One glance at Manika Yujuico’s Instagram account and you’ll instantly feel her affinity for style and colour. Take a little scroll through her grid and you’ll unveil her love story with scarves – Hermes scarves to be exact.
The Philippines-born Singapore-based mother-of-two, who runs a vintage costume jewellery business (@donteverchains) in Manila, enthused: “My collection is all Hermes. They really do make the best scarves. I have dabbled in many of their sizes but I generally prefer the classic 90×90 cm size or the 45×45 cm for something lighter. I collect mainly the silk as I love the feel and how vibrant the colours look.”
Many of her self-made video posts show her deftly folding, twisting and cajoling the silky pieces into a plethora of styles that can be worn as tops, belts and even bags. “The silk scarf is an object of utility that is disguised as an accessory,” she said.
Yujuico started her collection of Hermes scarves around 15 years ago. “I still clearly remember buying my first scarf, I was on a work trip to Paris and I visited the Hermes store and instantly fell in love with a monochromatic blue dip dye scarf,” she said.
“I didn’t know at the time but what I chose would be the highest maintenance purchase ever. The colour runs so easily but it is insanely chic and beautiful. I hardly wear it now but I do look at her longingly in my scarf drawer.”
Back then, she was a young fashion intern in New York who was drawn to the prints of scarves as she didn’t have a lot of colour in her wardrobe.
Yujuico said she is now more conscious about adding to her collection. “There was definitely a time earlier on when my mindset was ‘more is more’ when it comes to collecting, not just scarves, but with anything really, and my perspective has since changed. I see it now as a great way to edit and be conscious about my choices.”
The fashion-lover says that she now tries to avoid being impulsive when shopping and embraces a more uniform approach to dressing. In fact, her closet is now entirely made up of different variations of specific items. “It sounds more boring than it is, but it seems I’ve been able to take a lot of the grunt work out of getting dressed, and picking which scarf to wear has become the fun part of my uniform.”–
How often does she purchase a scarf? “It completely depends on what I see and what is out there. Every season I check what is coming out and make a wish list. I am always on the lookout and I check everywhere.”
On average, she adds about one to two pieces a month if specific pieces catch her eye. “Hermes scarves are made to last, and though I love many, many pieces each season, I know there is no rush to get even more than I already have,” she said. Generally, she is drawn to colour when choosing a scarf but goes through phases when it comes to the types of colour.
Many of her scarves hold sentimental value as they help mark significant moments such as memorable trips or special occasions. “Scarves are like the multi-hyphenates of fashion accessories. They are always pulling double duty so it all seems worth it in the end.”
With maintenance and care, scarves are a great investment as they age well, she said. “It sounds very cliche but they are definitely wearable pieces of art.” She appreciates that Hermes scarves are not logo-driven and often feature collaborations with artists such as British illustrator Katie Scott who is known for her nature-inspired art.
To maintain them, she stores the scarves in individual bags in a scarf drawer, organised roughly by colour and size.
“To be honest, I’m not sure if this is the best way to keep them but it makes it easy for me to grab one and go,” she said, adding, “I have a scarf with me 90 per cent of the time, again because of air-conditioning, so having them ready to go in bags really helps.”
The fact that scarves don’t take up much room is another reason why she loves them. “It’s very approachable in that way, it’s very easy to keep up. But I guess the danger is you can have so many and not realise that you have so many.”
When asked what she intends to do with her collection, she quipped, “I don’t know, but maybe someone might get very lucky one day!”
Senior editor: Serene Seow; creative director: Chern Ling; senior producer: Lindsay Jialin; photography: Kelvin Chia; hair and makeup: Laselle Lee using Kevin Murphy and Chanel Beauty