Thursday, May 29, 2014

Geek Peek: Allison Bard of Helen Kaminski

You may not know the brand Helen Kaminski yet, but your favourite celebrity pals do. Brangelina love the hat brand. Blake Lively's been known to sport one or two (not at the same time, of course). Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Ashley Olsen... yep, they all rock Helen Kaminski on the reg. And the brand has now landed in Hong Kong, which is perfect since this is one city in which we truly understand the virtue of sun protection. And Helen Kaminski hats actually have SPF built into the material.

We spoke to the brand's general manager, Allison Bard, about a few hatty and batty things in on to check out which Helen Kaminski hat is best for fugitives (or, I guess, celebrities escaping the paparazzi), her secret-weapon beauty product and the first item she blew big bucks on!

HKFG: When should you absolutely wear a hat, and when is it extremely ill-advised?
AB: For both style and practicality, a hat is a must-wear to a Polo match. The right hat is the perfect complement to a smart casual dressing style for both women and men, and provides much needed sun protection, especially when performing the ritual of divot stomping.

I would warn against wearing a wide brim or tall crown hat to the cinema. You don’t want to risk having your back to someone who feels you have thoughtlessly encroached on their view for your style needs. But if you must (as some of us do!), then a flat cap, baker boy cap, or beanie will have you looking fab without disrupting your fellow cinema goers views.

HKFG: You're going on the lam and can only take one hat with you. Which hat is it?
AB: This is a hard question, especially since hats are a great way to change your look and keep people guessing. My initial instinct was to take one our rollable and packable hats, for practical reasons. However, thinking with a more criminal mind, I would opt for the ‘Savoka’ hat from our SS14 collection. The great benefits of this hat for “going on the lam” are that the wide ‘faux-floppy’ brim will elegantly obscure my face, the fine raffia braid can be easily reshaped by applying steam, the butted braid (edge-to-edge sewn with zigzag stitch) construction is light weight and easy to wear, and the UPF 50+ sun protection (have to take care of your skin even on the run!). Even more compelling is the opportunity to outsmart the authorities by diverting their attention with the beautiful hand embroidery. Who would never suspect that such an attention grabbing hat would be the disguise of a wanted woman?!

HKFG: What’s your favourite thing about Hong Kong?
AB: I love the mix of the traditional and modern, the fast pace of the city, and the dramatic throng of skyscrapers climbing up The Peak and dropping into Hong Kong Harbour. I do miss flying into the old airport. The view into living rooms and between buildings was a truly unique and exhilarating welcome.

HKFG: What was your first big investment purchase?
AB: My first fashion investment was Le Carré Hermès which I got in Paris when I was a still a student studying fashion. It was a huge investment at the time and very exciting to select from the store on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. I still love wearing it more than 25 years later, so I guess it was a good investment.

HKFG: What’s your favourite iPhone app?
AB: SKYPE because I can connect with my family and friends around the world no matter where I travel

HKFG: Name your secret-weapon beauty product.
AB: It sounds boring but I have to say, sun screen. Since moving to Sydney 15 years ago, it is an absolute must to protect my skin. I use Neutrogena Ultra Sheet Dry-Touch SPF 50+ which was recommended by dermatologist (we all have one in Australia). And, of course, wearing a hat to shield my face from the sun

HKFG: Tell us your secret ambition.
AB: I am lucky that I work in an industry I enjoy and for a brand that I believe in. But, my secret ambition would be to try my hand at writing as well as to have the time to dedicate to charitable work.

HKFG: Your ultimate indulgence food or go-to food when you’re stressing out?
AB: Dark chocolate… anything to do with dark chocolate.

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