La bella figura

Italian style for business success. The need to make a good impression is ingrained in Italian culture. How does this translate across cultures?

It is undeniable that seeing a person with impeccable style pass by is captivating and intriguing. Successful Malaysian Australian business executive Christina Chia shares her love of Italian styling from food to fashion and the value of adopting and maintaining the frame of mind of la bella figura

I love visiting Italy, and I’m inspired by Italians’ dress sense and the quality of their fashion products. On a holiday years ago, traveling through Italy, I met a shop owner in Milan who shared the words la bella figura. The literal translation is “the beautiful figure,” and he went on to say that it is more than just dressing well; it’s a way of life – your appearance, your manners, your confidence, hospitality, food, friendships, and more. It encompasses your entire personal demeanor.

Christina Chia

Christina is an award-winning C-suite executive and a community champion. Recognized as a leading authority, she derives joy from serving, leading, and building meaningful connections to advance our communities.  As a strategist, she was able to create opportunities for sustainable value under the tough economic conditions of the COVID pandemic. In recognition of her achievements, she received the Victorian Multicultural Commission Award for Business Excellence in 2020. She was recently inducted into the inaugural Victorian Multicultural Commission Honor Roll in recognition of her contributions to the Victorian community, especially in raising over $300,000 through volunteer and community roles over the past decade.

It seems Christina has always had a sense of la bella figura coupled with a can-do attitude:

I arrived as a migrant in Australia with two suitcases and my two little girls, with hopes for a better future and opportunities, and my faith and willingness to work hard matched my courage to make it happen.

Christina wears many hats and has crafted her method to successfully get back to face-to-face meetings and public speaking. 

My style is a mix of classic elegance with contemporary, comfort-boosting confidence. Wearing statement pieces by high-end Italian designers is more than a brand for me. It’s the style and how it makes me feel. Maintaining a healthy glow from the inside out starts with a positive mindset. Smile! It is always your best accessory.

With a demanding work schedule and passionately committed to her community, life can be frantic yet exciting. She prioritizes mental and emotional well-being with meditation, lots of breathing, and time for herself to reset, recharge, and rejuvenate. 

To alleviate anxiety, I go over my outfits for the next day each night before I go to bed. Your style is your voice without speaking. As a senior corporate executive, it is critical to dress for success as the perception can translate to performance. I believe that a person’s dress sense reflects personality, character, mood, style, and individuality. It tells a story about you.

Photography by Peter Brodbeck & David Bignell