Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Down with the Gowns

Welcome to this year's edition of Oscar-fashion-commentary-coming-totally-later-than-every-other-internet-site-in-the-world! Rah! Anyway, we all know that it's not about the timing, more about what random things each publication/blog chooses to say. And since I've read all I want to read about the exact shade of Michelle Williams' LV dress (coral, we get it) I'll try to offer some different takes, and present some of the less usual suspects. (Like... John Corbett? With Bo Derek?)

My best-dressed of the evening amid what was a somewhat lackluster red carpet, was Rooney Mara in Givenchy Couture. Which is biased because I just like her so much without ever having seen her in anything. I refuse to watch her movie until I finish the book, and I can't finish the book because my Kindle died. So I will just say that I love it when Goth chicks wear white.

Li Bingbing gets to go EVERYWHERE nowadays. She's at Cannes; she's at the Oscars... WHY? It teaches poor morals for our children. Like, all you have to do is be a really pretty Asian girl and you can go to all the best parties and wear all the prettiest dresses. I wonder if it's any fun for her? Does she speak English? She wears Georges Chakra Couture beautifully, whatever the answers are to those questions.

I haven't seen Steven Spielberg recently. I did not realize how much he looks like my chief editor. Or maybe it's that whole out-group homogeneity thing, and all white guys with beards look the same to me. "Santa? Is that you?"

I hate women over 60 who look better than me. You'd think I'd be used to it, if you saw one of our ex-bosses.

Why does Kelly Ripa get to go to the Oscars? I really like her, and her white dress. I thought I read somewhere that Carolina Herrera only wanted to dress one celeb (Tina Fey) but maybe I read wrong.

DID NOT KNOW THAT AIDAN SHAW IS DATING BO DEREK. I thought she liked olllddd guys. He's younger than her. But apparently they're 10 years on and going strong. And seriously, how do all these people get invited to the Oscars? I just wiki-ed it and neither of them is in any Oscar-worthy fodder, unless you count John Corbett being in Ramona and Bejeezus. Bejeezus indeed.

Santa Claus? Is that you? Oh, no. It's Nick Nolte.

Some will disagree but I liked Cameron Diaz in this orange VB dress so much more than that other lame pink thingy with feathers she wore to the main event.

So, John Corbett and Bo Derek and Kelly Ripa and Li Bingbing all get to go to the Oscars. And Zoe Saldana is at the after-party only. Looking event-appropriate and so super dialled-down chic in Marios Schwab. Hollywood is an interesting place.

Kate Bosworth in Prabal Gurung. When she wears something this normal (and on Oscar night) it makes you realize that it's not just about her wearing really cool stuff all the time. Girlfriend is just freaking hot, and THAT is why she is an It girl and we are just... girls.


This is Felicity Jones. I know she's supposed to be famous, I don't know why, and someone is going to make fun of me in the comments like when I had no idea why Jenna Lyons was at CFDA wearing J.Crew. But... I like her dress.

And now to the crowd-pleasers... Gwyneth Paltrow wouldn't have received half the props she did without the cape. It's a beautiful look, but the cape adds a risk factor -- sans, seen here, it's a very typical Paltrow sheath gown with a strategic splice somewhere, exactly what she always wears. Still, savvy move donning the cape for the carpet.

First, let's talk about the dress. Great dress. Angie can be such a downer sometimes, all saving the world and having lots of babies and having no time to eat and being too cool for fashion, that it's a pleasure to see her actually try. But people rightly keep talking about that weird prosthetic leg sticking out of that slit. I can't help but wonder -- is she actually standing normally, but the dress is constructed to be askew, so her leg seems like it's sticking out but it's really the dress construction? Such questions boggle the mind. And remind us why Angelina Jolie never gets dressed up. Because when she does, we all keep debating her leg, and forget to donate money to Cambodian orphans.

I remember when Michelle Williams was the chipmunk-cheeked slut on Dawson's Creek. And nobody liked her, and everybody loved Joey Potter. Oh, how times have changed! Now, the ground she walks on is paved from mermaid scales, and Katie Holmes is beard to a Scientologist. (She actually looked great in Elie Saab that night too, but nobody cares.) And Pacey is dating Diane Kruger! And Dawson... had a guest-star gig on How I Met Your Mother. This just goes to show, that just because you're lame in high school doesn't mean you will be when you grow up. Or vice versa.
By the way, I do think she looks adorable in Louis Vuitton, but it's sort of the best out of a rather boring crowd this year.

Didn't I just say how much I hate 60-year-olds who looks hotter than me? I never even liked Zac Posen until I saw Glenn Close in this.

Milla Jovovich is the only female celebrity that can be as hot as she is, and have you still want to be her friend. She seems like a good time. Like, even if she's wearing a million-dollar Elie Saab gown in whiter-than-white, she'd still go down with you to Burger King and eat a Whopper Jr meal, and wear the BK crown, too.

Rose Byrne, on the other hand, seems like the kind of hot girl that is so scary. Like Rachel McAdams in Mean Girls. So she wears an exquisite Vivienne Westwood gown, but it's smartly ankle length, because otherwise the other girls who are jealous are going to step on her train or try to trip her.


Five Senses Shoulder Pad Review

In some semblance of trying to live a healthier lifestyle, I’ve recently embarked on taking dance classes again after having given them up for five years. And I’ve discovered that five years is a long time. I am feeling my creaky old age now that I’m doing hundreds of sit ups in a go and my neck and shoulder has been aching for the past few days. So I leapt at the chance to trial a shoulder pad by Five Senses when they offered to send me one stating that it’s designed for muscle soothing while delivering aromatic sensory relief. I received my shoulder compress a few days ago and loved it. I dinged it in the microwave for two to three minutes and out came this nice warm shoulder pad that had this lemon grassy scent along with a slight ginger tinge. It definitely helped relax my muscles and the nice warm heat also was just cosy since the past few nights have been so cold. After putting it on for about 30 minutes, it cools down but I did notice a relief in my shoulders. According to Five Senses, the shoulder pad uses traditional herbs such as Thai Ginger, Leech Lime Peels, Tamarind Leaves and Lemon Grass to stimulate blood circulation. The herbal heat pads have a removable and washable cover and can be reused and reheated over 80 times.

Available at I Spa at InterContinental Hotel, Element Spa in American Club, Clearwater Spa in Clearwater Bay Country Club, Soma Spa in Parkview, Pure Fitness retail shop and Health Quest & K11 Design Store for HK$380. Be sure to check out their back pads, booties, slippers, leg pad and hand pads.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chocolate Mousse

Have I mentioned that I'm vehemently against going out for Valentine's Day dinner? The pork chop restaurant next to my house that normally does $50 tonkatsu takeout jacked up prices to over $450 for a multi-course set dinner. It's not even the kind of place you should be taking anyone on V-day.

So we decided this year, in order to retain the romantic quality of the day but eschew the commercialization, we'd cook. But there's a limit to how much you can do on a weekday, ergo: enter 15-minute chocolate mousse, a recipe nicked from Jamie's 30-minute meals, found here. It's the richest thing EVER, if you use the right chocolate. We get ours from I Heart Cake on Wanchai Road. Our adapted version of the recipe follows, sans the fruit but with a load of orange zest.

2 100 gram bars of good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
a small knob of butter
2 tablespoons golden caster sugar
double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
a splash of Grand Marnier
orange zest
cocoa powder, for dusting

Leave the chocolate bars in their wrappers and smash them against the counter. Get a large serving bowl and 2 mixing bowls out. Tip the chocolate chunks into a heatproof mixing bowl with the butter, then place over the pan of simmering water and leave to melt, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, add 2 tablespoons of sugar to the nice serving bowl with 300ml of cream and 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste or extract and whip until silky with soft peaks. Separate the eggs, adding the yolks to the whipped cream and the whites to the empty mixing bowl. Gently mix through, then put aside.

Add a pinch of salt to the whites and whisk really well until stiff (test it by holding it over your head!) By now the chocolate should be melted, so spoon it into the bowl of whipped cream with a swig of your favourite liqueur and the orange zest and stir through. Gently fold the egg whites through with a spatula, then put into the freezer to set.

Before serving, sprinkle with cocoa powder and top with chocolate shavings (use a vegetable peeler on a regular chocolate bar).


Monday, February 27, 2012

When Hong Kong is a Woman by Louis Vuitton

Last week, Louis Vuitton launched a new short film series that aims to capture the essence of different cities across the globe in relation to gender and our lovely city, Hong Kong is the subject of the debut film. Director Jean-Claude Thibaut features a range of Hong Kong personalities in the film such as Cara G, Marisa Yiu, Dee Poon, Janice Wong, Rosey Chan, Grace Huang, Aline Kittiphanh and Lok Wai Ching. What do you think? Is it an accurate depiction of our city? My first thought was how will Dee Poon and her friends shuffle the mahjong tiles on that smooth smooth table with no edges? Maybe the film's just not targeted at practical souls like me.


Book Bag

If you thought books were expensive (everybody's favourite excuse for not reading enough), wait till you get a load of the price tag on Olympia Le Tan's book clutches. And no wonder -- a favourite of celebs hitting the red carpet, these babies scream "I'm so fashionable with my discordant clutch but I'm intellectual, too, 'cause I read!" It's cheaper than a college degree!

As you can see, I myself am a fan of the angst-ridden female authors. But you can also rock some Aldous Huxley, Kafka, or good old-fashioned Henry James. If, that is, you have 1,140 British pounds to put towards proving that you know all about that boy who turned into a bug.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Precious Metals

I've been revolting against accessories lately, except sweet little delicate things like stud earrings or my old "xtina" nameplate necklace. It's not that I don't like big, bold bling anymore -- I do, I very much do, I'm so much of a more-is-more kind of girl -- but these days I want to be girly and simple and wear innocuously well-crafted items like teensy earrings inspired by one of my favourite household items, the remote control, or pendants so Lilliputian you have to squint and lean in close just to see what's going on. Or maybe, I'm just tricking you into staring at my cleavage. Either or.

These little babies come from Etsy's Upper Metal Class. How can you not love a shop name with a good pun, and a logo so totally inspired by Pink Floyd?


Bag Lady: Corto Moltedo Susan C Star Clutch

You know a bag is Bag Lady worthy when both Geeks independently decide to screencap an image of it and send it to each other. (Yes, ShoeGeek and I are codependent. Ironically, we chat nonstop but never get to see each other, so much that when I was passed a voucher to hand to her, I ended up couriering it over to her but that's a story for another blog post.) I saw this Corto Moltedo Susan C Star clutch featured on Refinery29's instagram and immediately fell in love. We've talked about my love for neons and obviously I must have some sort of bag fetish since I have managed to find one to profile a week for the past three years. So you can't go wrong by putting the two together. Plus, Gabrielecorto Moltedo is the son of Laura and Vittorio Moltedo, founders of Bottega Veneta, and grew up learning every aspect of the business from design to production with summers spent working in the family factory so you know that the quality is going to be good. Neon check, bag check, quality check. Nuff said.

Available at Cortco Moltedo for EUR 985.00.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

SHOErotica: Preen for Aldo Rise SS12

Still more excited for Preen's FW platform boots, but for instant gratification, Asos is selling this season's graphic floral mules... a little bit 'o 8-bit loving. They're something of a steal at around $1600, but the zoom function let me know that they're printed leather, rather than neoprene as I randomly fictionalized in my head while surfing after the runway show last Sept. Makes me a little bit cautious because leather tends to wrinkle and show laugh lines.

You know how there are a million beauty-product review sites and blogs? There really should be a forum for shoes: are they comfy, is the sizing true, how do they hold up walking through Lan Kwai Fong, etc. Sort of like Purse Forum. Look, there's a business idea for someone!

In the meantime, get these at Asos.


Geek Peek: Ayuchi Momose from Sake Bar GINN

A couple weeks ago, I was invited to a tasting at the newly opened and fabulously reviewed Sake Bar GINN where I met the owner Ayuchi Momose. I’m not going to on about the more than 70 types of sakes the venue has with more than 20 seasonal varieties or the delicious food but rather focus on Ayuchi since I’m sure you’ve been reading a lot about the restaurant itself since there’s so much online buzz. So without further ado, here’s our latest Geek Peek with Ayuchi, sake sommelier and owner of Sake Bar GINN. Read on to find a recipe on how to make your own sake toner as well as other tidbits about her.

Hong Kong Fashion Geek: What is your background?
Ayuchi Momose: I was born and raised in Yokohama Japan. I received a degree in Culinary art in 1997, so I have a government issued chef’s license. In 1998, I moved to New York and graduated from The Fashion Institute of Technology. I am an SSI (Sake Service Institute) certified sake sommelier and certified sake instructor.

HKFG: How did you become interested in sake?
AM: After graduating from university I worked for a Japanese import and export trading company specializing in textile. I travelled to Japan often to visit my clients and started drinking sake. I’ve always liked cooking, eating and drinking so the interest in sake came very naturally. I also like to travel and visiting breweries became an interest too.

HKFG: What are some tips on drinking sake?
AM: Temperature is key in drinking sake. It depends on what kind of sake you are drinking, also what you are eating with the sake as well. It is difficult at the beginning but once you start learning about sake, it is not so difficult.

HKFG: Is it a myth that drinking sake hot will ruin the drink ?
AM: I personally like warm sake as well, but you have to select a certain type of sake to warm. You also have to heat it in a right way. If you heat up sake too fast, the flavor will be ruined. For example, you heat up Junmai Daiginjo (Super Premium Sake), it will definitely be ruined.

HKFG: Where do you source the sakes for Sake Bar Ginn?
AM: I purchase from multiple importers in Hong Kong and also personally import some of my favorite sakes, that are not yet available in Hong Kong.

HKFG: What fashion item can’t you live without?
AM: My watch. I’ve been wearing the same watch for the past 10 years. I have so many other watches but I always use the same one.

HKFG: What thing you could live without... but still can’t bear to part with?
AM: Sake

HKFG: What’s your favorite thing about HK?
AM: Good food, good food, good food!
HKFG: What is your ultimate indulgence food OR go-to food when you’re stressing out?
AM: Sake and steak

HKFG: What celebrity you would most like to be/trade places with?
AM: Mmmm…I cannot find anyone specific, but I would love to be a food critique for few days so I can eat for living.

What is your secret-weapon beauty product?
AM: Sake. drinking sake is good for your skin. Also I make a toner using sake. (Recipe below)

Sake toner recipe:
Koji Mold within sake is really good for your skin. It has a good whitening effect and helps prevent acne. Nama Sake (Unpasteurized Sake) is filled with enzymes as well. So drinking sake moderately is good for your skin, as well as for use as toner. I use this toner at night after I wash my face. If your skin is extra sensitive, I don’t recommend it since it has some alcohol.

• Pure Rice Sake 100cc (Make sure use pure rice sake. avoid using Table sake because it has some sugar)
• Filtered cold water 100cc
• Glycerin 20cc (If you can find at drug stores. You can make it without glycerin too)

Keep it in a clean bottle and keep it in a refrigerator.
Lasts for about a month.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Beauty To Go

It’s quite the beauty week for us Geeks. I just received a lovely parcel from MyLuxBox, a beauty subscription service that delivers monthly beauty goodies to their members. Truth be told, I always accumulate samples from brands and never quite end up using them and so was a tad skeptical but I was pleasantly surprised when I opened up my box as the brands were definitely ones that I use and know are of a good quality.

There was a Laura Mercier Foundation Primer, Guerlain Blanc de Perle P.E.A.R.L. DROP whitening essence, Blanc de Perle UV Shield SPF 50 PA+++, Ren Hydra Calm Day Cream and Cleansing Milk, Alqvimia Aceite Corporal Body Stretch Stopper Body Oil and Body Sculptor Body Oil. With the exception of the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer (30ml), the others were definitely small samples (3ml to 6ml) which while great for travelling, might not be enough to convince people to buy full size products as there probably isn’t enough product to sustain you long enough until you see the full effect. However, if you are a beauty junkie and like widening your horizons with quality products then this might just do the trick. After all, who doesn’t like being delivered a surprise present once a month right?


Fashion Week Redux: Preen FW2012

When Preen first veered from the tried-and-true formula of creating Power dresses with intricate construction designed to enhance your bestest assets, I thought to myself, "Oh, great. They're trying to be real designers now." All of a sudden there was all this print, all this colour blocking, all these mid-length skirts, and no more bandaged bodices. I feel like it's a great challenge for labels whose fame is built on one thing -- Herve Leger and the bandage dress, or Burberry and the trench. Some succeed in branching out (Burberry), others not so much (the other brand). Sort of like Jennifer Grey post-Dirty Dancing. You keep doing the same thing, and it's boring. You branch out too far (or change your nose too much), and nobody recognizes you anymore.

But looking at this new, improved Preen, I sense the same put-together construction techniques, the same sagacious usage of fabric panels stitched together, so it's like the Power dress, but not like it at all.

It's evident in the edgy florals presented above, the inky waterfalls after the jump, and the calculated and artfully clashing monochromes further below.

In other news, perhaps you knew that Preen's footwear is designed by Aldo for its Rise designer collaboration collection. Meaning these Jeffrey Campbell Lita-esque boots will be for sale at totally reasonable prices come Fall this year. So whether their signature techniques translate throughout the eras is still yet to be seen, but the fact that the footwear will be available at high-street prices is sure to create a buzz. Funny enough, I think the affordable-runway-footwear trend was first championed by Christian Siriano -- incidentally, another designer who's finding it difficult to shed first impressions.

Images: and


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Nail Files: China Glaze Magnetix

I’ve been waiting for magnetic nail polish to arrive in HK but for some reason, it seemed to be taking forever to see it appear in Cher 2 so when I took an impromptu stop to the new store in CWB over the weekend, I was ecstatic to see that the China Glaze Magnetix collection had come in. After having a meh experience with their crackle, I figured I should be safe and only buy one bottle instead of going all gung ho with five like I did last time and I’m happy to say that I will definitely be returning to get more. I started with the golden metallic You Move Me and behold the results above.

So how does this work? Basically, my understanding is that these nail polishes are infused with iron powders that move when exposed to a magnet. So the China Glaze Magnetix uses magnetic force to create three different designs — starburst, repeating arrows or diagonal lines. It’s a bit hard to get the hang of and you basically apply one thick coat and then immediately place the magnet over the nail. To get a stronger effect, hold it steady for about ten seconds (this is the hard part since too close and the iron bits actually float to the magnet and you ruin your mani, too far and the magnetic field doesn’t work.) But give it a couple tries and you should be able to do it. The thing to keep in mind is to apply the coat of nail polish, add the magnetic effect before moving on to the next nail. Add a top coat and you’re set!

Available at Cher 2 for ($140 for a set including the magnet and nail polish, $90 for individual bottles of polish)


Sultry Shanghai

I have known indeed restaurants for whom a club vibe really works -- Armani/Aqua, for example, exudes that hipper-than-thou vibe that tells you that whether or not the food is good, you're in a place to see and be seen. But the press release for Shanghai Lo, the new Shanghainese restaurant opened by the folks behind Loyal Dining, claimed it has dark, clubby interiors to match those of The Tonno club downstairs, in whose building the new restaurant sits. Seemed rare for a Chinese restaurant.

When we went to check it out for ourselves, Jeremy noted that this was a restaurant in which an old man like him could seriously injure himself (he has a tendency to trip in dark places, you know, like those treacherous Abercrombie and Fitch stores). No one did fall down, and in fact, we had a rather nice night in a lovely and sophisticated venue. The food was passably good, and the ambience enjoyably private -- but it was the service that was absolutely stellar. They changed our plates after almost every course (so often that I suggested the environment would suffer less if we changed plates every two courses, but the waitress replied, "Then we wouldn't have anything to do!"), kept our tea cups filled constantly and made thoughtful suggestions for the most part. Whether this was because they were genuinely nice or because word had gotten out that I'm a journalist, I will never know, but I'm inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt.

The highlights for me when it came to the dishes were the crispy vegetarian goose, the sliced pork with bread wraps, the eel and the fluffy egg white ball dessert thingies, which normally come stuffed with red bean but here are filled with custard instead. Yums (we ate them so fast I didn't get a pic)! Basically, if you choose the things that are pictured on the menu, you won't really go wrong. Portions aren't the biggest, but the dishes are reasonably priced so you can order a lot, never a bad thing.

Shanghai Lo is at 1/F, 5 Tonnochy Road, Wan Chai. Tel: +852 3125 3232.