Fashion insiders should take note of The Hub, a new bi-annual B2B event that connects brands with buyers in the Asia-Pacific region. Held in Hong Kong at the end of August, it's modelled on trade fairs such as Project in New York and Vegas or Bread and Butter in Berlin. Buyers that will come in vary from the Imaginex group in Hong Kong to Club 21 in Singapore to Central Group from Thailand, with brand names from Johanna Ho to Sunspel by JW Anderson, so there's a good array of big-name distributors coming from a variety of styles and price points. The fair was founded by denim big boys Peter Caplowe (who brought Evisu into the international market) and Richard Hobbs, a sportswear and denim label owner, so their connections have secured a pretty good line-up. They gave us a preview of what to expect this year, whether you're a buyer or simply "one of Hong Kong's legendary shopping ninjas"!
• What is unique about HUB, and why did you decide to found it?
The Hub will only admit credible international brands and visitors are by invitation only and will only be recognized multi brand retailers or retail operators who can partner with international brands. The shows in the region are non-selective in terms of who they admit as exhibitors and visitors making them completely unacceptable as forums for true international standard brands to present themselves and unattractive for premium retailers. We decided to found it as we are both from the branded fashion business and were deeply frustrated by poor quality of regional branded fashion trade shows.
• Given you guys already run your own brands, how did you even find time to put this together?
We have decided to put all our other activities on hold as starting an event like this is hugely time consuming and we would not be doing justice to the people from our networks who have supported us to get this project of the ground.
• How many brands will attend? Who are some of the hottest labels -- besides the bigger-name brands already well-known -- that you're excited are attending?
Our original target was was 80-100 but as we are already at 70 we are now targeting 100-120. We have a good mixture of bigger brands like Y# and Barbour nad smaller more edgy and niche brands. I am particularly excited to have Johanna Ho, HK’s own world class designer, John Smedley my personal favourite knitwear brand and Madeleine Thompson another Hong Konger whose collection is sold in stores like Liberty’s and Barney’s We also have Sunspel which is designed by JW Anderson – probably the hottest designer in the world right now.
• What's the demographic breakdown, in terms of designers coming from which countries?
About 50% Europe, N. America, 20% Japan and 10% other Asia
• And who are the big buyers coming in?
• We already have commitments from buyers from Lane Crawford, Harvey Nichols from HK, Club 21 from Singapore, Cental Group from Thailand, Parkson from Malaysia, Beams from Japan basically anyone who is anybody in the region! On the distributor side We have the biggest Australian distributor, True Alliance we have confirmations from Swire, Bluebell, YGM from HK Mark fairwhale, China Outfitters and Metrs Bonwe from China and we have only just started on the visitor recruitment element of our campaign as you have to get the brands first.
• Why should fashion lovers care?
We are encouraging all the brands we bring in to hold events during the time the Hub is on. Although we as event organisers are focusing on bringing in brands and visitors all the brands want to connect with YOU the fashion lovers – basically HK will become a fashion mad for a week each season in the same way it becomes art mad during Art week.
• For Hongkongers, does that mean we will be seeing greater diversity of brands being brought into town?
Absolutely – The smaller Hong Kong tetailers do an amazing job of running successful businesses despite the crippling rents in this town but they simply do not have the resources to go on expensive buying trips as well. From now on the best brands in the world will be coming to their doorsteps keen to sell to them. This in turn will put a rocket up any of the larger retailers who have become complacent because they know they are the only ones with access to international brands. I truly believe the impact on the fashion retail scene in HK will be transformational. It will also make HK the regional centre for branded fashion making it more and more attractive for brands to be here.
• Why "invitation only"? What do you think this exclusivity will breed ?
This is a business show if you are not in a position to do business with international brands there is no reason for you to be there and you will simply be wasting peoples time. That said we will be actively scouring town to bring in smaller cool retailers so we are only being exclusive to the extend that we cannot let in people not associated with the business and as above there will be tons of associated events where the brands we bring in will be desperate to attract HK’s legendary shopping ninjas!
Friday, June 28, 2013
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Been hopelessly obsessed with these Narciso Rodriguez Fall 2013 shoes since I spotted them on stylist Ludivine Poiblanc via Jak & Jil. Still not on the market as far as I can tell, but we can ogle the different cuts and colours here at least. While we patiently wait for them to hit the market. And then patiently wait for them to go on sale. By which time possibly they will be sold out. Oh, #firstworldproblems.
It’s always gratifying to see Hong Kong talent recognized and while the subject of this Geek Peek, Lo Sing Chin of PLOTZ didn’t win the 2013 International Woolmark Prize, his work is pretty awesome. Read on to learn a bit about the workings of his mind.
HKFG: What’s on your lust list?
LSC: I just want to live without lust.
HKFG: What fashion item can’t you live without?
HKFG: What’s your favourite thing about Hong Kong?
LSC: East–meets-west culture
HKFG: Tell us your secret ambition.
LSC: I hope I will still be able to do fashion design, cutting fabric and making beautiful clothes when I am 70.
HKFG: Your ultimate indulgence food or go-to food when you’re stressing out?
HKFG: The celebrity you would most like to be/trade places with is...
LSC: Stephen Chow. I like him very much.
HKFG: What you would wish for if a genie came out of a lamp to grant you three wishes?
LSC: Health, health and health.
HKFG: Name your secret-weapon beauty product.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Not everything that's sexy is showy. Sometimes it's shapeless and flowy? Haha, that's how my friend Caryn likes to describe my style (Sample sample-sale dialogue: "Let's go grab everything tight and black for me, and shapeless and flowy for you.") Or sometimes, Vionnet-style, it's covered-up and classy. Like, you can't see my neck, and my hair has been cut to resemble a very nice and shiny bowl, but I know you still want me. Such is the power of Vionnet.
Images: Fashion Gone Rogue
Now that I’m helping out at Spark Studios every weekend teaching kids to cook, I’ve been lusting after all sorts of random kitchen equipment such as a cake turntable. Yes it may seem frivolous but when you are dirty icing 14 mini two tiered cakes and then placing fondant over it way past midnight, having a turntable suddenly seems like a worthwhile investment. So I start searching for other things that I might ‘need’ and suddenly come across a wealth of fun kitchen items like this sculptural nylon whisk. I’m trying to justify that it saves space and I can use it for multiple purposes but when you have a 2400 square feet kitchen and 10+ whisks already even I am having a hard time convincing myself.
Available from Gretel Home
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
With all this rain that's coming down on us, I figured some people might be looking at getting into some new shows... so here's what I'm watching, please don't judge me. Also waiting a couple of weeks so I can watch a few True Blood S6 epis all at once, and just downloaded the latest season of Community as well. What are you guys watching?
What I'm watching: Arrow S1
What it's about: Rich kid gets stranded on a desert island, morphs into vigilante superhero, takes down dead dad's enemies.
Watch it if: You would like to see a stocky pretty-good-looking guy topless and/or shooting arrows and saving the city in dubiously effective ways. Lots of secret-society stuff. Low-rent Batman-ish.
Don't watch it if: You cringe at over-dramatic dialogue or prefer your topless men to look more like swimmers than rugby players.
What I'm watching: Elementary S1
What it's about: Sherlock Holmes in modern-day New York. Still British, but now more like Monk (complete with female keeper-slash-sidekick. Joan Watson, get it? Watson's a girl, but she's also Chinese and Lucy Liu, go figure.) A post-rehab, better-looking Monk.
Watch it if: You like watching shows about murder cases that would technically be unsolvable were it not for a neurotic police consultant who notices things nobody could possibly notice.
Don't watch it if: You liked Monk. Jonny Lee Miller is not Monk. Also if you find Lucy Liu annoying. Even Sherlock Holmes finds Lucy Liu annoying.
What I'm watching: 2 Broke Girls S2
What it's about: Two broke girls, a little guy, an old guy, a perverted guy and a weird woman. With plenty of low-brow laughs and racial slurs, but also surprisingly good chemistry and charm.
Watch it if: You like dumb jokes about big boobs, blondes and short people. And sex and being poor.
Don't watch it if: You like to pretend to have a brain or be in any way intellectual. Or watch it, and then pretend you don't.
What I'm watching: America's Next Top Model S19
What it's about: Pretty girls who think that winning this competition will change their lives -- it will, it means no one will ever take you seriously as a model ever.
Watch it if: You're on four Cathay Pacific long-haul flights this month. Or you have low body-image self-esteem and want to prove that skinny and pretty girls are stupid anyway, you're better off the way you are.
Don't watch it if: You're a normal person with a life, who hasn't been on four Cathay long-hauls.
Forget those generic name necklaces, now you can have a pendant of your signature. Of course, this is dependent on the fact that you have a nice signature to begin with. My brother always says the V in my signature looks like cockroach antennas. Given that I now squiggle my signature, I don’t think my custom signature pendant would look nice. I’ve always love seeing other people’s grown up signatures. I still recall back in the day trying to come up with a cool signature that I thought would best represent me and hating that my initials were VN and not being conductive to a great signature. What do you think? Would you want a custom signature pendant?
Available at http://www.brevityjewelry.com/signature/signature.html
Monday, June 24, 2013
hkLifestyleGeek visits the newly opened C'est La B
Looking for stylish healthy/sinful treats to tempt your taste buds? Lifestyle maven Bonnae Gokson has opened her third C'est La B outlet this time across the harbour in Harbour City.
It has a similar look to the ones in Tai Hang and Pacific Place, with the black ceiling covered in painted butterflies, and comfortable seating in the whimsical dining area.
The menu also continues in the same vein as the other two, with the Rainbow Club sandwich available, as well as bento boxes, such as Saigon Box, featuring ginger lemongrass chicken with cold Vietnamese rice noodles, and Canton Box, that has black bean and chilli prawns on a bed of egg noodles.
Gokson continues to innovate in the dessert department, and the latest signature cake is called Lollipop, all white on the outside, but inside is an eye-popping rainbow of colours and is topped with coloured popcorn. The Lollipop cake is available exclusively in the Harbour City outlet for one month.
C'est La B
Shop G111, G/F, Gateway Arcade
Tsim Sha Tsui
Friday, June 21, 2013
The world is having a bit of a crop-top moment now. High-waisted skirts and pants have mercy on us all!
So pretty! And it's neoprene too so it's light! Yes, I'm at the age now where the weight of the bag is a factor in my lusting. To think I used to scoff at my mom for doing that and now my Alexander Wang's Rocco and other various bags are left gathering dust. Ah mom, why are you always right?
Exclusive available at Net A Porter
Thursday, June 20, 2013
What? Two of my favourite things combined into one? I don't know which I would want more -- a giant sushi shaped like a Rupert Sanderson shoe (may I suggest uni to embellish that gold heel?), or a shoe that's covered in sushi embroidery. Actually, probably the former, because that one I can eat, and this shoe will just make me hungry all day. In fact, it's doing that right now, dammit. NO BLOGGING ABOUT FOOD-THEMED SHOES BEFORE LUNCH. Added that to my Bro Code Handbook. Or should it be my Salmon Roe Code Handbook?
Anyway, onto the shoe. These are two different designs of the Waicato pump from Rupert Sanderson's pre-fall collection, the regular Waicato Sushi and the Waicato gold-flaked rose-red kid-trim sushi-embroidery version. Both of them seem to feature maguro-avocado makis, for those who are interested. What a great way to combine food and foot festishes. I mean, the words are only one letter different, might as well, right?
Get them at the Rupert Sanderson Hong Kong stores (don't think they're available yet though, so call ahead!) and check out more from the pre-fall preview online here.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
It may seem odd that I'm reviewing an anti-bacterial hand sanitizer but then given the fact that HK is now prone to go into alert mode with flus and the wave of coverage a little while back about the 10th anniversary of SARs, maybe not so much. Anyway, what is there to review about hand sanitizers? Well a pet peeve is that while I understand the need for them and how it's handy to have it on hand just to be on the safe side, I don't like the sensation that these sanitizers give me. That icky cold feeling from the alcohol that leaves your hands feeling so dry. So when Cowshed sent me their latest hand sanitizer, I was a bit skeptical. However, to my surprise, it actually felt more like a moisturizer than sanitizer and smells realy yummy too as it's scented with essential oils of lavendar and grapefruit and comes sans alcohol. It's worth checking out if you, like me, don't like that dry icky feeling.
Cowshed is available exclusively from Lane Crawford, D-mop beauty and Let’spa.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
I swore that I'd scheduled more posts for last week, but I guess that was just in my head... in my mind you all were being properly entertained while I was gallivanting around Milan and Venice, which is what I was doing last week. Man, writing a blog just really interferes with going on holiday, you know?
Anyway, on to a topic that's pretty near and dear to the heart of anyone who's suffering from jet lag: coffee! I'm totally obsessed with limited-edition Nespressos. I buy them and then when I get home nobody is allowed to drink them but me. Which, admittedly, has led to me tricking friends into drinking decaf when they're looking for a mid-day boost... but I'm a big believer in the placebo effect, not so much in sharing.
Maybe some of my sleepy friends have been complaining to Nespresso... because the brand has just brought back three of its popular flavours -- chocolate, vanilla and caramel -- and placed them in the permanent collection. When they do the same with cherry, I'll know that good things do come to those who wait, and that Santa did get all my letters.
And in line with that whole crowd-sourcing trend, they're letting customers choose the next limited-edition flavour that will be available (but... I thought they normally did three anyway!) from the options of chai, mint and choco-raspberry. You have until June 26th to vote at this link here: http://www.nespresso.com/vote... but what if, like greedy ol' me, you want them ALL?
Christina talked about her thoughts on Pierre Herme a couple weeks ago, now check out what hkLifestyleGeek thinks about this famed pastry chef.
The macaron craze has officially hit Hong Kong now that the "Picasso of Pastries" Pierre Herme has set up shop in ifc mall. It's impressive when a French patissier makes his mark in Japan before establishing himself in Paris -- 15 years ago. And now goodies are finally flown into Hong Kong. Sadly, not all of them are available in the Hong Kong, particularly the ice cream sandwiches which I hear are to die for...
In any event the Pierre Herme Paris boutique carries the signature chocolate and macarons as well as teas and scented candles. And the verdict on the prized macarons? Some are good, some are not too special. We love the Mogador -- milk chocolate with passion fruit that is dusted with cocoa. It's not too sweet and has a nice thick jammy texture in the middle. For the sweet tooth, it has to be Infiniment Caramel, a salted-butter caramel macaron that is dreamy.
More sophisticated tastes will probably enjoy the complexity of the Huile d'Olive & Vanille, a macaron made with olive oil, vanilla and slices of green olive in the middle. It's a subtle delicate flavour.
Of the four I tried, I didn't like Infiniment Rose, made of rose and rose petal. While the shell is a gorgeous shade of brilliant pink, the filling is like butter cream and not very pleasing for the taste buds.
Other flavours that will be available in Hong Kong include: Arabesque (apricot and pistachio), Creme Brulee (vanilla and caramel pieces), Imagine (matcha green tea and black sesame crisp), and Celeste (passion fruit, rhubarb and strawberries).
"I approach my work based on the combinations of flavours, in the same way a perfumer would," explains Herme. "I pick up associations of fragrances to turn into flavours, but it is never a literal translation, it's an interpretation. The perfumer uses his nose, the patissier his nose and mouth."
For chocolates, some creations include: Makassar (salted-butter caramel mousse ganache, covered in dark chocolate), Ouvre-toi (sesame praline and sesame nougat in milk chocolate), and Lou (ginger and milk chocolate ganache with gandied ginger).
"I wanted to go further in exploring the playful side of chocolate," adds Herme. "I enjoy a special relationship with chocolate, both physical and passionate. It is a substance that is not easy to domesticate. It is a particularly complex, sensitive ingredient."
Check all these delicious goodies at Shop 1019C in ifc mall. But beware the prices aren't cheap -- a box of seven macarons will set you back HK$210 and for a dozen it's HK$330.
Monday, June 17, 2013
Friday, June 14, 2013
So I normally feature bags I love in this column but this bag is just too hideous not to show you. I like the Speedy. I've professed my love for the bag in the past here and here. It's a great bag for travelling as it folds flat but this updated version for pre-fall 2013 is just fugly. Maybe it's just that I'm not a fan of sequins but urgh.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Each fall, the H&M x designer collaboration is heavily anticipated and news have come out that the next collaboration for H&M after MMM is Isabel Marant. What are the chances there will be sneakers? Are we excited? You betcha!
The internet is a wonderful thing. It allows me to discover cool Czech designers like Blueberries (it's a fruit! It's healthy! It must sell things that I covet! Actually, the brand is so named because it was born during the summer which is when blueberries ripen). How amazing are these pieces? AND there's a geek element too given that it's created by 3D printing.
Available at Blueberries
Monday, June 10, 2013
In Hong Kong we aren't trained to think about organic anything, until you grow up and start hearing about bird flu and mad cow and rats in China passed off as lambs and poisoned vegetables and just about everything else you see in newspapers these days (which is precisely why I avoid watching and reading the news, it takes the enjoyment out of life and blissful ignorance.) So fine, we start buying the veg from city'super, even though it's three times more expensive. And we buy the frozen chicken wings that haven't been injected with crazy growth hormones, even though they're 30 times more expensive.
But then we put on our lovely skincare products and makeup daily without thinking about what's seeping into our skin. And I was shocked when I got a press release about The Organic Pharmacy's makeup brand, Organic Glam. Because it informed me that we eat FIVE POUNDS of lipstick in our lifetime. And lipstick is basically just wax and colour, right? I mean, I rinse my instant noodles and boil new water just to make soup because I don't want to eat the plasticky stuff that coats the ramen. But as a lipstick obsessive, I eat toxic lip formula almost EVERY DAY.
So, I plan to be switching to organic. Despite the fact that there's never any proof or legal definition of organic for beauty labels, I figure a company that at least claims to be organic has gotta be doing better things for me than one that isn't even bothering to pretend, right? OG doesn't claim to be all healing, either, it's just a lot better than others, and the product range stretches from foundation to nail polish.
And since The Organic Pharmacy is already one of my favorite skincare brands, why not start checking out the makeup too? Products for review are coming my way soon, so expect a review shortly!
Last fall French Window in IFC underwent a major renovation, removing the redundant partitions and creating a large open space that aims to be more casual and now has a newly revamped menu to complement it.
The Happy Hour seems to be popular, with people making a beeline for the bar where they can have drinks and snacks at reasonable prices. Meanwhile chef Matthieu Bonnier is enthusiastic and happy to introduce menu items. He presents some classic dishes, from French onion soup to duck confit, coq au vin and creme brulee, as well as variations like the French Window Burger with raclette cheese, pan-fried salmon fillet and grilled beef tenderloin. Diners are invited to share -- particularly the fries.
The menu looks fun -- featuring cartoon drawings of food, including a French fry wearing a beret relaxing with a cigarette in a bathtub of bubbling hot oil. However we still find the drawing of a snake swallowing a pig and in its stomach are another pig, goose and cow quite disturbing.
In any event we were there to try the food and we sampled a lot. For starters, the grand seafood platter was already overwhelming. At HK$1,188 it's definitely for at least four to share, filled with crab, lobster, sea whelk, prawns, clams and of course oysters. The bivalves are usually from France, but will be sourced from other countries for seasonality. A smaller seafood platter costs HK$698.
Appetisers are quite gourmet -- the pan-fried crab cakes (HK$108) are placed on a celery and apple salad with black truffle mayonnaise, while the salmon tartar (HK$158) is refreshing and light for summer, the beef tartar (HK$178) a heartier portion.
For those who love foie gras, having it pan-fried and placed on toasted brioche with gratinated turnips (HK$198) is an indulgence and a half -- practically a meal in itself.
The main course of Burgundy-style red wine braised beef cheeks with potato mousseline (HK$298) is a highlight. The beef practically melts in the mouth and is full of flavour worth savouring. The coq au vin with tagliatelles (HK$198) is also tasty, but the meat was more on the tough side.
The crunchy suckling pig (HK$308) was definitely crackling in the mouth, though we didn't think much of the matchstick fries and much preferred the side of thick-cut fries with various sauce (HK$208) that were more substantial -- so much so we were tempted to finish them all...
By now we were pretty much stuffed and had to find room for dessert, which we did for the flaky apple and almond thin tart (HK$78). Another relatively light dessert is the French lemon pie topped with meringue (HK$68), and the fruit sherbert or ice cream (HK$48) for a refreshing finish. For sweet tooths, the chocolate mousse with whipped cream (HK$68) will hit the spot.
3101, Podium Level 3, IFC Mall
Friday, June 7, 2013
The website description reads: Necessity is the mother of invention. I love picturing the classy Ms Cynthia Rowley being so hard up for booze that she unscrews the top of her bangle so suck whiskey from her wrist. Get your own sophistication flask bangle here.
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Can't say that I was ever a fan of Brian Atwood footwear, the shoes tend to be quite uncomfortable, but HEEEELLOOOO NURSE! So they're a little tacky and Vegas but that's what sometimes we like in a shoe. Hey, PVC and platforms used to be strippers-only.
I know she's the golden girl of footwear who can almost do no wrong, but I sometimes find Charlotte Olympia shoes more kitsch than cool. And this filmstrip thing going on with this pre-fall number is just so literal that I don't know how to feel about it. On the one hand, I'm like... I get it, it's a film strip, because you were inspired by movies, how original. But on the other hand, I'm like... what a great way to tie things in to the whole PVC trend without doing another illusion-film-with-a-solid-cap-toe pump, and such a flattering and leg-lengthening colour, and what a statement collectible piece, and I like how she tied it in even with the custom gold buckle, because that's REAL luxury. So yeah, I'm a little here, and a little there, but that's because I'm a Libra. Decide for yourself, and if you want them, pre-order here.
Available at ThinkGeek