Hello there, Honey
This bubbly fashionista has got it going on. Her home: immaculate, dress sense: fabulous, Jakarta know-how: like no other. We headed to her home to snoop her personal style (and her handbag) just because we want what she’s got! Meet Elizabeth Vassie.
So we hear you grew up in Jakarta. Tell us a bit about that and how did you end up here for a second stint?
The world works in mysterious ways doesn’t it? Due to my father’s work, I moved here as a child in the 80’s and left as a teenager in the 90’s. Now, 20 years on with my husband’s work, I’m back with my own beautiful children to do it all again!
I’ve had a magnetic pull to Indonesia since leaving all those years ago. While based in Switzerland, we even chose Bali for a gorgeous wedding amongst the paddy fields in Ubud. Now that I’m back I feel very at home and love all the opportunity and vibrancy Jakarta has to offer.
The most amazing story of all is that, on returning, we were able to track down Sumi, my beloved housekeeper from the age of seven! It’s just wonderful to have her back in my life and my two little boys absolutely adore her! Living so far away from family, it’s so important to maintain strong bonds like these. I feel very lucky indeed!
We love how you put everything together in your home! What are your fave pieces?
Our home is certainly a reflection of our family dynamic. By osmosis, having two sons and a husband outnumbering me, my style has become more masculine in both colour and texture.
Our furniture selections seem to be a fusion of midcentury modern and urban industrial. We then mix natural woods, metals, and leathers for depth and contrast. I like to soften this hard look with small bursts of colour, striking wall décor, and art (anything winged or horned floats my boat!), eclectic lighting and strong graphic prints in throws, rugs, and cushions. Lastly, I add quirky ceramics filled with flowers and the odd Dyptique candle to fragrance the home; the Figue or Baies scents do it for me!
For a piece to have made the cut, I have to really love it, therefore it’s hard to choose favourites. However, my chosen few have been special gifts so they really mean so much more: The fabulous walnut apothecary sideboard from my better half, the luxurious Melin Tregwent welsh throw on the sofa from my family, and the beautiful oak credenza which my husband and I designed together and was then handcrafted by my clever Dad as a wedding gift. I am also fortunate to have a screen printer as a brother and a fine artist as a Grandfather, both of whom have given us some special pieces over the years. With an art and fashion background myself, you could say our family is a little bit obsessed with design and creativity!
Can you give us the scoop on great furniture finds in the city?
My go to spots for cool furniture are Rumah Lunar, Tryst, and Savvy for chic teak furniture, trunks, and one off eclectic or industrial pieces. I love AlvinT for his custom made rugs and wall coverings. He combines contemporary design with a traditional Javanese twist. Cayenne is a must for their trestle drafting desks and glass jars. And for lighting, I head to Aksara or Ethnicraft for task lamps or tripods, and to Le Souq for vibrant lampshades and cushions.
When I’m looking for special homewares and gifts then I’ll head to Papilion Living for candles and beautiful ceramics. The Goods Dept, 2madison, and Dialogue are also fantastic for finding pieces by upcoming Indonesian furniture/ product designers including home accessories, lighting, and cool oversized typography for your wall. For a bit more of a splurge on European design, go to Decorous for a sublime collection of Vitra classics, and pop next door to Bika to indulge in a little Missoni for your sofa.
My tip? Edit your selections and mix different pieces from different designers to avoid creating a space straight out of one of their catalogues. Your home will tell a bigger story if you’ve had more of an adventure choosing your ‘forever’ pieces.
We know you’re the “go to” girl for styling. Please share some everyday styling tips.
Put on one thing a day that you love and makes you smile. You will feel instantly good about yourself and I expect others will notice and compliment you, if not for the item, for your smile and the twinkle in your eye!
I’m a big fan of lux or oversized accessories, whether it is a gigantic handbag, a chunky gent’s watch, fine gold necklaces, or a statement bib. When you wear such pieces, you can dress very simply in fine cottons, linens, and printed silks, allowing these pieces to speak volumes!
After all those mani-pedis, your tootsies have never looked better, so banish your grubby rubber flip flops and invest in lux embellished leather sandals and flats. Your feet will thank you!
Keep make-up fresh and minimal by day. I love Laura Mercier for her dewey tinted moisturizer with SPF20 and Korres for their pomegranate tinted lip butter (great on cheeks and lips). A swipe of mascara and a groomed set of brows, and you are good to go.
We LOVE your jewellery collection! Tell us about your fave pieces.
I am a magpie; there, it’s out. I adore British designer Alex Monroe for his nature inspired pieces and I wear his Bumblebee nearly every day! I have a huge Malene Birger enamel bib necklace, which projects a simple vest and jeans into another realm, and looks fab over prints or kaftans. My most recent purchase has been a fabulous necklace by Mawi, as seen on my deer friend! Again, it will instantly add attitude to an average outfit. I am often seen in a cool resin and wooden piece by Indonesian designer, More and More. Lastly, my everyday essential is a beautiful and simple Dower & Hall gold bangle, a recent gift from my parents.
For special occasions, I love wearing the antique gemstone pieces passed on to me by my Mum, Aunt, and both Grandmas. Because of these women, I have grown up with a passion for all things beautiful and of fabulous quality. As a child I would dress up in my Nanna’s glamorous satin gowns and don her mink shrugs, I’d pour over photos of my Mum in Ossie Clark dresses and her enviable Harvey Nics wardrobe (none of which she kept!!). My paternal Grandma loved to tailor her own clothes and would accessorise to perfection. Even now in her eighties, she will not leave the house without immaculate hair, make up, and a carefully put together outfit. I guess it was inevitable that I would end up a slave to it all!
Are there any particular local designers you swear by?
I love mooching around Galleries Lafyette, Debenhams, Foundry no.8, and Goods Dept as they all stock extensive collections by up and coming young and hip designers.
I love Paperdolls for their delicate and slouchy pieces, Biasa for their wafer thin cotton boyfriend shirts and glamorous kaftans, and I head to XSML for quirky offbeat asymmetric separates and great costume jewellery to boot!
So we want to know (sorry for being so nosey!) What does a stylist carry in her handbag?
That’s an easy one! As I am continuously making shopping lists for myself and for clients, I always tote my Moleskine diary and workbook around with me. I’m rarely without my favourite sunglasses, my smart phone for round the clock Internet research, Keihls ultimate strength hand salve (the best hand cream EVER!), and headphones (music en route is a must). My newest Mulberry is always VERY heavy, not just because of the content, but because I have a penchant for whopping bags covered in fabulous hardware, studs, and buckles!
What new purchases are you eyeing?
I am hankering after Isabel Marant’s 3-tiered lapis lazuli necklace, a Diego bag from Alexander Wang, which is luxuriously edgy and covered in his signature studs. Any of the fabulous gem stone necklaces in Pistos, an Etioloa striped jacket from Malene Birger, and for my bed, a large Missoni throw for a hit of vibrant colour. Now, let’s hope Father Christmas follows Honeycombers!
All images taken by Rebecca Viveash, a freelance photographer who specialises in lifestyle, portrait and wedding photography.