Embracing a Timeless Aesthetic
Stanley is the perfect location for Peter and Joanna Georgiou, co-founders of successful fashion label, Grayers. Before arriving in Hong Kong about 10 years ago, Peter had spent many years working for Ralph Lauren in cities such as Geneva and Singapore while Joanna – a graduate from the University of Colorado - was global managing director, public relations, for Burson- Marsteller in both locations. But after launching a manufacturing business making clothes for big brands, the couple decided to be closer to the operations, and Hong Kong was the answer.
Not long after, inspiration hit and along came the concept for Grayers. “Seven years ago, we launched a men’s and women’s clothing brand - Grayers - which is widely distributed in the US - and we have a thriving e-commerce site,” says Joanna, who now oversees branding, sales and marketing for Grayers.
A history buff and political science graduate from Columbia University, Peter was inspired after reading about Britain in the 1950s. At that time, young men switched from wearing three-piece suits to gray flannel trousers, commonly known as Grayers. And as Grayer’s website states: the casual menswear movement was born.
Grayers, it continues, were the must-have in every man’s wardrobe, from British society to American prep schools. Learning about this, Peter then saw a gap in the men’s market for a well-crafted clothing collection with great fit, crazy good quality and incredibly reasonable prices. He was instantly inspired to go back and rewrite the classics in a new way, and make them uniquely Grayers. When it comes to women’s clothing, think natural fabrics and autumnal tones with the real life of customers at the forefront of design. This is most apparent when it comes to their fit, described as “not the classic, baggy fit, nor is it the slim designer fit. We walk a fine line in-between the two”. One of their catchphrases is, Before Denim Before Chinos, There was Grayers. These are the kind of clothes people want to wear – comfortable, effortless, casual - yet carefully sourced materials and unique designs that are far from ‘off the shelf’. It’s no wonder, then, that the couple chose to bring up their daughter in the beachside haven of Stanley, with its breezy, casual, seaside vibe far removed from the high rise office buildings of downtown Central Hong Kong.
“We’re in one of the last colonial buildings in Stanley with the original black and white stone entryway in the building, wood and iron hand railings, high ceilings, colonial wood floors,” says Joanna. “We waited to get onto Stanley Mound Road because I wanted something that felt like my childhood growing up in Los Angeles for our daughter. We’re one block from the beach - we can see it from our apartment. “Being so close to the sea, our home’s aesthetic is casual, timeless and rooted in the classics. To sum it up, casual Malibu style with a touch of French mid-century picked up from our time in Geneva and with art bought from different parts of Asia.”
Joanna adds that, being so close to the beach and after having lived in different places, they find it important to have a light, casual feeling in their home that works well for their regular lifestyle of getting out on the stand up paddle board, kayaking and hiking. Despite their busy daily work schedule, Peter and Joanna make time to enjoy the best of the social elements that Hong Kong has to offer. “We love outdoor beach barbecues with families, lunches at Cafe Gray (in the Upper House Hotel, Admiralty) and dinners with friends at La Petite Maison (Central).” This kind of lifestyle was important for the family, having had a similar ease of access to a community environment in Geneva for six years. “We wanted to be able to walk out and get fresh bread, do Pilates and run to the market,” says Joanna. “We get over 100 trick-o-treaters on Halloween and our daughter has friends who live closely for playdates, so it’s a great community area.”