Pay no attention to the double chin and focus entirely on my ears

Toot Toot, a footwear boutique on Gough Street is one of my prized finds recently. If you saw Homeless you have to go further along, right down towards the end of the street.

The pint size boutique sells self-designed bags, shoes and boots plus vintage jewellery sourced from America. I bought a pair of red patent pointy heels with an interwoven toe cap. Brilliantly made. Although no half size available for this authentically designed heel, Toot Toot made to order one for me.

Off to the other side of the shop are shelves with beautiful clipped on earrings. They have alarmed me enormously to a glaring old hole in the fashion stratosphere du jour:

Note that 70s is coming back in full swing: off-palettes, wide legged trousers, psycho colour blocks etc etc. One that is missing from the agenda are CLIPPED ON EARRINGS. The key is maximalism, stud full of blings, so stringy that it’ll distract from your abundant cleavage.

Now go on a rampage for clipped on earrings, now available from your mother’s jewellery box.

Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone

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What do you drink?

“Bottle Water is the most revealing substance for showing us how the global capitalist market works today. It tells us that we’re no longer buying things for their use value. In a sense, we are buying choice. We are buying freedom. We are buying all sorts of insubstantial things,” says Richard Wilke, professor of anthropology at Indiana University.

Indeed. What bottle water are you? Mariah Carey famously requests Evian as her bath water. Evian is also available at London Fashion Week. Jennifer Aniston is the face of the Gatorade pure water. Over here in Hong Kong, Watson should be the choice for healthy and bright children, as seen on their city wide national campaign… What you drink as H2O isn’t a frivolous choice made between bottled and tap. Or that’s what the bottle water multinationals try to tell you.

Today during dinner mother and I discussed the ridiculousness of the price of designer handbags. Validity of this discussion is amplify by the fact that we have both acquired authentic designer bags from trusted source (ie the brands themselves) at rock-bottom, or rather “value prices”.

My mother owns a red quilted chanel in calf leather (sans chains), bought at the grand price of $1,900 (about £150) at a Chanel staff sample sales. The bag has seen 90% knocked of its tag. The bag is perfect, just as it should be on the Chanel boutique shelves. Except: the person who served her didn’t offer a glass of champagne or water, didn’t handle her bag in white servant gloves. The bag is no frills: $1,900 worth of leather, zip, clasp, threads and craftmanship. In my view, a price worth paying.

I owe a rather modern artifice. It possesses the kind of “new silhouette” goggledegoop that I’m a sucker for. After all, how many messnger bags and totes in variations of colours, materials and sizes can the wardrobe accommodate? It is the only piece of Phoebe Philo circa AW10 that I want, and you know the bag I’m talking about.

The shop which sold it was near Gough Street in Central. And rather unglamorously it situates towards the end of a wet market; where butchers sell beef in the glory of their open carcasses, fishmongers gut fish in the full view of padestrians. Nonetheless, the shop is unmistakably interesting.

In walk I, through shelves of pencil cases, purses, totes, messenger bags made out of recycled milk cartons (we don’t use plastic milk bottles here, rather a material like the UHT milk containers), newspaper and such. They are strengthened to weave like a Bottega Veneta bag, and they are in the range between $300 and $600. Owner of the shop Max Wong, also a designer, conceived the idea and decided to make these in his factories to sell too.

Max Wong’s factory also makes manufacture samples for Balenciaga, Alexander Wang and Céline. I don’t know how exactly does the fashion mights choose their factories, but I presume like any businessman would, they test out who’s the best fish on the market?

And from Max’s shop I spotted a squarish shopping bag in its lonesome, sitting on the shelf unloved. Mainly it is its princely $3,500 price tag comepared to the Pug bag (literally a bag shaped in the outlook of a pug) going for $380 that deters customers. But it is trying to grab peoples attention with its novel shape and beautiful design. A love affair is not to happen until now.

I inhaled its aromatic leather in its full glory. I caressed its sheepskin handlebar, its suede exterior, calf skin side finishing, and full sheepskin interior. The bag’s phermone intoxicated me. Houston, we have found heaven.

Back to a Céline boutique, the very same darling in canvas begins at $19,000. Would you say a shopping bag is worth 19,000 packets of pocket tissue? Or about 6000 apples? Or 2 cleaners for a month? Or 4 and a little bit domestic helpers for a month? You’ve got to be shitting me. No matter how much I love Philo’s designs or how successfully Céline has reinvented itself, god no.

Max Wong went on to tell me that it is a sample made for Céline. I didn’t follow up on whether what he said is true. He neednt tell me that. By the look of the bag: immaculate seams, excellent sewing techniques, perfect shape that holds up… It doesn’t need to be a Céline. Its the kind of craftsmanship I’m willing to pay $3,500 for. No more, no less.

Well, my newly acquired love can certainly accommodate a 2-ltr Evian. But at a restaurant I will still order tap water. And at 7-11 I will still buy home brand water on offer. Ask any chemists how different is H2O and H2O, and how easy it is to reincarnate the composition and taste of Evian locally without rocking up tragic “water miles” half way across the globe? Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone

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Patricia Field

 

I had the pleasure of meeting with the styling queen of HBO a couple of weeks ago. Maybe I wasn’t articulate enough, or maybe she has already said it all with the gazillion interviews she has done with other media outlets. Nothing was worthy of reporting other than this:

1. What do you think of Santa’s outfit?

It’s a good colour.

2. Do you ever see Santa being an inspiration for the catwalk?

Jeremy Scott. His designs have been comedic.

Patricia Field, if you just youtube her, talks as if she has a swollen tongue and drags her words as if the keeeyyboooarrd isss stiicckkkyy anddd theee syylllabbllleess aarree long.

Which leads me to leave you on this note:

I am desperately in need of a large nose to suck in more juicy ideas into my already shrinking head because of the lack of stimulation (in the city).

Rant Rant

Firstly, I have abandoned this for a while. But it was Adam Philips, a lad who graphic designs for McDonald’s who asked: “You created Kiwibiwi.com? My mate from the UK showed it to me and no wonder why I thought you looked familiar the first time I met you. It was you and the woman who wore a cherry on her head I saw!”

“Oh my god I can’t believe people actually read my blog, that’s why I have half abandoned it.”

“Well, I’m guessing they do. Don’t abandon it. You can say whatever the fuck you want to say there.”

I remember why I got into fashion in the first place. It was its creativity and its constant evolution. Nothing is more fun being in London during fashion week: there are these junkies who’d put a negligee and a pair of military boots together and you’d think it is an outfit pulled out of a hat. Somehow, weirdly, it does look aesthetically pleasing.

Fashion in London is a two-way affair. While the catwalks massively influence what will be seen on the high streets, the fashion show goers in their own way affect what will be seen on the catwalk for the next season too. So it’s a good cycle: fashion lovers become fashion perpetrators. And those who feast on what’s available on the street without a question, well, they are perceived as followers. They are scavengers of the London style scene.

It’s completely different here. People get excited about something because they are made by Hermes (uck), Louis Vuitton (double uck) and Ed Hardy (uck to the power n).

A printed silk scarf from Hermes (note: for those who don’t know, the art of printing was invented in China THOUSANDS of years ago. Silk existed as a writing instrument WAY before paper surfaced), a Louis Vuitton monogram patent leather handbag (let me see, the last time I saw a patent leather handbag was 2 seconds ago, when I looked in my wardrobe and there were five)… So? These “news”, aren’t exactly “news” by any standard.

There’s no individual style here per se. Money, rather than the people at the receiving end of fashion, seems to be the perpetrator of “trends”. The media goes at length to dig their heads in the sand (even fill their heads with it) in order to convince themselves a $200 plastic watch can’t be cool because it’s made of petroleum derivative, not of endangered animal or rare metal that money approves of.

Take the example of Juicy Couture. What’s the difference between a pair of cotton stretchy pants and a pair of cotton stretchy pants? They are the same until the first pair was sold at Times Square at an elevated price of one wozillian dollars, while the second was at an outlet somewhere in Wanchai. So does the Juicy Couture store opening at Time Square deserves a mention? You tell me. I am only a lowly inexperienced journalist who has no idea what style means in Hong Kong. (Refer to paragraph six)

Now I might appear I despise money. I don’t despise it, nor do I worship it that my eyes are blinded by the aura of God. There are ways to earn money without ripping apart your integrity. There are ways to spend money without perpetuating a vicious circle (rich conglomerates get free press, newspaper runs out of space to cover a collection by a fresh grad, talented designer becomes visual merchandiser).

I’ll leave you on the note of what Elli Hakami (director of programme development at Discovery Channel USA, also a former BBC employee) has to say about attitudes towards creativity in the UK and in the USA (capitalism model which Hong Kong thrives on)

“In the UK we talk about the most innovative programme we have come up with in the past year. In the US, we talk about what your end of year results were.”