag. When the fashion houses start inviting VIP clients to other big events around the world, then you can be assured their spending power is quite BIG, to say it nicely.

Do you know of any Caribbean designers?

The Caribbean isn't only about sea and sand. Local designers are adding style to the equation with island-inspired clothing, jewelry, and accessories. 

One of the most famous designers is Kristin Frazer from Tortola, the BVI. Well-known fact that Beyonce wears some of her swimwear (Trefle Designs) on her summer Mediterranean holidays. 

The other one to know is Barbados-based designer Esther Lussan, a fashionable bag designer (Island Bags). She started out when she could not find the right bags for herself on her travels and vacation, so she decided to design her own. Before long, everyone was wanting one of her bags. 

How far back does your relationship go with YSL, LV, and others go?

I met the YSL Maison In Singapore about 10 years ago. I used to be the IT girl of YSL when I lived in Singapore, especially from 2011-2014. They still label me as their "IT girl" back home to this day. I've loved Anthony Vaccarello designs when he was designing under his own name. So, I've been wearing his pieces since before he joined the Maison Saint Laurent. I love his no holds barred, in-your-face designs.

What would you buy at YSL versus LV?

Evening gowns and cocktail dresses. I prefer YSL designs as they are more edgy and “rock chick”, more my style. They can even be classy and sexy at the same time. I find some pieces from LV are either too classic or, when they are edgy, it actually is not as easy to wear as it looks on the runway. YSL, in my eyes at least, has more STYLE. It's just a matter of taste. Having said that though, I wear quite a lot of LV pieces to my son's school events. And I love the handbags made by LV. My “special order” and “rare pieces” collection is growing over the past 3 years from the house of LV. I think in handbags, I have more special pieces from LV than from YSL (where I also buy more of their runway pieces).

What is the first thing you notice about runway looks?

I need that ‘wow’ factor. I like something that is edgy and different. Try not to overdo things and they should be wearable as separate pieces. When you’re dressing for an event or anything at all, you should only show either boobs or legs. If you wear a very low cut piece on top, that shows off skin in the décolleté area or bare shoulders, you should wear something longer at the bottom. If you are showing off your gorgeous tanned legs in shorts or a mini, then cover up the décolleté more. It’s just more classy this way. Think Sophia Loren. Always leave something to the imagination. A SEXY woman knows this. If you show off all your goods, there’s nothing left to imagine, is there?

What are some trends you hate/love?

I don’t like those spacy, crazy things with big shoulders. I’m not going to name the designer. I’m not a fan of the plastic shoes either. If you’re going to use plastic at least make it vinyl. Give me leather any day. My husband used to tell me “pay for the Quality, never for the Quantity my love”. My mom gifted me my first pair of Ferragamos. If you go to Milan, Italy they have the best high fashion

What are some things you can't live without?

My phone and a car key, I like to drive and lip balm. I can’t believe I just said my phone.

What is your all-time favorite piece to wear from the runway?

A YSL jumpsuit from Spring 2011.

How would you style a LBD (little black dress)?

Earrings, if they are long and big, then that’s it – or statement bangles and a ring. Sometimes you dress it from your feet up.

Anything else to add on Caribbean fashion, luxury fashion? Dressing on the islands?

Walk in like you own the damn place. It shows confidence.

Thank you Shala! We're excited to see where you're headed to next. You can follow Shala on Instagram for more fashion, travel and workout inspo @shala_ss. Be sure to follow her YSL journey in Cannes for the Film Festival.

All images courtesy of Shala Sluijser