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Lucky For Life: Val and Vanda Heng-Vong

There’s a reason the friendship bracelet has long been the sartorial symbol of platonic love. Colorful, characterful and one-of-a-kind, it’s an apt embodiment of what true connection feels like. As we get older and our relationships (hopefully) mature, there’s something lovely about the humble friendship bracelet evolving with us. A favorite for over twenty years, the Lucky bracelets’ personalizable charms and intricate woven style are the grown-up version of a childhood favorite.

Here, we take a closer look at some of the dynamic duos we admire, whether they’re friends, sisters, or mothers and daughters. Because let’s face it, there’s something about true female companionship that’s just so intriguing; the bond between women—how it blossoms, survives and thrives over time.

French Cambodian sisters Val and Vanda Heng-Vong prove that style does run in the family. After moving to London in their early twenties and quickly noticing a market for the chic, understated way of dressing they’d grown up with in Paris, they started the fashion boutique Aimé together in 1999. In the twenty plus years since, it’s become the go-to for stylish Londoners looking to give their wardrobe a timeless French twist. Meanwhile, the sister’s bond, like their taste, has only gotten stronger.

Val and Vanda childhood picture

Would you describe your relationship as a typical sister-sister relationship?


Yes, we feel we have a typical sister-sister relationship. Although we know we’re lucky to get on so well; not all sisters do. We started a business together! We were missing things we could buy in Paris and, since we both had experience in different areas, we felt very complimentary from the onset. Although we were so young, we were determined and fearless; we just followed our instincts and we were ready to work hard. For many years we had to do all the jobs, but we knew the learning curve was the key to success.

What’s something you’ve learned over time about the other that’s surprised you?


Val:
I am surprised at how my sister stays calm and keeps things under control, even in the most difficult situations.
Vanda:
I am amazed at how decisive my sister is; it surprises me because I am just the opposite.

When was the last time you called the other and why?


Val:
I went to our Shoreditch store yesterday for the first time since we’ve been able to reopen and I called her to say the store was beautiful and our team is great.
Vanda:
Tonight to plan dinner (we eat at home together at least once a week).

If your friendship/ relationship was a song, which would it be?


You’ve Got a Friend” by Carole King.

What’s your favorite trip you’ve ever taken together?


There are many, but our trip to Japan for Val’s 40th was incredible.

Val and Vanda in Japan

What is the last gift you gave the other and what was the occasion?


Val:
A staycation at Café Royal, which is part of the same group as the Lutetia in Paris, which we love, and where we have really nice memories with our children when they were tiny. Also, a pottery workshop we’re going to take together, and a Marni basket for her birthday.
Vanda:
An Astier de Villatte candle, a punch needle kit and the book Letters of Note: Mothers.

Is there a book or movie you recently recommended to the other?


We watched Beautiful Boy together and loved it. We could relate to how the characters could have been any of us, or our friends as parents or children. Then, the rawness of drug addiction and the father’s unconditional love are beautifully portrayed. Finally, of course, Timothée Chalamet’s incredible performance.

What’s the best advice you’ve either gotten from or given to the other?


Vanda
: Val made me understand I have to choose my battles.
Val: My sister reminds me to enjoy simple pleasures.

How are your styles different? How are they similar?


Our styles are similar yet very different. We love the same staples: a good pair of jeans, a nice handbag, but Val will go for the more understated, timeless pieces whereas I can be more colourful and adventurous. We very often choose the same items but typically Val will pick the navy version and I’ll have the pink or the green.

What do you admire most about each other?


Val:
My sister’s resilience.
Vanda:
She has a visionary sense of fashion.

What single word best captures your relationship?

Val: Unique
Vanda:
Special

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Do you have any nicknames for each other? If so, what are they?


We call each other “child” in Cambodian. There is a different word for each of us as the youngest and eldest. Here’s a phonetic interpretation: Val is Aun to Vanda, Vanda is Ban to Val.

What colours and symbols did you pick for your Carolina Bucci Lucky bracelets and why?


Vanda:
I was attracted by the many colours of the Superlucky, it made me think of holidays in Italy.
Val:
I love the Owl charm on the Intuition. It represents wisdom and knowledge.