Wendy Yu, Interview: My Life in London

London-based society princess-turned-savvy entrepreneur Wendy Yu shares her favourite haunts in the capital, and where she celebrates spending Chinese New Year

Wendy Yu may be a Chinese heiress with a love for Giambattista Valli couture and Bulgari jewels, but don’t let her sweet demeanour and covetable wardrobe fool you. 

The industrious 26-year-old founded Yu Capital in 2015, an investment funding company that supports high potential fashion and lifestyle enterprises, with major coups including early investment in Didi Chuxing, the Chinese equivalent of Uber. Among other achievements, Yu is also the youngest serving patron of the British Fashion Council Fashion Trust and served as co-chair of the Hong Kong amfAR Gala 2016 alongside Sir David Tang and Victoria Beckham. 

Yu sat down with Luxury London to share her favourite haunts in the capital, her shrewd investment tips and how she will be spending Chinese New Year. 

I moved to London in 2005, before studying at an English boarding school in the countryside. I now live in Mayfair and Knightsbridge. Both areas have amazing museums, galleries, restaurants and boutiques; they are vibrant, cultural and metropolitan, and most of my business meetings take place here, so it’s very convenient for me too. 

When eating out, I love Scott’s for seafood; Park Chinois for Chinese and Araki for Japanese. For something more laidback, I love Shu Xiang Ge on New Oxford Street for spicy hotpot; it’s super tasty and authentic and you can wear jeans and a T-shirt. It’s perfect for quiet weekends in town. 

I’m constantly inspired by new technologies, revolutionary entrepreneurs and designers who are capable of changing our world in a positive and sustainable way; I want to be part of that change. Being able to support the growth of emerging talents and ideas and being constantly inspired by the most innovative and creative people each day gives me great satisfaction. I’m constantly learning and growing through my investments and meeting people with inspirational vision and mindsets.

I would advise any first-time investor to make sure you have done enough due diligence. I always believe with every investment there is an opportunity cost, so shop around before you pick the best deal for yourself, and your risk should be measured carefully. When investing, I always do due diligence work with my team, and then it’s a combination of using the methodology of value investing and risk management. Most of all though, your gut instinct tells you everything you need to know.

The last thing I bought was a couture gown personally designed by my friend Giambattista Valli for an event in New York, over New Year. My favourite young British designers include my friends Mary Katrantzou, Huishan Zhang and Alessandra Rich, who are all super talented and based in London. 

I own three couture gowns: one from Dior, based on the pink couture gown worn by Jennifer Lawrence at the Oscars. I redesigned it together with the Dior couture team and made it more versatile for different occasions. I would never want to buy a couture gown and wear it once! Then I have two pieces from Giambattista Valli, which I can mix and match with difference outfits. I love the idea of collecting one-of-a-kind but sustainable couture gowns and I appreciate amazing artisanship in all forms. My friend Huishan Zhang also creates custom made-to-measure gowns for me and they fit to my body perfectly just like couture.

The thing I enjoy most about Chinese New Year is kind of funny, as it is a very personal tradition. When I was growing up in China, I would make a lot of pocket money by playing Dou DiZhu (a Chinese poker game) with my uncles and aunties, so much so that they gave me the nickname of 'little poker queen'. I feel like time flies whenever I play it now, and it is also the only time of the year that our whole extended family comes together. 

In an ideal world, this New Year I will be celebrating with spicy hotpot and homemade dumplings with family and friends, and playing Dou DiZhu. For Chinese New Year in London, I would recommend Hutong at The Shard and China Tang at The Dorchester. 

To me, luxury means creativity, exclusivity and timelessness.