This year marks the 100th anniversary of Gucci, a house driven by creativity and craftsmanship. And what better way to celebrate than by meeting people who also give 100 percent effort? These rare individuals not only dare to dream big, they also reinvent and influence how we live today.
All clothes and accessories worn throughout the shoot are by Gucci.
Photography: Veronica Tay
Styling: Dolphin Yeo
Art direction & project management: Maureen Cheng
Makeup: Ginger Lynette Leong using Gucci Beauty
Hair: Grego using Keune
Stylist’s assistant: Nikki Loh
With his latest EP, Edge of Days, Nathan Hartono, 30, reveals an artist who is not afraid to experiment and try something a little off-centre. “I’ve always loved unpredictability and I feel like the idea of me has gone a little stale. I’m looking to shake it up a little,” is how he puts it. Hartono debuted as a singer in 2005 and, in 2016, became the first Singaporean to make it to the finals of Chinese singing competition Sing! China. His powerhouse performances won him second place and new fans all over Asia, thrusting him into the spotlight. He was nominated as Most Popular Overseas Singer at the 2017 MTV Global Chinese Music Awards, was chosen to sing the theme song for the 2020 National Day Parade, and landed a clutch of high-profile partnerships with brands such as Amazon, Disney and the Singapore Tourism Board. “I’m just liking myself more as a musician. I’m either getting better or more confident, or more delusional. I’m loving the journey though,” he says wryly. “I have plans to do a lot more within the music community to jump-start the arts scene. The last couple of years have left the industry quite fragmented, but it’ll be fun to put those pieces back together in new and interesting configurations.”
Viscose rayon and ostrich feather tuxedo jacket; matching viscose rayon trousers; silk crepe de chine shirt; leather Gucci 100 belt bag.
Hair & makeup for Nathan: Manisa Tan/Paletteinc using Nars & Neune
She used to be a pop star and now she’s a real estate entrepreneur, so it’s clear Race Wong doesn’t believe in standard career paths. After a brief career as a Cantopop star and actress, she decided she wanted “more control” over her future. She studied for her master’s degree in business and moved into buying, selling and developing property with her sister Rhonda. The siblings, who are both in their late 30s, quickly spotted a gap in the market for clear and transparent property services. In 2016, they launched property portal Ohmyhome. This integrated tech platform connects homeowners to home seekers for free and empowers property owners to buy, sell or rent, without relying on a real estate agent. Users can also tap on the platform’s suite of agent services, documentation services and more for a fee. Since its launch, Ohmyhome has transacted over $1 billion worth of real estate, and now has more than 180,000 property listings in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. The sisters have their sights set on expanding globally, after raising US$5 million (roughly S$6.7 million) in Series A+ funding.
On Rhonda: Satin tuxedo jacket; embroidered lace skirt; leather visor; gold ring; lace slingback heels.
On Race: Tweed jacket; wool knit top; satin skirt; leather sandal.
Amiera Raushan lives by the motto “I was created to create”. She has amassed almost 17,000 Instagram followers—and a notable list of beauty and fashion clients—thanks to her joyful portraits, positive energy, and great eye for lighting and composition. Her work is characterised by sunny optimism and authenticity. “When you want to be known for your style of work, you must always be yourself,” she says. “I’m a photographer and my work constantly evolves. Scouting for new locations, trying different angles or perspectives and playing with light… it all helps spur creativity and growth.” She has also been on the other side of the camera and is proud of the fact that she’s one of just a few girls in Singapore representing minorities as well as the only UK size 14 model in one of Love, Bonito’s ad campaigns. For her, dressing up is yet another form of creative expression. Her ensembles are put together based on what captures her mood on the day and what sparks joy, not what conforms to trends. “My wearable pieces of joy should always be on heavy rotation in my life—that’s the ultimate rule,” she adds. “I love being playful with my clothes, all day, every day. No one is to judge, really.”
Ostrich feather vest; cotton hoodie; silk scarf (in hair); leather jacquard Gucci 100 cross-body bag.
A self-taught chef who learned his skills from cookbooks and videos, Lennard Yeong, 34, took a chance and ditched the engineering career he hated to do what he loves: Cooking. He brought the sizzle to the first edition of MasterChef Asia and although he didn’t win, it opened the doors to a career in cuisine. Currently the in-house chef at Miele Singapore, he has hosted food documentaries on television and, in 2019, was guest chef at Torre, a highly rated restaurant in Milan. Despite all this, he’s not motivated by fame. “I don’t seek it. At one point, I took a step back from social media because it tired me out,” he reveals. “But during the pandemic, I started posting random cooking videos from home. People were cooking my recipes and tagging me, and it rekindled my joy. Inspiring people to cook, pushing them to try new things—that’s what really drives me now. As much as I want my food to taste good, I love the moments where I can bring people together.” How cuisine shapes culture is a subject close to Yeong’s heart. Among the fine dining experiences he showcases on Instagram (@lennardy), you’ll also find Singapore’s secrets, from his favourite hawker stall for sambal stingray to where you can buy the best live mantis shrimp and Thai river prawns.
Wool and feather jacket; matching wool trousers; cotton shirt; leather loafers.
Boo Junfeng, who turns 38 this December, has a shelf full of international awards. His debut feature film Sandcastle was the first Singaporean film invited to Cannes Film Festival’s International Critics’ Week in 2010. His second movie, Apprentice, also premiered at Cannes and went on to tour 80 film festivals around the world. When Boo started, his goal was simple: “I thought I could build sets or make costumes; I thought directing would be too stressful. But then I got the chance to make my own film… and I became [a director].” Since then, he has explored what it means to be human in feature films and shorts that range from psychological dramas to alternative takes on Southeast Asian history. “I try to use the [film-making process] to understand the human condition better,” says Boo, who is also Chairperson of the Singapore International Film Festival. “Characters and conflicts that challenge my existing notions excite me.” This year, he struck off in new creative directions for the National Day Parade, where he served as Creative Director, incorporating animation and augmented reality into the celebration that was made especially complex due to pandemic restrictions. Storytelling, though, remains his first love and his next project is a feature film that will be shot in Taiwan. “Filmmaking,” he shares, “is a long process. So when it meets an audience and you finally get a response, it’s a cathartic moment every time.”
Wool coat; crepe silk Gucci 100 shirt; matching shorts; leather jacquard Gucci 100 belt bag.
Eight years ago, Valerie Ding, 34, joined forces with her brother Calvin, 33, and sister Beatrice, 30, to revolutionise the fitness industry with CRUBOX. This studio-based fitness programme combines traditional boxing techniques with high-intensity training exercises, all done in a dim studio to a sweat-dripping dance beat. Fans describe this heady mix as clubbing minus the cocktails. The siblings since added cycling, yoga, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and meditation to their wellness programmes, and even expanded into fitness tech with the CRU TV Bike, a Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth-enabled exercise bike that streams music and exercise programmes directly to a high-resolution 21.5-inch screen at the front of the bike. The screen flips 180 degrees, so you can also use it to stream CRUBOX, HIIT and yoga classes too. “On-demand content is the future of fitness,” says Ding. “We develop all CRU TV Bike content ourselves and film new content every day at our in-house production studio. We already have hundreds of high-definition videos, so you can choose your own workout to suit your goals, time and music preferences.” A CRU app is also on the cards. “We can reach out to people who live anywhere in the world,” she says. “There is great power and energy from everyone moving together to the same beat.”
Silk dress; silk scarf (around wrist); gold ring; GG Supreme Canvas Gucci 100 Rhyton sneakers.
Billed as Southeast Asia’s top virtual influencer, Rae hit social media last October and has since amassed more than 900,000 followers on Weibo and Instagram. Rae—whose creators’ identities remain a mystery—is the first virtual influencer in Southeast Asia to drop a NFT series of animated digital artworks. NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are exploding now, especially in Asia, with limited-edition collections selling out online and displayed in virtual online galleries. Rae’s NFT series, titled “Take a Byte”, consists of three animated NFT artworks featuring herself. Each took more than 50 hours to create, using CGI technology and AI. Rae’s collaborations are also expanding at quantum speed. This August, she starred in her first music video, “Worlds”, with singer Benjamin Kheng, which features her drifting around a Matrix-style cyberworld. She has also partnered luxury carmaker Audi and now, Gucci. As she explains through her agents: “Being part of Gucci’s 100th anniversary is amazing! I’m definitely looking forward to doing more collaborative work.” She sees nothing but opportunities ahead. “Just as virtual influencers are redefining social media, technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrency can potentially reshape the future of a new hybrid reality, for all of us. It’s a wild ride, but it’s also very exciting.”
Mohair-wool jacket; cotton Gucci 100 tee; cotton and leather Bermuda shorts; leather boots
Design maverick Chris Lee, 51, thrives in unfamiliar surroundings. “It sparks fresh creativity in me. If I’m going to a meeting, I try to go a different route and see a new neighbourhood, or stop by a cafe I’ve never visited before,” he says. “When you’re not set in a regular pattern, it makes you more alert; you see things in a fresh light.” The founder of award-winning creative agency Asylum takes on cross-disciplinary projects that include branding, spatial design, digital content and product development. Some of his most notable work includes the interiors of The Warehouse Hotel and the logo of National Gallery Singapore. His newest projects include four hotels in China, Hong Kong and South Korea. He has also just launched Artifactt, a thoughtfully curated collection of tableware and homeware from artisans around the world. From handmade Japanese ceramics to wafer-thin European glassware, this is dining as a design statement. “Great design should touch someone emotionally. Whether it’s a tool you’re using or a space you walk into, it has to move you to take action or to feel something,” he states. He has equally strong views about what he wears. “I appreciate fashion with that rebellious spirit. I’m inspired by a different aesthetic, not mainstream. I like designs that celebrate the philosophy behind the garment.”
Cotton Gucci 100 coat; mohair-wool trousers; felt hat.
Ong Bee Yan launched her modelling career two years ago, at the age of 63. She’s living proof that one can teach an old dog new tricks, says the self-professed camera-shy introvert who claims she still gets nervous before a shoot. The grandmother of two also runs hipster cold-brew coffee business 1degreeC, which she co-founded with her husband, Richard. Getting the business off the ground has been a steep learning curve, but it has given her the chance to acquire new skills, such as marketing her product via social media to coffee-obsessed millennials and Gen Z customers. Now, she confidently juggles several accounts. Her personal Instagram account, @grey_evolution, is filled with pictures of her modelling assignments and chic OOTDs as well as the occasional video post, such as the one where she demonstrates a four-minute plank that reveals enviable core strength. By sharing these vignettes, she hopes to encourage and empower fellow seniors to challenge themselves and embrace new experiences. Refusing to let age define her, Ong embodies the transformative power of keeping an open mind. “The most rewarding thing about modelling,” she says, “is getting to meet young people, collaborate with them and learn from them. I’m challenged to give my best at every gig. And it gives me the opportunity to contribute to causes I care about.”
Velvet tuxedo jacket; cotton gilet; lace mesh blouse; lace skirt; GG crystal-embellished glove; matelassé chervon leather GG Marmont super mini bag.
Brave new directions come naturally to Shavonne Wong. Eleven years ago, the 31-year-old picked up photography as a hobby. Fortuitously, it led to a career. She has a stellar portfolio of advertising campaigns, fashion and beauty editorials for global brands and publications, and international celebrity shoots, including a showstopper with Billy Porter, star of the Netflix hit Pose. When the pandemic put a stop to photo shoots and travel, Wong, who made Forbes’ 2020 30 Under 30 Asia list, turned the crisis into her creative outlet. She taught herself 3D design and learned to create realistic digital avatars by watching YouTube tutorials. Convinced that virtual models can offer more flexibility and creativity, she founded Gen V, a virtual model agency in August last year. Her current roster of computer-generated creations, Kade, Lilium and Lunah, is racially diverse, like the flesh-and-blood models she has worked with throughout her career. And just like any human model, they can be hired by media and fashion brands for commercial shoots. Wong has also taken a leap into the white-hot NFT art space, creating digital artworks that feature her virtual models.
GG Canvas and leather jacket; matching shorts; wool knit top; metal sunglasses; GG Supreme Canvas Hourglass bag; leather boots.
Brought to you by Gucci