I have a confession to make: I have a girl crush on Marlene Hu Aldaba. Let me explain. Marlene embodies so many of the traits that I appreciate the most in women: great style, creativity, intelligence, originality, a sense of humor…I could go on. But what I really admire about Marlene is that she has managed to build a mini-empire of style in a city that, before her arrival at least, was more preppy than fashion forward.
Even if you are on top of your fashion game, one stop at either of Marlene’s eponymous boutiques, Hu’s Shoes and/or Hu’s Wear, and you will most likely discover a designer you have never heard of (and immediately love). Her brilliantly curated and gorgeously displayed inventory is an eye-popping combination of what I consider to be fashion at its best: clothing that is sophisticated and feminine, but edgy. She is also a thoughtful and caring friend, one who thinks to send you a bouquet of peonies the day after you have major surgery. If you haven’t visited her stores yet, you’re missing out, but be warned: when you do, you will probably go home with items in at least one of her chic kraft paper shopping bags.
Herewith, in fine detail, Marlene Hu Aldaba.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Moist chocolate cake with buttercream frosting. Extra frosting on the side.
What is your greatest fear? Falling down stairs and chipping my front tooth.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Obsessing over details.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Not obsessing over details.
Which living person do you most admire? My friends.
What is your greatest extravagance? My haircut.
What is your current state of mind? Mental.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Patience.
On what occasion do you lie? On questionnaires.
What do you most dislike about your appearance? Vertically challenged.
Which living person do you most despise? People who sneeze and don’t cover their mouths.
What is the quality you most like in a man? Humor.
What is the quality you most like in a woman? Confidence.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Lady boss.
What or who is the greatest love of your life? My tailor. He makes magic happen.
When and where were you happiest? Walking through mud in fancy shoes through the pouring rain in a jungle in Tulum.
Which talent would you most like to have? Would love to be able to carry a tune.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Not to overthink everything!
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Not joining Snapchat. You’re welcome, world.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? Music.
Where would you most like to live? In the forest only if WiFi is available.
What is your most treasured possession? Squatty potty.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Working in a traveling circus.
What is your favorite occupation? Lady boss.
What is your most marked characteristic? Honesty/loyalty.
What do you most value in your friends? Honesty.
Who are your favorite writers? David Sedaris.
Who is your hero of fiction? My Biggy Pony.
Who are your heroes in real life? Kimmie Schmidt.
What are your favorite names? Howie and Dolly.
What is it that you most dislike? Balls of hair in the corner of the steps in NYC subway stations.
What is your greatest regret? Regret is for sissies.
How would you like to die? Eating cake.
What is your motto? Put a tattoo on it.
Photo: Jen Eun