Neo Lirong, 28
She is best known for working her magic on the red carpet. She’s been in the business for nine years, and her clientele reads like a roll call of established stars as well as the cream of the up-and-comers: actresses Rui En and Ya Hui, singer Olivia Ong and actor Romeo Tan. This year, Lirong added veteran actress Chen Liping to her list.
And it’s not just a matter of racking up an impressive list of names in five years (her first client was Rui En in 2011). The celebrities under her wing have become some of the most talked-about – think Rui En at this year’s Star Awards, wearing that glittery dress by Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad, whose embellished creations are a hot choice among Hollywood A-listers like Jennifer Lopez and Taylor Swift.
Lirong is also quick to credit Rui En for her own success, for the two have struck up a close friendship and see eye to eye on what looks good on the actress. But not all red-carpet looks get approval from critics. When Lirong recently dressed Liping in a menswear-inspired outfit – a corset worn around a long-sleeved shirt paired with pants – the look drew flak for being “passe”.
But Lirong takes such criticism in her stride. “As a young stylist, I don’t let it get to me. Not everyone can agree with my sense of style and it’s impossible to please everybody.” So we know she means it when she tells us that she admires celebrity stylist Mel Ottenberg, who is known for styling pop singer Rihanna in edgy and memorable looks.
We’ll be looking forward to more red-carpet magic from Lirong, that’s for sure.
Photography: Joel Low, Art direction: Evon Chng, Hair: Ann Lin/Athens Salon (9003-0865), Makeup: Ginger Lynette, using Dior, Clothes & Accessories: Lirong’s own
This story was first published in Her World Magazine July 2015.
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