With expansive views over the ocean from enormous picture windows, the light soaked Repulse Bay apartment of French expat Fanny Moizant has something of the feel of a holiday home. The relaxed vibe belies the reason for Fanny’s move to Hong Kong, however, which was not for a sea change but due to the growth of her burgeoning business.
One of the founders of Vestiaire Collective, a global marketplace for luxury pre-owned fashion, Fanny had already relocated her family from Paris to London for work. But the need for an Asian headquarters in Hong Kong meant Fanny, her husband and their two daughters were on the move again last year.
Fanny visited last July to look for apartments but it was like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. Not only had she not decided where her office would be, but she and her husband also had very different ideas about where they wanted to be based.
“I really wanted to live by the beach,” Fanny recalls, “and he wanted to live in the city. We started very open-minded and visited a lot of places to see what would click and what didn’t. We looked at a lot – probably 30! To find four bedrooms and three bathrooms was quite difficult, and then it was a matter of falling in love with the place. This one was clearly the best option.”
There were a few key things that made them choose this Repulse Bay apartment, aside from the jaw dropping view. The quality of the materials used in the home was important to them, as was the abundant natural light, and the size of the living area and kitchen. The living room is large enough to accommodate two separate spaces, as well as an area for dining, which makes it perfect for a family.
“We mainly live in the living room and in the kitchen,” Fanny says. “The last thing I wanted was a small living room and a small kitchen. I especially like the living room because the set-up is interesting – having two living areas gives us a few more options to play with. The open kitchen makes it easy, too. I was spoilt in London, as we were living in a beautiful house. It had been completely renovated and it had a lot of light – and I need light!”
While many expats are advised not to bring too much when moving to Hong Kong, Fanny took the opposite approach and brought all her furniture and homeware with her, despite the fact she was moving from a house to a Hong Kong apartment.
“I didn’t invest in furniture when my girls were babies, but they were old enough for us to get some nice furniture when we arrived four years ago in London,” Fanny says. “Because I had spent a bit of time and money I absolutely wanted to keep everything with me. So, I brought everything in the move. It was very difficult at the beginning to make everything fit in a very different space. It took me two or three months to really find the perfect set up in this house and re-purpose everything.”
Passion for fashion
Fanny’s connection to fashion and style started as a teenager working in her mother’s boutiques. She studied business and then worked for apparel companies, such as John Galliano. She took a career break with the arrival of her daughters, before enrolling in fashion school, where she became inspired to set up her own company. Noticing that fashion bloggers had begun to sell their out-of-season designer clothing, she teamed up with five partners to create Vestiaire Collective, a dedicated platform for buying and selling pre-owned items.
Her lifelong connection with fashion means Fanny has a well-developed personal style which she describes as “easy chic”, and which she also applies to her interiors. “It has to be easy – I would hate to live in a museum,” she says. “I don’t want to be super careful about what I own.”
Perhaps it’s not surprising given the company’s focus on giving new life to designer clothing and accessories that Fanny is a fan of mixing vintage and designer in her home. The furniture and décor is a tasteful blend of carefully selected newer pieces and flea-market finds.
Most of the pieces in her home have meaning and memories attached to them. A vintage Clash poster, for example, is more than just a quirky conversation piece. “It was in a poster shop near my house in London and my husband knew how much I loved it, and he bought it for my birthday.” A dragon mobile that now has pride of place above the dining table was purchased in London from Chinatown to mark a previous Chinese New Year.
As the family settles in Hong Kong, Fanny says they greatly enjoy living in Repulse Bay. “I feel really happy to be able to relax and unplug on the weekends because it’s stunning and it’s convenient to be living close to the shops and restaurants. We have a car but we barely use it.”
Fanny admits when she first launched Vestiaire Collection she did not envisage it would end up taking her family around the world.
“I created it almost 10 years ago now, in Paris, with six of us as co-founders,” she says. “It started as a French business only, but very quickly we saw a growing demand outside of France. We decided to expand first to the UK, where we opened an office in London in 2012. I moved from Paris to London in 2013 and from there I drove the European expansion of the company.
Fanny says the need to have a Hong Kong presence came as they saw organic demand coming from Asia. “That’s always a signal for us, when the community shows signs and an appetite for the concept,” she says. “Last year I spent a time studying the Asian markets. As soon as I understood there was a lot of demand, I arrived early September to build everything from scratch.”
A seasoned expat, Fanny is passionate about the benefits, particularly for her daughters. “I’ve always wanted to have broad experiences for myself and for my girls,” she remarks. “When they were babies, most of my friends were bi-national, so the kids have been raised in a very international mindset with at least a few languages and so on. My parents did the same for me and I have always wanted that for the kids. They’ve been going to international schools since they were in France.”
Fanny admits she is somewhat surprised at how big Vestiaire Collective has become. “When I launched, I was thinking small,” she says. “I’m not a super ambitious person and I wanted to do something small at my own pace so I could manage time with the family. If you had told me back in the day what it would become I probably would have freaked out! But moving to London and Hong Kong – it’s a matter of timing in life. And in both cases, the timing was right for me.”
Home & décor
Casa Capriz 1/F, Kwai Bo Industrial Building, 40 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Wong Chuk Hang | 9318 1730
Vestiaire Collective – Life & Living | vestiairecollective.com
The Conran Shop | conranshop.co.uk
Finnish Design Shop | finnishdesignshop.com
Selency | brocantelab.com
Food & drinks
Café Gray Deluxe 88 Queensway Admiralty | 3968 1106 | upperhouse.com/en/restaurants-bars/cafe-gray-deluxe
Rokkaku 6 Kwong Ming Street, Wan Chai |2866 8166
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This article first appeared in the June/July 2018 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.