If you've spent nearly a decade working in the fashion industry like me, you come across a lot of stylish people. And no doubt, on my list, fashion editor Diana Tsui is among them. The former senior market editor at New York Magazine's The Cut, may have pivoted to food content as Editorial Director, Recommendations at The Infatuation, but her style is a master class in eclecticism: it's not unusual to spot her in a dramatic voluminous dress or skirt (usually by Sacai or old Celine), with show-stopping sneakers to match. Her self proclaimed “goth grandma” sense of style is due in part to legendary Comme des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo, “Growing up in New York City, I wore a ton of head-to-toe black as a teen but it wasn’t until after I graduated college and discovered the wonders of fashion forums that I found myself drawn to fancier all-black ensembles. One designer, in particular, stuck in my brain: Rei Kawakubo and her fantastical designs at Comme des Garçons,” she explains.
“It was one photo in particular that stuck out to me: Rei, in an undated photo, with her hair swirling about in the wind. She’s in a black top, with a moto jacket casually thrown on top. She looked intimidatingly cool, a portrait of an Asian woman who was breaking boundaries by showing clothes that she designed in Paris," she says of her septuagenarian style-icon. "That led me to her runway creations, which were beyond my imagination. They were somber, with a ton of black, but never boring: Everything felt like a fantasy world that I wanted to live in. I was hooked and I found myself saving images not only of her runway clothes but also her personal style."
Embracing the edgy sartorial side of things, Tsui's style isn't centered around chasing trends, but rather around choosing unconventional pieces that also hold timeless appeal, "[Rei's style] exudes a sense of confidence because it’s not particularly trendy but neither is it not trendy. The likelihood that you’ll bump into someone with your exact outfit is pretty rare and I never feel like anything looks dated. I love how Kawakubo’s style exists in its own world where the woman who wears it knows she looks weird and she doesn’t care if you think that — in fact, she’s proud of it. And that’s exactly my attitude in life," says Tsui.
To see how the Brooklyn bred editor pulls off her cool take on the "grandma" look, keep scrolling ahead.
"The trick with Rei’s personal style is that she balances the surreal with the practical. There’s one eye-catching item (that usually distorts the body) balanced by styling it with a wardrobe staple. Kawakubo is always in a motorcycle jacket usually in either black or red. It should be cropped, to show off a voluminous skirt. Wearing it is like a layer of armor, it makes me feel like I’m this cool, tough woman that you don’t want to cross — very crucial when I was commuting to work on the subway." –Diana
"Whether it’s pleats, ruffles, asymmetrical details, or a balloon hem, Comme des Garçons is known for their unusual details. Usually, I’d go for a black style, letting the details speak for themselves but Kawakubo will make colorful options that will win over any minimalist. I prefer taking a cue from her and wearing these with fitted sweaters or tees but occasionally I’ll go all-out and throw on an equally as flashy top."
Fitted Cashmere Sweater
"Be it a cardigan or turtleneck, I always choose a cropped, slim cut style. It works nicely under a motorcycle jacket and balances all of the volume on your bottom. I have around 10 different black sweaters, with some thicker options for really cold days and thinner ones, when it’s just kinda chilly."
"While I’ll occasionally throw on some crazy heels, I love wearing these outfits with cool sneakers. Given that the brand collaborates with Nike all the time, I’ll try to get my hands on those but a pair of AF1s also look just as good."
An Arty Dress
"Sometimes I get really lazy and I want to not think about what I’m wearing. For those moments I choose to go all-out and throw on a statement dress. It needs to be billowy or distort my body in some way — strong shoulders, a lump or bump, giant ruffles, etc. I want to feel like I’m a walking sculpture."
"If I feel like wearing jeans or a slim skirt, I will make it feel less predictable by choosing a top that has some bells and whistles. A friend once told me I liked to dress like a jellyfish and they weren’t wrong — if it has stuff hanging off it that flutters in the wind, I’m sold."