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Name a major magazine and China Chow has graced its pages, but the style icon is more than just a fashion plate, she has serious art cred, too. As the daughter of restaurant mogul, Michael Chow and model/designer/muse, the late Tina Chow, China grew up surrounded by artists and influencers.
Now, as host and judge of Bravo's "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist," she's part of a new movement, making the super-elite world of fine art finally accessible.
In the midst of a hectic move from New York City to Los Angeles, China took time out of her busy schedule to dish on what's inside her evening bag. What I found inside was pratical, even crunchy. What a surprise! [Can I also just make an annoying interruption here to say "thank you" to China for being a true girls' girl and having my back that night in that yucky situation with that girl and the guy I liked? Long story. You are awesome. (I am Scorpio and thus never forget these things.) --Jane]
Nancy Gonzalez Box Clutch: This is a handmade crocodile box clutch. It’s my favorite evening bag, and I have them in all different colors. They’re my go-to evening bags. I love how clean the lines are and that there are no bells and whistles. I love the geometry of it.
Kleenex: This is for when I have allergies, or need to blow my nose, or spit out chewing gum.
Goody Spin Pins: They’re incredible. They work, and every single girl that I’ve shown them to has gone out and bought them. I should get stock in the company. They’re by Goody, and you buy them at the drugstore. You just put your hair up in a bun and you twist them in like a corkscrew. I have long hair so I get the longer ones, but I actually buy many packages and I use about three. Two will do the job, but if I want it to be really clean I use about three.
Altoids Smalls: For minty fresh breath (laughs). I prefer to eat natural, but I eat mints pretty often and it’s not as easy to go to the health food store all the time. There is a chewing gum that’s natural that I do like and it’s called Spry. That’s all-natural and sweetened with xylitol.
Shiseido Blotting Paper: Instead of powder, I use blotting papers.
American Express and Cash: Mmmhmm.
iPhone: I carry photos around but they’re all in my iPhone, and I’ll tell you how many I have. You’re gonna laugh. In my iPhone at the moment ... 6,676 photos and 135 videos. The thing is though, I like to document things and then my intention is that I’ll put it up on Facebook or Twitter and then I just end up keeping them in my phone. But they come in handy.
And I have all different things: there’s art, there’s fashion and I take photos of things for reference or if I have to go to the market and buy vitamins for example and I have to remember which vitamins, I’ll take a photograph of the vitamins. I can take a photo and then it’s easier to show the clerk, "do you have this?" It’s just easier.
Safety pins: For wardrobe malfunctions. And they have come in handy. Not that I’ve had a malfunction it’s just that I’m not a sample size, and I do wear samples sometimes, and there’s not always time to alter them. I mean, the funny thing is I’m on this Vogue’s Best Dressed of the Week list in a Balenciaga dress at the moment, and that dress was made to tie at the back, but I ended up tying it at the front. The length was a little odd on me, so right before I went out, I safety pinned the entire bottom. You can tell, now that I look at it. In Miami, at Art Basel I wore this cape by Stella McCartney. It had this kind of Hawaiian print on it and it went a little too long so I safety pinned the whole thing. I do it a lot. I’m a good safety-pinner!
Band-Aid by Cynthia Rowley: In New York, one gets blisters very easily. Those are special Band-Aids. They’re a collab between Band-Aid and Cynthia Rowley and they all look like gems. One of them has her whole lookbook on a Band-Aid, the other one is sequins, and another one is stones. But my favorite one is the gem stone.
Laid in Montana Lip Therapy: It’s unscented and clear, and it’s made of organic oils. I buy it at the health food store in Los Angeles. I buy about 10 of them at a time. I either tend to wear a lipstick or just this. If I wear the slightest tint of lipstick in a photograph it looks like I’m wearing a lot, so I use this. And if I go out and forget my lip balm and I’m at a restaurant I just ask for a little bit of olive oil.
Essential Lavender Oil: I use it for both fragrance and relaxation. It serves a dual purpose.
When we were finished, Jane wanted to know if China had any memories of her mother's handbags. "My mother wasn't a big handbag person," she told me. "Clothing, yes; purses, no."
Follow China Chow on Twitter @China_Chow.