Team Buro Answers: Who is our ultimate style icon?


By Joan Kong

Team Buro Answers: Who is our ultimate style icon?

The term “style icon” has always been used to describe a fashionable person who has left an impact in the industry, regardless whether they’re in fashion, entertainment or politics. These Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) do not only have successful careers, but their keen sense of style have also launched them into the spotlight—talk about women with substance, with an enviable closet to boot! From Hollywood icons to pop stars and It-girls, here are the 10 ladies who continue to inspire Team Buro’s style (and work):

Terry Saw, editor and commercial director


It’s so hard to stick to one! But if I had to single out one the most long-standing style icons I’ve kept tabs on over the years, hands down, it would be the OG influencer—way before it was even a thing—Eva Chen. To her 1.1 million followers on Instagram, Eva is the epitome of style and sensibility, and is basically all of us (except with a wardrobe that’s 1,000 times larger and way more A-listers on speed dial). A fan of her journey since her days at Teen Vogue, I’ve always appreciated Eva not just for her fun, fearless way of dressing but also for her fierce sense of individuality—not many can rock a top-to-toe Ragdoll leopard print ensemble or show up in that stunning Oscar de la Renta dip-dye tulle coat with quite as much pizzazz. Now a cool mom of two, author and Head of Fashion Partnerships at Instagram, the self-confessed over-sharer still manages to keep things super real and unedited—candid, even (daily work and family struggles IRL, and #ootd in front of Boots stores included) with her unique high fashion-high street pairings (expect everything from Max Mara to Mango, Chanel to Cos, Tom Ford to Topshop… the list goes on). Above all, in such a noisy social media-driven world we live in, it’s refreshing that her authenticity continues to cut through the clutter proving you can have a presence and make an impact in life or whatever you enjoy, without once having to lose yourself.

Rachel Au, editor

As a proud Swiftie, my answer for most questions is Taylor Swift. Even more so now, if the aesthetics of her upcoming era/album is anything like the ME! music video. And her style is just very ME! I called it though—the rainbow colours, I mean—back on the last day of 2018. TayTay was originally likened to more princess-y and feminine styles (Oscar de la Renta, Elie Saab, and Marchesa are just some of her favourite designers/brands) but the singer has clearly shown she can experiment, as depicted during her time with ex Calvin Harris and more so, during the entire Reputation era. And she does it all too well. Now, it may seem like she’s back to happier and prettier colours, but I also see her having fun with her wardrobe while going back to her roots—and that’s the kind of attitude that would never go out of style.

Loh Wei Yeen, senior beauty writer

While the style icons I’ve previously looked up to have always veered towards inspirational as opposed to aspirational (think VB’s insouciance with a dash of Tilda Swinton’s androgyny), one of my latest style crushes has taught me the importance of embracing personality and sticking a foot outside comfort zones. The inimitable style of Tessa Thompson, actress and Valkyrie, is a combination of always being on-trend (sans letting the trend wear her), eclectic, and far from being safe. Some might term it weird, but Thompson’s walking proof that you don’t have to be predictably pretty to turn heads. Her red carpet style is colour-loving and kitschy (this Valentino Couture look blew my mind), with a penchant for unique silhouettes over princessy ball gowns, yet her off-day wardrobeis relatable—and snazzy—enough to warrant a modern-day style icon status.

Joan Kong, fashion editor

Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert may not be a household name, but with one million followers on Instagram, the Italian fashion editor and creative director is a force to be reckoned with in the fashion world. I’ve been a fan of her style ever since I saw her outside the Fendi show during Milan Fashion Week a few years back. She was wearing a colourful checkered dress with a geometric scarf tied around her neck, complete with a snakeskin-print coat thrown over, and I remembered thinking: how can one look that good rocking three bold prints in one look, with equally striking accessories to boot? From a jacquard pantsuit-velvet robe combo to an OTT tulle gown, while one might attribute her ability to rock the craziest of looks to her tall and willowy figure, a simple search on Google will show it’s more than just that. She lets her loud and fun personality shine through her head-turning ensembles, and even when she’s dressed in a plain white shirtdress, she still injects her signature touch of quirk and edge into the look—a move that seals her (street) style icon status. Did I mention Giovanna’s an author too? Her book, titled Gio_graphy: Fun in the Wild World of Fashion is a style guide and stories of her fun-filled adventures in fashion in one.

Stephanie Boey, fashion writer

I can’t remember the time I first took notice of Zoë Kravitz, but I’m pretty sure my crush on her spans over more than a decade. For starters, she’s absolutely stunning and second, she has super cool parents. A product of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet, she inherited their ridiculously good looks and talent. She sings, she acts, she models…she has It-girl written all over her. I’ve watched her style progress through the years, from teen angst to boho chic and beyond. I remember ripping pages out of my magazines of her best looks and adding them into my ‘Style Book’ (Wow, how times have changed. Thank God for Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram!). Her fashion choices have changed considerably through the years with more elegant ensembles but her style remains the same. At her red carpet appearances, I still see a sliver of the cool edgy girl I fell in love. Nowadays, she’s often spotted in eyebrow-raising outfits that still keeps true to her carefree, laidback vibe with minimal accessories or just the right amount. It’s unfair how effortless she makes it all look, really. I sometimes doubt she’s even human.

Ronn Tan, lifestyle writer

The first time I was asked, right after a presentation at KLFW a few years ago, I panicked and said Janelle Monáe without really thinking through. I now realised that it was my cerebrum—filled with so much zest—that answered the question for me. Janelle Monáe is a minimalist by heart and she expresses that through her style—in black and white. She dresses that way as an homage to uniformity, and she dresses unapologetically, only for herself. She truly is the monochrome goddess of the generation. While doors have opened to colours in the past few years, especially to show her support for causes dear to her, one thing’s for sure—Janelle Monáe will always be known as the queen of influencing everyone to want to invest in their own black and white attires, myself included.

Tan Su Fen, senior contributing writer

While Margaret Zhang might cut quite the petite figure amongst the fashion elite, she has an effortless sense of style that speaks volumes—it’s hard to miss that vibrant head of hair in a crowd too. You will almost always find her in oversized, androgynous silhouettes, styled just right so that they never drown her frame. One style tip you can easily glean from her IG feed? There is a blazer for every occasion; whether it’s a sleek black number for a fashion night out (just look at those textures—love!) or an oversized checked blazer paired with a simple tee for a little city exploring—she aces every look.

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