Wednesday, September 10, 2014

An evening stroll round the morning trail

thank goodness for that lamp post - one of the last surviving spiders after a record breaking hot summer

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Chloe slides at the Princes Building, Central, Hong Kong

These are so wrong for me but I love them - I am not going near Princes Building for the next week or so. They'll probably be sold out by then. Sigh.

Monday, September 8, 2014

New York wants you to mix it up

3.1 Phillip Lim via Vogue

New York Fashion Week is almost over and as a consumer who wants to save some money I am glad to report that not much will be changing in our spring wardrobes. Designers are still interested in 90s minimalism, and there were plenty of oversized shapes and green prints (possibly inspired by last spring's retro palm prints which seemed a commercial hit on high streets everywhere). I love a bit of drama in a dress so I am focusing here on the mixed print dresses seen at Phillip Lim, Ohne Titel, Thakoon, and Prabal Gurung. I am not sure how those dresses do in the shops because they are possibly too memorable - the second time you wear the dress people will recognize it, the third time they will be wondering if you have anything else in your closet. That said, I am grateful for those designers in New York who do send exciting clothes down the runway. Commercialism can be a horrible bore.

Ohne Titel via Vogue

Thakoon via Vogue

Prabal Gurung via Vogue

David Beckham in The Daily Telegraph

I used to go to football matches a fair bit. My dad is an obsessive fan and ex-player, and my husband loves Fulham Football Club rather more than any heterosexual American man should. Anyway, the PSV Eindhoven stadium and Craven Cottage are familiar venues to me, and I have even traveled for football, to stadiums like Nou Camp in Barcelona. But the best moments in my football fan career have been Fulham home games against Manchester United in the early 2000s when David Beckham would take corner kicks just a short distance from my husband's season ticket seats. I never needed to be drunk to scream Nice ass, David!!!!! at the top of my lungs. It was simply the best ass ever, even when covered by big baggy shorts. 

On Saturday The Daily Telegraph reported that David is ready to help England. Well,  H A L L E L U J A H  ! ! !  
I am not sure we will ever see another 1966 out of the English, but if David helps, they are for sure going to be the hottest footballers seen anywhere. If he will make them work out as hard as he does, they will all have rock hard six-pack bodies. If he will work on their facial hair, none of them will ever have to worry about hair plugs again (who needs hair on the scalp when they could have a perfect stubble on the jaw - Wayne, please take notes). If he will dress them their football jerseys will be tighter than those of gli azzurri (the blues, a.k.a. the Italians), and their suits will be Savile Row tailoring in Italian Super 150s wool. What is not to love. Please please pretty please, people in the Football Association, heed the call.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Where is everyone in Hong Kong?

Duddell's - on Saturday night at 8.45 PM the terrace was entirely absolutely dead empty. There was not a single person in the sizable lounge/bar area either. Not anyone. Except for three bored waiters. And on the way out, it appeared only two tables in the also sizable third floor restaurant were occupied.

Yet my handsome Italian friend Fabio in his Burberry sandals (who lives in London but is on a three-month secondment teaching fashion marketing in Shanghai)  was told he couldn't enter unless he removed his designer shoes for some sad black canvas bedroom slippers from the coat room.

After Fabio managed to get his sandals back from the Duddell's coat room we went on to dinner at Mott 32, where soon after we arrived the place was as empty as Catholic church on a Tuesday afternoon.

Beautiful, but very empty.

It can't have been our shoes... Christoph is red Adidas and Stephanie in super cool Tara Jarmon sandals. Seriously, where is everyone in Hong Kong? Maybe they too, like me, are sick of all the restaurant hype and have gone to share some food and a bottle of beer at their local - which we probably should have done as well. No one there would have objected to Fabio's bordeaux suede sandals, that's for sure.

My two favorite ways of wearing navy

In a very classic way: a navy peacoat over a button down and winter whites.

Or to tone down an otherwise loud or crazy or dubious piece of clothing. Since the pink shows at her cuffs and her collar, it looks like this girl is wearing an entirely pink dress with long pink sleeves. Thank goodness for the simple navy jumper and hat. And those Vuitton shoes - well they are my biggest regret ever (I mean not buying them at the time).

I have always loved this rather loud bias cut slip dress on its own. But the only way I can carry it off is by wearing it with my COS navy jumper. It even tones down the Aquazurra bondage shoes to a perfectly acceptable day look. Now if only I could walk in those for more than 5 minutes.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Luo Hu Commercial City, Shenzhen, China

a massive heap of Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Hermès copy scarves in front of a rusty fire door

I spent part of the day in Shenzhen, China, today. My friend's mother was in town from England, and it's always great fun to bring a newbie into China's massive border city of Shenzhen. Although it's massive, tourists like me tend to spend the day at the Luo Hu Commercial City mall just across the border from Hong Kong's New Territories.

Everything in this mall is entirely fake, or maybe that is too scary a word. There are endless stalls of sports socks with Nike and Adidas logos woven onto them, which are exactly the same as the official socks your find in Hong Kong. In this case, Nike and Adidas' factories have probably just made some extra and sold them out of the back door. Or maybe Nike and Adidas sanction the selling of their socks at Luo Hu. After all, their mark up is so significant that selling socks at Luo Hu is probably no different from selling socks on sale or in discount packs of three.

There are also endless Balenciaga bags out on display in shop after shop. They look great but they smell like manure or sometimes like wet goat skin. I know a lot about handbags, but the easiest clue to discover whether it is real or fake is probably the smell (although I must admit I was rather dismayed at the smell of my most recent authentic Balenciaga bag, which is disturbingly distinctive, albeit nothing like manure or wet goat).

And then there are a handful of very secret shops, hidden away in attics and basements, where the bags still smell like goats, but have the appearance of some of the finest luxury goods in the world. The only reason these bags are hidden is because their corporate owners, usually LVMH, Chanel, and Hermès, actively fight the counterfeiters and have enough clout with the Chinese government to stop the copy bags from being sold out in the open. Very few of these bags would pass a connoisseur's test, but maybe that is not the point of fashion today.

After all, we buy Zara tops that convey the spirit of Céline, but never the essence of Céline, which is not just about the silhouette but at least as much about the absolute quality of the fabrics and the sewing techniques. For most of us fashion consumers, the fine details do not matter at all and we happily live in this season's Céline look as interpreted by Zara, coping with the fact it's made of acrylic, rather than luxuriating in the fact that it's made of 4-ply cashmere.

No wonder fake Birkins are big business here - these fake bags are all about achieving the look of some of our favorite style icons like Victoria Beckham and Kim Kardashian, and not so much about the enjoyment of the craftsmanship and the hand stitching. Whereas for one generation, let's say mine, a snap shot of a great life could possibly show a delicious alfresco dinner full of laughter with dear friends, for a Chinese 22-year old in Shenzhen a great life may more likely be about achieving a super cute selfie full of apparent luxury and riches.

There are five floors in this monstrosity of a mall, where men spit out the contents of their horridly congested lungs on the floor around you at the most inopportune moments, and where pretty young mums hold their babies over trash cans when they expect their little bubs are about to shed some human waste. This place is as disgusting as it is fascinating, and if you ever come to Hong Kong, a visit to this sprawling city of more than 10 million people is worth the trouble. Just don't go near any trash cans.