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Last day of Christmas with Tina Tan-Leo

Day 12

Tina Tan-Leo, 48, founder and president of The Link Group and alldressedup

The local fashion doyenne of The Link has been busy taking alldressedup to places never ventured before.

In September, the swish home-grown brand she founded in 2004 made its debut at New York Fashion Week.

In October, the label broke into the Japanese market and will start retailing at the Isetan flagship store in Tokyo's Shibuya next month. It is now sold in 70 stores in 21 countries as well as online at net-a-porter.com.

This year also saw her multi-label luxury boutique move from a 5,000sq ft shop in Mandarin Gallery to One Nassim in Nassim Road in January. Homeware arm The Link Home, previously in Palais Renaissance, moved in too in March.

Together, the two stores now take up 8,000sq ft - almost the entire area of the building's second floor.

Tan-Leo is married to Lionel Leo, 52, chief executive officer of The Link Group, which carries top brands such as Etro and Giambattista Valli.

The couple have three sons - a pair of twins aged 13 and an older boy aged 15.

What's your ideal present for Christmas?

To be able to celebrate Christmas with my family and close friends with a beautiful feast serving all my favourite food that can be found in Singapore. The items I've picked for this spread are what I want to serve at my own party.

There's champagne because it's my favourite drink. I've also picked macarons from Canele because my kids and I love them. The souffle from Iggy's is simply to die-for-for while Awfully Chocolate's chocolate cake is very, very good - it's not too sweet.

I've never tried the Fairmont's char siew pork roast before but after seeing it on a food programme on television, I told myself I am going to have it this year.

Food is such an integral part of celebration, whether it's a marriage, a birth or a graduation. It lifts the spirit. Being in the fashion business, I believe a feast should also be a feast for the eye. Something simple could turn into something to-die-for with the right presentation. It's Christmas after all. Make the effort.

What was the best thing that happened to you this year?

Having alldressedup show at New York Fashion Week.

The American media and buyers from boutiques such as the famed Marissa Collections from Florida and Tootsies from Dallas came for the show and that meant a lot because the market in the United States is huge.

What was the worst?

Hearing about one global disaster after another, from the Sichuan earthquake in May to the ongoing economic crisis. Such tragedies make one sad because they are unavoidable. We can't do anything about them except to pray for better things to come.

What's your wish for 2009?

Besides taking alldressedup to new heights, I would love to continue enjoying beautiful feasts - like the one we have set up for this photo shoot - with my loved ones. May all of us have peace, love and joy.

Wish list (from left in Photo 12)

1. Macarons, $2.45 per piece, $15.50 for six, and $30.50 for 12, from Canele, 01-09 Robertson Walk

2. Scented silk pouches as gifts, from $59, from The Link Home, Level 2 One Nassim

3. Cutlery, from $129, from The Link Home

4. Tableware by Bernardaud, from $239, from The Link Home

5. All Chocolate log cake, from $58, from Awfully Chocolate, 01-16 Raffles Plaza, or call 6345-8212

6. Pina Colada souffle (part of Christmas lunch set), $55++ per head, from Iggy's, Level 3 The Regent Singapore

7. Char siew stuffed pork shoulder, $75+, available till Dec 25, five days advanced booking needed, from Cafe Noel booth (tel: 6338-8785), Level 2 Fairmont Singapore

8. Cashmere silk top by Giambattista Valli (on Tan-Leo), $2,030, from The Link, Level 2 One Nassim

9. Christmas tree (behind her), $1,056, and handsewn patchwork ornaments, from $39, from The Link Home

10. Christmas tree table centrepiece, from $159, from The Link Home

11. Mini Moet champagne, for display only, and Moet Chandon Be Fabulous Gold, price upon application, from various nightspots including Zouk, 17 Jiak Kim Street, and Attica, 01-03 Clarke Quay

12. Faux flowers, from $29, from The Link Home

Photographer: RAYMOND LEE @ Capsule; Creative director: JEROME AWASTHI; Styling assistant: CAI YUN JING; Hair: BEN LEONG of Passion Salon; Make-up: MARJORIE TEO-ALDERIDGE (9734-8182); Location: The Link Home, Level 2 One Nassim

This article was first published in The Straits Times on Dec 19, 2008.

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