Globally Inspired Hong Kong Style-setters
Susanna Valerio / Youmna
What happens when three wildly stylish women of Italian and French/Lebanese descent respectively find themselves in the concrete jungle of Hong Kong, on the doorstep of China’s flourishing luxury consumer market? The answer is, the birth of two fabulous, internationally influenced labels - one featuring fun and exuberant bags and matching accessories, the other fine, contemporary jewellery.
For mother-daughter duo Susanna Valerio and Emanuela Santi, creating the namesake Susanna Valerio accessories line was the next logical step in what had already been a fashion-focused life’s journey for the pair. Susanna’s career in fashion design and buying took her across the globe, from her native Rome to New York, Rio de Janeiro and Cairo, before landing her in Asia with her young family, while Emanuela, a keen student of her mother’s innate style, went on herself to work in marketing for global brands like Hugo Boss and Lane Crawford.
Travelling together on a fateful sourcing trip, the women mused over the need for an expertly crafted, yet eco-friendly accessories line that would take chic women from day to night, and over a glass of wine, the dream became a reality. Manufactured in the Philippines from disposed-of shells and recycled wood, along with stainless steel, resin and snakeskin, the vibrant range spanning hard-case clutches, chunky bangles and necklaces, is as colourful and sleek as it is earthy and raw.
Hot pinks, cool blues, camouflage, animal and tribal prints, plus textural ‘patchwork’ pieces instantly turn the most basic outfit into a statement-packed ensemble, while simultaneously exuding style that would be as at home on the streets of Asia, as on the beaches and red carpets of the French Riviera and the cityscape of New York City. Since launching in 2009, the label has grown at lightning speed, with Hong Kong, London, Rome, Jeddah, Dubai and US stockists all clamouring to meet the growing demand.
Where Susanna Valerio evokes refreshing and playful modernity, US-trained jeweller Youmna’s distinctive, metal-based fine jewellery reflects a sensual, cultural influence, hardly surprising when you consider the designer’s heritage and early life in heritage-rich France and Lebanon.
Her collection of earstuds, cocktail rings, necklaces, cross pendants, cufflinks, bracelets, African bangles and signature gladiator cuffs feature
18k yellow and white gold, plus combinations of diamonds, rubies, turquoise, gold leaf, lapis, onyx, white agate and sapphires. Infused with sleek, contemporary functionality (clasps and locks are hidden to maintain the pure lines), the versatile, consummately stylish pieces have garnered the attention of some of the world’s foremost fashion bibles, including Vogue UK and Prestige Magazine, and seen Youmna build a dedicated and burgeoning global fan base.