Half-Japanese, half-Filipina Kai Nakanishi Lim is always immaculately dressed in socials. She has panache and is known for elegant age-appropriate dressing.
She’s the wife of Suyen Corp.’s senior vice president, Bryan Lim.
Her remarkable skills as fashion tastemaker have further been cemented in the industry when she opened a shop as a coproprietor of Cura V, a premier lifestyle concept store that offers a well-curated mix of fashion and design artisans.
Lim oversees the operation and the local consigners, which are mostly jewelry designers. She fine-tunes the local selection by sourcing, buying, and discovering new artists.
Work becomes easy and quite fun, with all the other four partners involved. “It doesn’t feel like work,” says Lim, who balances her mommy duties with afternoon meetings, while her two kids are in school. Her home life held firmly in place over career.
And it’s not often that you meet a woman today who would comfortably describe herself a “homemaker.” “I really am! Yeah, I really am,” she says.
Aside from being a supportive and loving wife, she relishes the role of being a mother. She insists that during her children’s formative years, “this is the time, quality and quantity are important.”
She gets the (life) mix right, and she is only in her early 30s! Her key to happy marriage: “I heard it from a bridal shower,” she recounted, “to choose your battles with your marriage, because NOT everything has to be an argument.”
“You know, when something is not worth it, sometimes, you win just by giving in. Then you realize it worked for your favor,” such a mature way to put it.
And her wise philosophy on rearing kids: “Spend as much time as you can with your children,” she says among other things, including being proactive with different lessons, “so you’ll find what’s the most-suited for them,” and giving your children the opportunity to decide for themselves.
So, she might have traded her heels for flats, “I have to be smart, if I will last the whole day, because I run after my kids,” she says, but she still has fashion fun.
For instance, in this interview, she wears an ingenious structured piece by Joey Samson (her go-to designer), an apron-like dress with zippers and rendered in navy blue, made of a jean-like material and paired with strappy leather sandals by Altuzarra. She accessorizes with cuffs by Janina Dizon-Hoschka and Margiela; and completes her look with a Lanvin bag she got on a trip.
“I’m more into streamlined and structured,” she says describing her personal style and adds, “I am more into the form of an outfit, the detail.”
We listened to her with open ears and admiration, not only because we wanted to put her covetable style under the spotlight—she’s a very private person, by choice—but equally fascinating is how she makes motherhood and homemaking glamorously appealing.
What in your childhood upbringing that have piqued your interest in fashion? My mom, at that time, until now, she likes to keep up with the trends. She’s into fashion. I still have some of her vintage bags she’s kept, one of them being my dad’s first gift to her. It was a Cartier clutch, which I still have until now. I haven’t used it for a while, but I still have it. It’s the first gift of my dad to my mom. She gave it to me in college.
Her favorite designer: Joey Samson. He is more into the detail, the pattern of the dress. I have been going to him, for quite a number of years. What is good about Joey, I go there and I don’t know what I want, but he just makes something good. I still have the very first clothes I had him make. I can still wear it up to this day, an off-white and beige structured cocktail dress with a back detail. He just always gets it with me.
Her fail-safe outfit: Black dress. When I shop abroad, I keep telling myself to stop buying black dresses. I have quite a number and I fell like it is all black. Because it’s something you can always wear, you can dress it up or down. Wear it with flats, or with heels and accessories to completely change your look!
Her style hero: Carine Roitfeld. I really like her style. Even if I don’t always agree with her choices because of her age; but I think she can carry it well. I mean, I’m always like, you have to dress your age. But with her, she manages to pull it off with an attitude.
On style: I think it’s having the confidence to wear something and make it your own. I can’t really say one is more stylish than the other because it is very subjective. It’s really a way of expressing yourself.
Her most admired fashion person: I like Pam Quiñones’ style and her attitude. Every time I see a photo of her, it is like it’s always styled and I don’t know how she does it. I don’t think she does have an “off” time. She always looks great, she is sexy, and her attitude.
Biggest purchase: From a trip in Europe, it was a YSL bib necklace, that at the time, I was thinking if I should get it. Now, I am happy, it’s something I can give to my daughter. I’m sure, when she is that age, it will be in fashion again. It’s a statement piece with rhinestones, and it’s very big. It can actually be a collar, too, and you can wear it with jeans or dresses.
Three items every self-respecting woman should have in their closet: Little black dress, nude pumps and nice lingerie.
Her fashion vice: Surfing online stores. It is not really an addiction, I just really like to look around and browse at night, when everyone is asleep.
Haircut/color: Alex Carbonel
Beauty brands: Tom Ford lipstick, “Indian Rose.” Shiseido powder, which I hoard when I’m in Japan because it is a lot cheaper and Chanel blush.
Signature scent: Frederic Malle and Jean-Claude Ellena