Life and career
She began sewing at age four inspired by her grandmother of African descent, a tailoress, whom Ho says she 'probably drove mad'. Ho made patterns out of newspaper and by age 10 had a sewing machine at the end of the kitchen table 'that nobody was allowed to move,' which she used every day to make things for herself and four sisters. Lisa attended Pennant Hills High School. She later trained in fashion design at East Sydney Technical College, graduating in 1981 and spent a year working for three other companies, which she 'hated', before going out on her own.
Like many of Australia’s fashion designers, fresh out of college in 1982, Lisa Ho started her career at the Paddington markets for only 6 weeks with her designs that quickly brought her retail and media attention and began the Lisa Ho brand.
The Lisa Ho brand was one of the most recognised brands in Australia and had a strong celebrity following with the signature pieces being worn by Delta Goodrem, Bec Cartwright, Sarah Wynter, Elle Macpherson, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Olivia Newton-John and Jennifer Lopez.
Her international reputation was first recognised during the Sydney 2000 opening ceremony, which featured a special Lisa Ho designed segment celebrating her role in Australian fashion. She was also asked to design the gown worn by Olivia Newton-John for her performance to welcome the Olympic athletes. Ho's businesses employed 80 staff (excluding out-workers), who manned 12 signature stores and head office. Her label was also stocked in David Jones stores and available world wide via her online store.
On 8 May 2013, Lisa Ho Designs and Lisa Ho Retail were placed into administration. This came just months after the company announced plans to list on the Australian Securities Exchange. On 18 June 2013, the administrators announced the closure of Lisa Ho Group, including all Lisa Ho stores across Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. The company reportedly was $12 million in debt and failed to attract buyers after going into administration.
- "Lis Ho's husband Philip Smouha puts companies in administration". The Daily Telegraph. 21 March 2009. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- Australian Vogue
- Melocco, Jen (2007-10-26). "Forever chic, Lisa Ho celebrates 30years in fashion". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 March 2008.
- Hogan, Louise (2007-04-23). "Soap stars clean up at TV awards". Irish Independent. Retrieved 3 March 2008.
- Fallon, Amy; Moran, Jonathon (2005-05-02). "Logies hat-trick for Rove". The Age. Retrieved 3 March 2008.
- Burns, Janice Breen (2004-02-27). "Oscar, Oscar, Oscar, Oi, Oi, Oi!". The Age. Retrieved 3 March 2008.
- Enting, Carolyn (2004-07-29). "Show time.". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 3 March 2008.
- "Lisa Ho another fashion victim". The Australian. 11 May 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
- Lisa Ho to close its doors forever, Australian Associated Press via Yahoo!7, 18 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013
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