"Women don’t always have time to think about how to put things together," Tam says. "Color combination can be a challenge." Her advice: Choose separates that use black and white in varying textures and designs to make the look more appealing.
Embroidered rigid-netting bomber jacket; viviennetam.com
"I love orchids and peonies," Tam says. "I think the petals represent a woman, with her multiple talents and the multiple tasks that she must do every day." In Tam’s hands, enlarged floral designs emblazoned on dresses look artistic and abstract; bold colors turn each piece into a statement.
silk dress, $990; viviennetam.com
A page from Tam’s book, China Chic, with the Mao dress at left. She put Mao Zedong’s image on pillows and dresses "to represent the opening up of China," she says. "People said, Is this your father?’?"
Tam’s love of the color red goes back to her childhood. "It’s a Chinese color," she says, "and I think it gives good luck." For Tam, it’s "vibrant and exciting, with a lot of warmth." Red has found its way into nearly all of Tam’s collections. "It looks good on me, and I think it looks good on a lot of women."
Canvas trench, $595; viviennetam.com