Iconic Hong Kong stylist Kim Robinson is famed for his impeccable work with some of the most beautiful, noteworthy and inspiring women of all time. Over the course of his illustrious career, Kim’s enviable skills have helped to refine and transform Hollywood actresses, runway models – and even royalty.
Kim was privileged to work on set with the quintessential screen goddess, Audrey Hepburn, coinciding with some of Hubert de Givenchy’s final shows before his retirement from fashion. Another unforgettable client was Diana, Princess of Wales, whom Kim feels truly blessed to have worked with.
An early introduction to the world of hairdressing came courtesy of Kim’s inspirational mother, who ignited his passion for the craft at her salon when he was just 14 years old. With an already-flourishing career, Australian-born Kim arrived in Hong Kong over 40 years ago and has never looked back. His affection for his adopted city extends to its people, whom he describes as dynamic, loving, caring and entrepreneurial.
Kim has witnessed many changes over the course of his long and distinguished career, and recognises that style is something that constantly changes. This belief helps to inform his work, which also evolves over time, “Todays women want a look that works for them, rather than something that may be fashionable but that isn’t achievable.”The Kim Robinson team are famous for their easy “wash-and-go” styles, “We aim to deliver a natural, relaxed look that flatters our client and is not lacquered into place, as hairstyles used to be”. The team’s bespoke approach, where styles are tailored to compliment the individual rather than necessarily following the latest trends, is very much part of Kim Robinson’s enduring appeal, and the reason why so many of his clients find themselves stopped in the streets to ask who did their hair.
These days, clients have ready access to magazines, “how-to” guides and YouTube clips, purporting to show the latest styles and how to create them. However these generic guides aren’t always the best reference material for a client hoping to achieve a dramatic change. Younger people may experiment with trends, as they haven’t yet found their own “look”. But as we mature, so do our preferences, and most people will, with the help of an expert, find a signature style that works for them.
Before making any significant changes, Kim recommends thorough research. Will a certain style require regular trims, treatments or products, and will this fit within your budget? How often will you need a restyle? Does the style work with your hair type? How much time do you have to spend on styling your hair every day? Is the style manageable at home? Many trendy cuts may look great in pictures, but often don’t work for everyday life.
Kim’s recent book Go Get Gorgeous encourages Asian women to be more adventurous with their style by offering various style suggestions. This invaluable reference aims to address the knowledge gap in the limited material currently available to Asian women looking to change their style,offeringa portfolio of looks better suited to Asian face shapes. As Kim points out, there are already many style guides catering predominantly to western shape faces, however Asian women may not relate to these. With this, the first of what he hopes will be a series of books; Kim aims to bridge this gap, giving Asian women the opportunity to find their own flattering signature style.
Whilst Kim’s name is now synonymous with style, many may not be aware of his caring, generous and philanthropic side. For many years, Kim has been involved with the Cancer Fund, as this is a cause dear to his heart. Kim’s dear friend, the actress and singer Anita (Yim-Fong) passed away from cancer in 2003, but it was his mother’s breast cancer diagnosis thatinitially prompted his involvement with the charity.
Diagnosed with Stage Four breast cancer, Kim’s mother’s prognosis was initially poor; but with the love, care and support from a localWestern Australian cancer centre, she was able to successfully battle the disease. Noticing that this type of support was not readily available in Hong Kong, and witnessing first hand then struggle of his friend Anita, Kimbecame a passionate campaigner for the same facilities to be made available here in Hong Kong as overseas. With Hong Kong healthcare an expensive service, cancer treatment is not always available or affordable to everyone and Kim feels very strongly that more must be done to make general healthcare – not just cancer care – more widely available in this, one of Asia’s most incredible cities. This belief is what began his involvement with some of the city’s many deserving causes.
Kim was also recently involved with the HKAHF Elderly Care Day – Haircuts for HOPE. This campaign aimed to raise awareness of the Elderly Cataract Programme that the Foundation currently offers its beneficiaries. The talented Kim Robinson team donated haircuts throughout the day to a group of elderly people; a deeply moving experience that brought joy to all involved and one that he would recommendanyone, given the opportunity, should participate in.
Kim’s involvement with Hong Kong’s many charitable causes continues to raise his awareness of the city’s many needy groups. He believes that, while there will always be more to do, it can be difficult for the average person to know how best to get involved and help out. The key lies in raising awareness, through which comes greater engagement, “Helping, even in a small way, makes a huge difference to someone who is in need”. He adds, “Giving back to those who have supported me for so many years is important to me, and charity is about more than just giving money. Giving my time to make a difference comes with many rewards”. This ethos is why Kim continues to work tirelessly to support charities such as HKAHF.