On the art of distraction and bananas emojis.


When the going gets tough and you wake up charting fevers as steamy as the hottest day of the year, and what can only be described as a sandpaper throat, I am a firm believer in dressing to deflect attention from puffy eyes, a runny nose, a hacking cough, and that gnarly sheen that comes with that same strain of virus that has been making the transeasonal rounds since 1997. At least, that was the first time I succumbed to its demons. There are few other reasons for which a twenty-one year old would invest their time in an all-encompassing, marigold yellow bear hug that could only draw eccentric compliments or comparisons to the banana emoji – both of which I welcome with equally enthused numbers of heart-eyed icons.

On any other day of good health and good weather, my usual mantra is to dress to enhance. Always dress for your body shape, not your best mate’s – build a go-to selection of fits that flatter your legs (for me, it’s boyfriend jeans and tailored chino styles), your shoulders and your abdominal region. Elongate what looks short, elevate where necessary (alternate between a 6ft personality and 6inch heels), and get a good haircut to frame your face.

But in such unforeseen circumstances as a red-nosed flu,* the effectiveness of the

aforementioned decays exponentially. I personally wouldn’t recommend resorting to make-up to mask a face and body drained. There is method in the madness of au naturel. Litres of water per hour, allowing clean skin to breathe, no artificial colours or additives and you’ll be on the mend before my Mother can make you that weird Chinese remedial broth of beans, grains and other cardboard flavours. But until then, we study the staples in the art of distraction.

The goal is to feel like you’re wearing pyjamas. Failing Gucci gowns (I swear to you, I wore this thing for ten minutes for a shoot, and the justifying factor for its price-tag is surely in its bed sheet feels) think dressing gowns – to which every damn oversized coat on the market at this point in time bears some resemblance. Opt for a colour far sunnier than your disposition – lime, cotton candy, or strawberry daiquiri for the optimists; seafoam, lavender or cornflower for the cynics (née fashion people). Button up to hide your sartorial sleepwear sins beneath its generous fabrication.

Add shredded jeans to extend the distraught chic of your brow to your ankles. Elevate for authority with the highest block heels you dare to teeter in, and elevate for Anna Wintour with the most luxurious accessory you own (or loan).

Over and out.

*In reality, my flu was probably not as unpredictable as I might complain of: look after yourselves people. This earache was a long time coming.

D.EFECT Xara Overcoat, CHANEL Bag, Citizens of Humanity Corey Premium Vintage Boyfriend Jeans, Senso Talulah Boots


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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