My style: Fenella Frost

FENELLA FROST: A good black jacket works for casual or smart looks.
FENELLA FROST: A good black jacket works for casual or smart looks.

Fenella Frost was born in London. Her father, Michael Frost, is English, her mother Adele (Soper) Frost was a New Zealander. Fenella's early years were in Britain but from there, as she tells Kate Fraser, "life has been a bit of an endless journey".

"I lived in France and went to school in Paris, then my secondary school years were first at Rangi Ruru in Christchurch then Le Rosey in Switzerland. I went to university at St Andrew's in Scotland (long before William and Kate) and gradually a career in international development emerged.

"I am now working in Haiti, and Christchurch people might identify with my office, which is a portacabin near the airport in Port au Prince. However, we dress quite formally for work - a corporate look - as working with developing country governments means we are expected to have respect for the culture of the country we are living in. We see many government ministers and officials during the day so smart suits are a must.

Apart from the working 'uniform' what is your preferred style?

Smart/casual. I like to team skinny designer jeans with classic silk shirts.

Is there a favourite garment or accessory you return to?

My mum died late last year and now I nearly always wear a gold chain my father gave her many years ago one Christmas when we were with the family in Southland. I also love a perfect little coral necklace of hers. I am so pleased to have these as I feel closer to her when I'm wearing them.

On your many journeys do you take time to check out the fashion scene?

Some of my earliest forays into fashion on my own - that is, without the watchful eye of my mother - were in Christchurch and even now on my regular trips home I often pass through Christchurch to take advantage of the shopping. It's fun to see Quinns is still going strong.

Witchery, Country Road and Untouched World are particular favourites and on my most recent trip Storm has been a new discovery. It is exciting to see the shops and space developed in your central business district since the earthquake. The use of space and the variety of designers is a wonderful and innovative approach to reviving the area.

Do you have a favourite fashion place/brand or designer?

George St in Edinburgh is small, beautiful and has fantastic clothes and shoe shops. It is a running joke with my Scottish friends that if I ever go through Edinburgh I will always arrive four hours late as a result.

I am always on the lookout for smart black jackets - they are good for smart or casual - and I like LK Bennett shoes. Not only because they are beautiful but because the brand does large sizes. I take a size 43 shoe.

Are you a shopper with plans or do you wing it?

My general tendency is to wing it but living in Haiti means that I have to be a little bit organised so I always have an idea of essentials I need.

Is there something you will never wear?

Gold hot pants a la Kylie. Sadly even when I was young enough to get away with that sort of thing my [Soper family] rugby genes meant that I never had the legs to carry this off.

Do you have a style role model?

My mother will always be my style icon. She truly knew how to dress to suit and even when she was having chemotherapy, she did her hair and makeup every morning, even if most of her day was spent lying on the sofa.

As well as your work and your travelling lifestyle, are there other other interests?

I like to be active. When I can I love to ski - which is certainly not an option in Haiti - but I also like swimming and hiking. I had a wonderful two-day hike in Haiti a couple of months ago when we went into the mountains.

It was a reminder of how, even in such a devastated country, there can still be real beauty in the countryside.

Anything on your must-do-soon list?

From Christchurch I am flying to New York for a few days so that might provide a little bit of retail therapy before I go back to Haiti, and apart from that I have always wanted to try ski touring. The plan is to try to fit it in next European winter season in Chamonix.

The challenge with friends who work in many different countries is getting everyone in the same country at the same time.

If it was up to you . . .

All shoe shops would stock size 43. One of the sadnesses of my life is how many beautiful shoes I have never been able to buy because they were not available in my size!

The Press