Thursday, March 31, 2011

SHOErotica: Nude Show

Everybody loves a good nude shoe. Acne's pin-heeled boot, Lanvin's peep-toe ribboned wedge (above), and Alexander Wang's new stilettoed Freja motorcycle bootie all fit the bill.

Get them all at SSense.


Crystal Clear

I tend to be rather lazy when it comes to going to events (undoubtedly residual resistance from the days of print publishing when I had to go to quite a few of them.) Yet, when I was invited to the Aura by Swarovski launch, I immediately said yes because a) I’m interested in pretty much all things beauty related (as evidenced by my odes to MAC, Clarisonic, nail polish etc.) and b) I’m interested in seeing how a crystal brand that has launched a host of accessories from jewellery to USB drives would tackle the beauty segment.

Smartly enough, Swarovski seemed to realize its strength is in design and so partnered with the perfume experts of Clarins Fragrance Group to develop Aura. The scent itself is very suitable for the coming warm months (if the weather does decide to make up its mind to go warm. I’m shivering in my jacket right now while contemplating hot chocolate and it’s near April!) Notes of lychee, white jasmine and rose are evident in the fragrance. The EDT is rather light and the scent fades after an hour and a half.

The concept of the design is based on “light” which makes sense for Swarovski. After all, light reflecting off crystals are always so pretty. The EDT bottle is asymmetrical and faceted to diffract light with a singular crystal atop the bottle. In addition to the perfume, the Aura by Swarovski line also offers a body care line as well as a jeweled pendant (similar to the ones that Christian Dior does) that holds either a pink gloss or a silver shimmer. One thing worth noting is that all the EDT bottles are refillable which is a nice gesture towards environmental friendliness, and I definitely appreciate that from the brand.

Available at Clarins counters and at Swarovski starting April 15 2011. Prices range from HK$420 to HK$750 for the fragrance, HK$270 to HK$550 for the body care line and HK$530 to HK$610 for the jewel.


Black Sheep

Arts and culture guest blogger hkCultureGeek, Gillian Chu, is a Hong Kong raised Canadian who enjoys exploring the secret cultural spots around town. You can contact her at

After furniture shopping in Causeway Bay's Homeless, my Mom and I accidentally came across Wun Ying Gallery upstairs. Carrie Chau, an artist featured in Wun Ying Gallery, has always been selling her products in Homeless, and now she has set up her own little place upstairs.

Carrie Chau's pieces have always reminded me of Nara Nishitomo. As a local artist, her works have often been associated with many different charitable organisations, where her products are sold in for the benefit of causes such as UNICEF and Heifer Hong Kong.

The Gallery is mainly in two parts: the exhibition and the shop. The exhibition features sculptures and paintings, most of which are behind bars. My mom thinks it creates the feeling that the protagonists of artwork have been trapped.

The shop sells everything that they use to sell in Homeless. If you like Carrie Chau's work, then you are in luck, because it is sold in every way you can imagine: figurine, lamp, poster, postcard, t-shirt, bag, purse, card holder, clock, cushion, mug......

So next time you are heading to Homeless, be sure to drop by Wun Ying Gallery as well!

Wun Ying Gallery
3/F, 19 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
2890 8793


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Designer Togs for Dogs

A bit of news if you haven't yet heard -- Balenciaga is set to launch a small range of dog accessories to include leashes and collars next season. The items will ring it at up to US$295 in colours such as those shown above. Here's to hoping that means we will see pups on the runway escorted by the typical models...

From a retail point of view, I can't imagine why anyone would drop that kind of dollar on what looks like a fairly non-descript solid-coloured neon collar. The appeal of Gucci and Louis Vuitton dog accessories is, of course, the show-off factor of the monogram. But you could buy any old neon pink, yellow or green dog collar and your canine BFF will look just as sharp as any Balenciaga-boasting bulldog. And you can spend the difference on dog treats -- your dog will love you more for it.

Image: InStyle


Geek Spy: Etch a Sketch iPhone Case

Take a trip down memory lane with this Etch a Sketch iPhone case. And don't think Etch a Sketch is something just for kids, check out the gallery of amazing Etch a Sketch artist, George Vlosich III, who creates amazing images out of a child's toy. Etch a Sketch iPhone case available at ThinkGeek for US$24.99. Now the only thing left to do after buying the case is to download the Etch a Sketch iPhone app to make the whole experience authentic.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Somme of Parts

Let's keep this short and sweet, much like the beauty routine advocated by the Somme Institute, a skincare brand sold at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental. Use it.

Most beauty brands suggest that we need different products for different skin types; sometimes even different products for different times of year, different parts of your face, different climates, etc. Somme Institute tells you to say buh-bye to a counter top full of products in favour of a five-step routine that you use day in, day out, no matter what the circumstance. The philosophy is simple: Instead of treating dry skin with moisture or acne-prone skin with zit-zapping juice, the five products just bomb your skin with all the necessary vitamins and nutrients until it's forced to be healthy and good.

I've been using the line for a few months now and love it -- and the whole five-product thing might seem like a hassle, but it's customisable to your own routine. Plus, you can layer the stuff on without waiting for anything to dry. It also appears that the key suite isn't all five products, but the middle three. So keep your own cleanser (preferably a non-foaming one that won't overdry) and then apply 2 (Transport pads for exfoliation), 3 (Serum), and 4 (A-bomb moisturizer), and follow up with Somme's Treat & Tint SPF tinted moisturizer instead of 5 (Double Defense). And then wait for your skin to look and feel great.


Geek Peek: Model Jocelyn Luko

After talking to Dan Caten of DSquared and Geraldine Howard of Aromatherapy Associates, we take an inside peek inside model Jocelyn Luko's life. Born in Hawaii to a Japanese mother and Austrian, Irish and French mixed father, Jocelyn's been travelling for the past 12 years and is now based in Hong Kong. Read on to find out what song she sings in the shower, what's on her current lust list and the last thing she thinks about before going to sleep.

HKFG: What’s on your lust list?
JL: Puma sneakers, Puma jacket, Christian louboutin heels

HKFG: What fashion item can’t you live without
JL: My Loewe bag

HKFG: What's your favourite thing about HK?
JL: The energy of the city, people and convenience

HKFG: What song do you sing in the shower?
JL: "Close to you" by The Carpenters

HKFG: What you would wish for if a genie came out of a lamp to grant you 3 wishes?
JL: That everyone would love and protect the planet and animals and help each other. That all the children in the world would have love, protection and nutrition. To have a successful business so I can help more people and take my family traveling around the world.

HKFG: What's the last thing you think about before going to sleep?
JL: My husband, family and babies(my cats)


Monday, March 28, 2011

Bag Lady: Christian Louboutin Pigalle Clutch

While I love Mr Louboutin's shoes, I've always found his bags more a miss than hit, so I was very surprised when I saw the Pigalle Clutch. What could have been kitchy shoe clutch ended up being a classy affair. Unless you know that it's inspired by the Pigalle shoe, the front of the clutch could just as well be a structured detail with red highlights which also provides a nice wink wink nudge nudge to those shoe lovers out there. Get it at Christian Louboutin


Made in Hong Kong: Paper Cut

Arts and culture guest blogger hkCultureGeek, Gillian Chu, is a Hong Kong raised Canadian who enjoys exploring the secret cultural spots around town. You can contact her at

As a girl who grew up with an obsession over origami, it is no surprise that Percy became a Paper Artist. She explains her inspiration and the art of paper below.

What is Paper Art? What tools and materials do you need for it?

Paper art is a craft that involves papermaking, paper cutting, and origami architecture. It dates back to the 6th Century, where the Japanese invented origami. Paper cuttings, which I specialise in, are usually made in stacks of three or four, unless otherwise specified by the one who commissioned the work.

Only simple tools are required for creating Paper Art: paper, cutting knife, and cutting mat. What it really takes is patience and a whole load of imagination.

Tell us about your commissioned work.

My commissioned work tends to be fabricated through in depth knowledge of my clients and the stories behind them. I recently made a paper cutting for my brother Perry’s engagement. I made an one-of-a-kind paper cutting for him and his bride-to-be, incorporating various symbols, such as the musical instruments as they both are musically inclined, and the Yale University emblem since that is where they met each other.

My other pieces usually arise from a motivational or romantic quote. On a bad hair day, my friends and I would go to Balalaika for a glass of their Special Lemonade. This cocktail is super strong and is bound to cheer you up from any adversity, so it became my muse for a piece .

Who are you inspired by? What are the difficulties in producing your work?

I look up to Rob Ryan’s work. He is a London based artist who incorporates romantic sayings with a melancholy edge into his paper cutting, which is interesting to examine. The sayings he incorporates into his work, along with his calligraphy, is priceless.

I was much inspired by Bovey Lee’s exhibition a while back, as her intricate work reflects her bi-cultural experience. Her paper cuttings shadow the Chinese traits with a modern twist to it.

My difficulty in Paper Art is definitely creativity, or rather, the lack of it. Sometimes there are ideas that float around but I don’t know what to do with them. What I usually do to get out of a rut is to experiment with new materials and new techniques to generate some sparks.

What is the awareness of Paper Art in Hong Kong? Where can we learn more about it?

Paper Art definitely deserves more love from the general public. Although it isn’t prominently featured yet, it is up and coming, and there are already several contemporary Paper Artists in Hong Kong.

If you want to learn more about Paper Art, and create an unique masterpiece yourself, come and join my workshops!

Percy So
9191 4687
5/F, 12 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Private Party

As you may or may not know, Liberty Private Works lost its hot chef Makoto Ono a couple of months ago when he returned to his hometown for family reasons, leaving the private kitchen high and dry for a while. When I heard from one of the owners that a new chef had been hired, serving "progressive cuisine" of the same high quality we'd come to expect from Makoto, I put my name down to try out the food in early March.

As it turned out, we were the first patrons to dine with the new chef, and ahead of the rest of the crowd, no less, as the kitchen still hasn't officially reopened. As we were technically the guinea pigs, and the menu will be slightly altered based on comments, it's not really fair to do a review, but things were so close to perfect that I couldn't resist jotting down a few notes here. Though the new chef is a Hong Kong boy at heart, his last culinary position was at Daniel Boulud's Daniel in New York, which has strongly influenced his gastronomic style.

As with before, the dinner is a set featuring seven courses, except that it rotates every two weeks or so instead of on a nightly basis (which is no biggie as no one ever visits a private kitchen more than once every couple of weeks, especially not once the waiting list kicks in). As for the menu, the Gallic influence is stronger than the Japanese, resulting in a purer experience if also less experimental.

Raw scallops with grapefruit and passionfruit foam were a great way to start the meal, light and fresh but with enough citrus zing to whet the appetite for more. We were super hungry because some people (ahem, bankers suck, ahem) were an hour late, so we hoovered this up pretty darn quick.

Raw tuna and avocado with cripsy rice was pretty divine, although seemingly out of place in this menu. I won't complain though -- the spicy sauce applied to the tuna was more aggressive that the kind you get at sushi restaurants, which was a pleasant surprise, and the puffed rice (perhaps borrowed from Daniel's menu?) added a generous texture to the combination.

The photo doesn't do this justice, but a giant raviolo filled with a liquid egg yolk sat on a bed of truffle cream, giving you the most intense attack of flavours and textures. A highlight of the night indeed. Truffle is pretty pungent taste, and in my opinion is misused and wasted in many contexts. But Liberty has a good track record with the coveted ingredient (best truffle fries EVER at Liberty Exchange) and here, too, it's used sparingly as an accent. Anything with a liquid egg yolk is a win in my book.

This salmon had a lot to live up to -- I once deemed Makoto's version to be the best I had ever had in my life as a both a pig and a food journo. And this I did really enjoy, "barely cooked" and seasoned with only a drizzle of sauce to allow the flavours of the salmon to shine through, although I do find this technique of slow-cooking at low temperatures now reminds me very much of Harlan's style; I think it's the new thing he likes to show off with at Gold.

I'll say that as competent as the mains are, it's the appetizers that really sell Liberty Private Works. This, chicken with pancetta and potato gnocchi, was an interesting blend of textures, and beautifully cooked, but a bit over-seasoned. A popular refrain at the table was "how do you want us to eat this?", a query that the chef invariably replied with "everything all together." In this case, it makes a difference -- you need the gnocchi to cut the strength of the pancetta.

Admittedly, by the time we got to the beef duo, I was pretty darn full. At the second or third course I'd thought I might need to make a stop at Cul de Sac after dinner for a pizza to fill the space, but that really was wishful thinking. To sum up my thoughts from one bite of each (the rest I fed to Chris): the short rib was on the dry side; the beef tenderloin was as the name suggests: tender.

The pastry course never was a highlight at Liberty Private Works, and that tradition sort of continues here (it's better at Liberty Exchange!) Though far from stunning, it's certainly not bad.

For an overall comparison, I'd say though the cuisine is much less exploratory than it once was, it's certainly no lower in quality. I'll miss Makoto, but as my dining companions noted, this experience was still far more enjoyable than TBLS (which I haven't gotten to try yet) and a lot more filling than Ta Pantry (after which a pizza filler IS needed). So all you need to know is this: I'll be back. And you should try it too.

Liberty Private Works will be moving to a new location in a couple of months, so stay tuned for an update. It'll be interested to see how things go when they've upgraded to a space that holds 30+ instead of just 16. After all, a private kitchen works best when it is just that -- private.


PS I Love You

Bag Lady is usually FashionGeek's thing -- I do shoes; she does bags. Unless perchance I've come across the most awesomest bag ever... This one's for Laura. PS11 clutch in white from Mrs H.


Bistro Dining on Staunton Street

Food and travel guest blogger hkLifestyleGeek gives us her next scoop on fantastic restaurants around town and travel tips. Contact her at 

La Marmite is a new restaurant that recently opened along Staunton Street and it's a charming place that opens up to the street where passers by can check out the people inside, and vice versa. As a result the atmosphere is very Parisian, complete with large French posters on the pistachio-coloured walls. Tres chic, non? And to complement the decor, the eatery aims to give as authentic French bistro dishes as possible, and the food is magnifique... perhaps because of all the butter in it!

Executive chef Renaud Marin presents traditional French dishes -- some retaining the classic taste, others with a slight twist. Some of the starters on the menu can be shared, such as the foie gras creme brule that comes with sour dough toast and salad (HK$148). It's a large, rich portion for one, but sinfully delicious. It's a smooth spread that's perfect with the toast and thankfully comes with refreshing greens to balance things out.

Another worth splitting is the potted smoke salmon and capers rillette that also comes with the toast and salad (HK$98). This appetiser is perfect for warm temperatures, as it's light and tasty.

Classic die-hards can have the six Bourgogne snails in parsley and garlic butter (HK$98). I haven't quite mastered securing the snails in those clamps, so if you have any tips, please pass them along...

For mains I highly recommend the whiting fish with caper with crushed new potatoes (HK$178). The fish flakes easily against the fork and is delicious. The sweetness of the fish contrasts with the sourness of the capers for an interesting combination. And then who can resist some roughly mashed potatoes underneath?

A heavier dish is the rabbit and foie gras in a pie (HK$228) that comes with mesclun salad. The pastry is made from scratch by Marin and he proudly adds this was one of the first few dishes he made in culinary school. The flavours again are rich and full, best shared or for one looking for a hearty meal.

The vegetables 'Bagna Cauda' (HK$188) should be shared, as it's basically sliced raw vegetables such as celery, cucumber, carrots and radishes that are dipped in a rich anchovy truffle cream sauce.

Make sure you save room for dessert -- the Paris Brest (HK$78) is a traditional Parisian almond pastry with a creamy almond filling topped with sliced almonds, while the apple and Calvados tarte tatin (HK$78) comes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The wine list is mainly French bien sur, and includes bottles exclusively from 10 French boutique wineries.

So there's no excuse not to check out La Marmite -- it's a great taste of France. Bon appetit!

La Marmite
46 Staunton Street
2803 7808

Disclosure: Aqua is a client of FashionGeek’s day job. Photos taken when FashionGeek went to try the food. All views are presented by guest blogger LifestyleGeek


Thursday, March 24, 2011

SHOErotica: Issue Spiked Leather Platform Oxford Boot

Get them at Olive Shoppe.


A Sliver of Silver

The adidas SLVR collection is one of those collections where surprisingly few people seem to have heard about it. Definitely more lifestyle than functional, adidas SLVR doesn’t seem to have much of a brand identity besides trying to confuse people into not knowing whether it’s pronounced adidas Silver or Sliver. (It’s the former for those who are interested.) Supposedly, it’s created for the consumer in between adidas Originals and Y3 but pieces from their Spring/Summer 11 collection reminds me more of Club Monaco and Zara. So I was rather surprised when I heard that Jeremy Scott did a capsule collection for them and even more so to find that it’s wearable and that the clothing would lure my lazy butt off the couch to check it out in person at Harvey Nichols where it’s sold exclusively in Hong Kong. Both menswear and womenswear is available with prices ranging from HK$630 to HK$3,980. Click on for the rest of the capsule collection.