It was her first time attending the annual ICON ball last Thursday, and she ended up being crowned one of the 20 Best Dressed women at the glamorous shindig held at Shangri-la Hotel's Island Ballroom.
Attended by over 300 by-invitation-only guests comprising the who's who of Singapore's high society, it was organised by Chinese luxury lifestyle magazine ICON, which celebrated its 12th anniversary this year with an Evening in Paradise theme.
Dressed in a bespoke black and silver gown by local designer Vaughn Tan, Ms Daphne Teo, 34, told The New Paper that she was honoured and did not expect to place in the top 20.
The chief investment officer of her family's privately-owned investment company, D3 Capital, said: "The guests are mostly women and I really like that, it is like a fun girls' night out.
"This ball to me is about having fun, and if I've had fun, it is as good as winning."
Ms Teo, who was a 2002 The New Paper New Face finalist and an ex-national swimmer, said the night's theme presented a rare chance to wear prints.
She started working with Tan on the dress a month ago, and its halter neckline was inspired by a Zuhair Murad gown worn by beauty queen-actress Olivia Culpo at the Golden Globe Awards this year.
Ms Teo said: "He is a meticulous guy, and he knows my body type. I needed only one fitting for this dress."
Ms Joni Lim, another newish face at the ball, also snagged a place in the top 20.
The 32-year-old director of land developer Prominent Land, who was attending the ball for the second time, wore a black and yellow two-piece gown from Heng Nam Nam Boutique.
Ms Lim, who married recently, said the black top was a wedding gift from the designers and thought it would be meaningful to incorporate it into her dress.
Her ensemble, including a Chanel clutch, Louis Vuitton shoes and hair and make-up cost about $10,000.
She said: "The inspiration for this dress is flight to paradise. It spells freedom, which to me is about being yourself and comfortable in your own skin. I am happy and grateful to be one of the top 20."
When it comes to repeat winners, Ms Lynn Yeow-De Vito, founder of parenting website sassymamasg.com and Loop PR and Consulting firm, donned a cream gown with colourful embroidery by Irene Ho The Atelier.
The 36-year-old said: "There are always no expectations. It is about dressing up and having a good time."
Her winning dress last year was by the same designer.
Her outfit choice this year came with a red 3D-printed shoulder piece produced in collaboration with the Raffles Design Institute.
Her husband, Mr Beppe De Vito, who heads Italian restaurant group il Lido, sported a matching set of red 3D-printed flowers and butterflies pinned on his suit.
But perhaps the winner who stood out most was health and executive coach Lim Swee Lin, 46, who bucked the trend in a mint green suit with bold floral prints from the Gucci Spring 2016 menswear line.
Saying she was not expecting to place in the top 20, Ms Lim said: "When I got here, everyone was in a ballgown and looking so gorgeous. I actually felt a bit underdressed."
She recalled the time when she was almost unable to buy the suit, which made her "happy just looking at it" as the colour puts a smile on her face.
She said: "They didn't want to sell me the pants at first because altering them to fit me would change the structure a lot. I persuaded them and explained how to alter the pants.
"Now they are like a sarong wrap in front, and it is easy to change them back to the original cutting. Maybe my son can wear them when he is older - if he is brave enough."
This article was first published on April 25, 2017.
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