Arco della Pace

The day after I had a whine about Milano’s dreary weather, the grey cleared up and we had the most glorious 15 Celcius morning – much to my relief, given that I was in full-fledged Italian bare legs and shoulders for a Vogue Sposa shoot, 8:15am sharp.


The verdict is in that Milan is one of those cities (like Vienna, Venice, and Los Angeles), that only really takes your breath away when the sun is out. The day after I had a whine about Milano’s dreary weather, the grey cleared up and we had the most glorious 15 Celcius morning (which basically constitutes a Fashion Week heatwave) – much to my relief, given that I was in full-fledged Italian bare legs and shoulders for a Vogue Sposa shoot, 8:15am sharp (watch this space).

And yet, as soon as I was done, my shoulders and legs went back into hiding – such are the rules of Winter. By now, the colour of my face and hands are so many shades south of the rest of my body that I will likely have to remain completely covered for the rest of the year, until I devise a master plan to combat the pressing issue.

Awkward skin colouring aside, what needs to be discussed here is the art of covering up, which I have touched on in a variety of sartorial and cultural contexts in months now past. So, while Milan’s mercury did have some role to play in this particular get-up, the conversation pivots on elongating the body by way of covering up.

Too many times, I’ve seen girls out on the town in teetering platform stilettos and what can only be described as cheek-skimming skirts and/or hot pants, wholly dependent on the estimated twerk count for the long night to follow. Without taking subsequent twerks into consideration, I certainly understand this visual logic. Platforms raise you off the ground, stilettos make your legs less chunky, and shorter hems would have the average passerby assume that there is more leg than there actually exists.



First of all, the average passerby is going to have the primary motivation of looking up your skirt.

Secondly, unless you are have a straight up-and-down curve-free body type, this formula is not going to figure out (and for those of you who do boast that body-type, this fully-clothed situation will work for you too – you’re welcome).

Thirdly, the more visible efforts one goes to in order to disguise height or bodily proportions, the more your height is noticed – consider the model who turns up for a casting in ghetto fabulous Kardashian Louboutins for 10 inches of extra height, and the model who rocks up in heeled ankle boots for a slightly shorter 3 inches, but doesn’t look like she tried.

The idea here is to play with both proportions and colours to confuse your average passerby to the point that they’ll eventually just run with the assumption that you’re six feet tall, which I most certainly am not. We begin with the outerwear, with the prerequisite of either a dark and light two-tone situation like so (the outside can be as mad as you’d like – perhaps the more distracting, the better) and a hemline at least to the knee. The innards of the ensemble should also be black, or navy, or charcoal, or whatever you’ve decided on, and to avoid resembling a mime, I would insist that you play with as many textures as your floordrobe will allow – think cable knits, leathers (even patent), silks, pleats, velvets, et cetera, covering as much of your body as possible. As my Mother would say, I don’t want to see your shoulders or your ankles.

Meanwhile, ensure that your outerwear is carefully off one shoulder in that effortless I-spent-24-hours-getting-ready manner, and I guarantee that nobody will even know where your neck ends, let alone your legs.

Accessorise with the fluffiest things you can find (i.e. the one texture you have not yet ticked off), then wander around Milan’s gargantuan Arco della Pace for a good half hour, contemplating its architectural finesse, and feeling a little small and perhaps inadequate.

Please note that platforms are strictly forbidden.

Class dismissed.*


 Sportmax Coat – Unbranded Turtleneck (similar here and here) and Leather Jacket (similar here, here and here) – byCorpus Quilted Pants – TOPSHOP Heels – Tessa Brasier Clutch – Whistles Bag

*But do upload your experimental snaps in the comments below if it should take your fancy.

  • Valerie Bong

    This is so magical, I’ve been a fan of shine by three since, 3 years ago when you were posting pics of galaxy tights and jumping in the street behind your house. And it’s been amazing to see how far Shine By Three has come. Stella and stunning photos and beautiful insights into your magical world. Love the new layout btw, stunning


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  • monkeyshines
  • ygriega

    I love the soft pink and black, it brings out the soft makeup you’ve done, and works so well with this magical
    Texture/proportion is the way to go, well said.

  • jas

    such a great coat. hope the weather in paris is treating you better!

    reckless abandon

  • thechicndamned

    I love everything you wear and everything you write. I still remember when you were snapping shots in the alleyway behind your house, it’s amazing to see how far you’ve come and how amazing it will get. You’re such an inspiration!

    x karen
    the chic & damned

  • lae

    Oh, I love this set of photos, particularly the movement of the coat and how the dusty rose goes beautifully with your makeup (and your face, of course, is gorgeous as always…I say, in a perfectly non-creepy way). I completely subscribe to the ‘covering up is more elongating’ notion – as my parade of tights, leggings and pants can attest to, especially paired with my go-to Docs.

  • harperandharley

    FAVOURITE! This black inside/pink outside coat is amazing. And your face has some serious glow factor. Just beautiful Marg! x

  • I think it’s the first time I see you wearing pink and black, you look so gorgeous.

    Mafalda ❤

  • oh my goodness !!! THE BEST !

  • Paula Capel

    wow, your coat is amazing!!!!:)

  • kisforkani

    Well aren’t you babe’in! XXX

    • margaretzhang

      I miss you! Are you going to be in Sydney in April? X

  • Rougeuse

    Fierce and gorgeous! You look so pretty in these pictures! x

  • Love love love everything…especially the trench and furry bag !!

  • Sarah

    stunning ensemble and great advice! i love the play in texture and silhouettes here

  • Vivian

    I love this whole look! It’s super cool :p I admire your writing style ~

  • You have covered the ‘art of covering up’ so well! You write beautifully and your images are exquisite as always! Hope your skin colouring issue disappears quick smart! :: Happy Travels! Ainslie

  • kate

    This is one of my favorite of all your (many brilliant) looks! You totally nailed it.

    Can I ask if the coat is current season Spormax?

    thanks xx

  • you look great!!

  • Denisa
  • Holy crap this is brilliant. Although I’m already 5’8″ and hardly feel the need to gain more height, I shall use this to my elegant advantage. Thank you xx

  • Xincerely

    Great winter outfit!!


  • Lede Sociale

    You look absolutely stunning! Indeed my favorite looks, I think your skin tone looks fabulous here with
    the slight hint of the eyeliner. The shade of pink , a winner in my books


  • aini

    Thank you for the lesson, miss!
    PS : This is by far my most favorite look i’ve ever seen of you

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  • Time and time again, you are my ultimate inspiration. KILLING IT!


  • Fashionruelle

    Gorgeous! I love your style! Could you please let me know where can I buy this amazing coat?


  • These black powdery layers are to die for!

  • Emily

    These photos of you took my breath away – you are stunning, Margaret!

  • Joe Beverly


    You are one of the most beautiful and stylish fashion bloggers around!
    Keep up the good work, and thank you for sharing your beauty with the world . . .

    Joe Beverly

  • Jen

    Love this post! Would love for you to check out my blog XX

  • I used to hate seeing platform heels and convinced myself I would never put myself in them. But these days I’m really wanting a pair so much!! SO SO MUCH. I blame fashointoast and Reformation. :)

    BTW, this outfit is so darn beautiful that I have dreams about it. I need to recreate this one day for myself. Pink fur and black. *dreaming*

  • Piki lulu

    Margaret. Can’t seem to find this gorgeous coat anywhere. Can you help with a link please?

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  • Love the way you write, haha! Those pants and the bag is so delicious


    Miss Eliza WonDerland

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Margaret Zhang 章凝 is an Australian-born-Chinese filmmaker, photographer, consultant and writer based between New York and Shanghai. Since establishing her website in 2009, Zhang has gone on to work with global brands including CHANEL, Swarovski, YEEZY, Bulgari, Gucci, MATCHES, Under Armour, and Louis Vuitton in a wide range of capacities both in front of and behind the camera, while completing her Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws at The University of Sydney. Zhang’s directing, photography, and styling has been employed by the likes of VOGUE, L’Officiel, Harper’s BAZAAR, NOWNESS, and ELLE internationally. She has been listed in Forbes Asia’s 30Under30 and TimeOut’s 40Under40, and her work has been recognized as shaping the international fashion industry by the Business of Fashion BoF500 Index for four consecutive years. CNN has identified Zhang as a leading fashion photographer in Asia and ELLE named her the region’s most influential digital voice. She went on to be the first Asian face to cover ELLE Australia. In 2016, she co-founded BACKGROUND, a global consultancy for which she specialises in Western-to-Chinese and Chinese-to-Western cultural bridging for a range of luxury, lifestyle, and brand initiatives. In 2017, she exhibited a series of 39 unseen photographic works as a solo show in Sydney, and premiered her first short film – a 15-minute exploration of her visceral relationship with classical music on both performance and abstract planes – to critical acclaim. In 2018, co-curated the first annual FOREFRONT Summit focused on inter-industry problem-solving at all scales of business. From this king summit, Zhang developed FOREFRONT+ – a round table series of candid conversations covering subject matters of universal concern. In 2019, THE FACE Magazine engaged Zhang as Creative-Director-at-Large for Asia for its relaunch. Zhang is currently working on her first feature film.


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