The Magical City of Hong Kong, Part 1 (of 3. Or so.)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Out of all the cities I regularly travel to, I have to say that Hong Kong is probably my very favorite. (Okay, so I often say that about wherever I've just been, but in this case, it's most likely true.) I got an e-mail late last week from one of my editors asking if it would be possible to drop everything and head to Hong Kong for a day or two do to a story. Of course I said yes; not only was it a great article, but I never turn down the chance to go to Hong Kong. I just had to be back in Singapore to make my flight to Tokyo first thing Tuesday morning.

And that is how I found myself this weekend in Hong Kong for about 30 hours. It was a magical weekend, but more on that in a bit. If you are the kind of person who lives, breathes, adores fashion, then Hong Kong is the place for you. The city is teeming with tiny boutiques, innovative stores and amazing finds—everything from cheap, cool Chinese ceramics to loads of high-end brands.

There are two places that are absolutely unmissable—the first is Joyce, a high-end boutique on Queen's Central Road. It's a Hong Kong landmark, frequented by the city's most stylish (and the women in Hong Kong are totally stylish), with the best selection of clothing I've ever seen. There are fuzzy Chloe coats and sweet Marni shoes and amazing Peter Som cropped swing jackets with rows of buttons. This is the essence of what, as a fashion person, you live and breathe for—just seeing the pieces in person is a thrill. The selection is so impressive, you don't even mind that the sales girls seem to be gossiping about you and your Paul & Joe for Target kimono dress in Cantonese.

The second place that must be visited is Lane Crawford. It is not just a department store; it is a fashion experience. It is also very dangerous—you probably never even knew you needed patent leather Chloe wedges or a gunmetal gray Vanessa Bruno tote, but once you see them there, you can't get them out of your mind.

I went to two Lane Crawford branches, the Pacific Place location and their International Financial Center flagship. Both were fantastic—at the PP store, they had a series of prominent displays called A View Into Fashion, highlighting 12 innovative artists like Gardem and Rohka. At the IFC location, they had a different installment of A View Into Fashion--there, 10 designers had a space in the store to design and decorate. Alber Elbaz from Lanvin had a fantastic dining room full of black and red lacquers and velvet pieces surrounded by enormous crystal chandeliers, while Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci replicated his office, right down to the stacks of magazines and an iPod of his favorite songs. (The exhibit claims to be ending September 30, though I saw it on Sunday and it was still up.) In between the displays were racks of the latest pieces from Dries van Noten, Anne-Valerie Hash and Stella McCartney. It goes on and on; you could literally lose yourself in this store for a few hours and not mind at all. Here are a few snaps, taken before I was told photos were not allowed.

Okay, we'll take a quick pause here to have a light refreshment.