She is definitely one of the multi-hyphenated Asian icons.
From her early years as the right-hand person of her sister, fashion empress Joyce Ma, to her role as Chanel’s image communications chief for Asia-Pacific, from helping brands like Giorgio Armani and Prada to hotel consultancy, to being at the forefront of Joyce Café, owner of Sevva restaurant and Ms. B’s Cakes—it seems this woman has seen and done it all.
But no, she isn’t ready to bask in the glory of an impressive resume.
Bonnae Gokson is one lady who continues to raise the standard in style and creativity. She was named by Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post as one of its “Women of Our Time” and by the China Association of Women Entrepreneurs as one of “China’s Top 100 Outstanding Women.”
She is also an “honorary Filipino”; because she loves our country so much, she promotes it wherever she goes. She even celebrated one of her birthdays at the Metropolitan Museum, inviting some of the world’s Who’s Who.
I was in Hong Kong two weeks ago for the launch of her latest masterpiece, “Butterflies and All Things Sweet: The Story of Ms. B’s Cakes.”
The book is a compendium of Gokson’s inspirations and passions, but she describes it best: “It’s not a cookbook but a coffee-table book. I didn’t want a lot of words; I wanted it to be about the images, like a little dream where you can’t wait to turn the pages…”
The book has spectacular and original images of Gokson’s cakes and the inspirations behind them, taken from her travels, fashion, style, design, upbringing and family. It is very polished, refined and elegant—just like the author.
The launch was held at the Joyce Boutique in Central. She had her first launch at the Joyce Store in Shanghai. Next stop will be in Manila on Oct. 9, then New York on Oct. 22, where the great American designer Ralph Lauren has invited her to do the launch.
She is on the cover of the September issue of Hong Kong Tatler, and paraphrasing one of the questions asked in the interview, does she think she will ever just stop? The answer is an emphatic “No!”
She follows this up with, “Look, I’ve always said that I don’t have to work. But how many handbags and fabulous gowns can you buy? Seriously, it gets boring. You have to find something that you do well. And I’ve got so much creativity; that’s where my passion is.”
Knowing Gokson for more than 10 years now, and being a witness to her successes as well as her low moments, I can vouch that this icon is a true friend, generous to a fault, and passionate about life. I’ve been so privileged to know her and to learn from her.
If there’s something I have imbibed from her in these years of friendship, it’s this: Never lower your standards, be passionate in what you do, and never lose sight of your dreams.