How Do You Like Your Eggs?

A rural utopia, residence to a heady mix of artists, caught in a wash of 1952. And the new girl – who’s she?


Years ago in Hong Kong, when my hair was still black (indeed, the timeline of my life is defined by my stages of hair evolution), I attended a gala with a capital G in an updo (an updo), dark lipstick, floral silk pants. The latter part of the evening boasted an art auction in the name of AIDS research (noble, indeed – donate here). The likes of Uma Thurman, Michelle Rodriquez and Tracey Emin stood before a room of well-coifed, well-postured folk to rally dollars and more dollars. Let me preface the following by saying that I don’t often get starstruck – at least not in the realm of your Victoria Beckhams, your Lang Langs, et cetera. I did once quietly lose my shit about neurosurgeon Charles Teo being in my HIIT gym class back in Sydney. But on the most part, celebrity is a stressful concept to me, as I’m sure it is to the celebrities themselves, so I keep my distance.

And yet, here was Tracey Emin, a stoic vision on a conference hall stage in steamy Hong Kong. Tracey fucking Emin, standing beside one of her neon sculptures. You know the ones. It said something about the things we do for love or “love” in her slanted scrawl, as they usually do. But most of the room didn’t know that. Because most of the room was either drunk or didn’t know what Tracey Emin looked like. I’ll come and install it myself, declared Tracey Emin as the bidding stalled. How could people not be clamouring for Tracey Emin’s work? I’ll add a name, declared Tracey Emin. Whatever name you want. “The things we do for the love of [insert name here]”. And I’ll come and install it myself.

Of the two times in my life that I remember wishing I could time-travel forward to some Future Time where I would presumably have more money, and bring it back to buy something that would reap far greater value and “value” at said Future Time, this was one of them. The other time was a Dion Lee blazer from Spring/Summer 2009 with cutout elbows. It was $150 and I was 16. I’ve told Dion since. He laughed and said he never wanted to see that blazer again. Fair enough.

Meanwhile, back in Hong Kong, Tracey Emin’s work went for a figure that did not do it justice and Adrien Brody’s painting of a red dragon fetched four times the price. It’s Adrien Brody! A girl at my table whispered urgently and waved a diamond finger at the stage where Adrien Brody stood with his painting of a red dragon. I turned to the designer to my left. He’s not even going to install it himself! The designer shrugged. It’s Adrien Brody, he said.

No shade to Adrien Brody, though. You know how I feel about a Chopin Nocturne and a certain Luca Changretta.

The following year, I sat between a fine art dealer and a drag queen at a birthday dinner in Paris. The room had criminally high ceilings and the conversation drifted back to Hong Kong and the stunning aforementioned.

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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.