Not Mainlanders (but kinda), Hong Kong

My trip to Hong Kong was short but enlightening and inspiring. They certainly have their own sense of style in Hong Kong, but I don’t think it’s as drastically different as most people make it out to be… It seems like the Hong Kong-ese desperately want to distinguish themselves from the Mainlanders, but I saw a lot of sartorial similarities. First off, Hong Kong is a very ruxurious place, although I’m sure a higher percentage of these conspicuous luxury goods are real in HK (especially because they are so much cheaper there).

I got this picture with THREE Louis Vuitton bags in the frame (the third one is in the background with a red arrow pointing to it in case you can’t find it). Maybe one is real… But I got too many pictures with two or three conspicuous luxury goods in it, which is a testament to just how many people have such products on this cramped little island.

This kid’s outfit was definitely not by Burberry, but his mom doused him in it like it was and like it was supposed to fool people into thinking that they are of a higher social class. However, dressing one’s child like this I think only makes it clearer that they are not upper class. SO ruxurious.

It’s like children have become handbags or accessories in one of the world’s most competitive social landscapes, and they have to be covered in Burberry plaid or Gucci/LV monograms too. Sad for the kids, and embarrassing for the adults I think.

But don’t get me wrong! Hong Kong was definitely a stylish place, despite this intense ruxury I saw everywhere. I particularly liked the style of the older people, like this lady in her beautifully multi-colored dress:

It’s simple yet intricate, playful yet appropriate. I also love how the colors of the dress contrast with her hair:

There was also some clashing go on on Hong Kong Island which looked not unlike the clashing happening on the Mainland… I like the solid blue shoes that anchor this look.

But young Hong Kong-ese were certainly not to be outdone by the older generations when it came to style. As a whole, younger peoples’ style seemed to be both European and Asian, understandable given Hong Kong’s specific history and all the brands that have store on this tiny island. Overall, the style of younger people in HK was avant-garde yet balanced, like these young girls in Kowloon.

I love this shirt, and I’m pretty sure it’s from Gareth Pugh… He’s one of my favorite designers, and I think that his work is sometimes very ‘Asian’ in an international but not literal way. He’s known mostly for his fashion videos that he does with Show Studio, which you can check out here and here (I believe this is his most recent video for Pitti Immagine 2011, but there are quite a few videos).

Anyway, back to the shirt… I like the draping, particularly from behind. It creates a great silhouette that is kind of racy and edgy but not too extreme or exaggerated. I like the whole black and white thing, and regardless if it is Gareth Pugh’s or another brand’s shirt, she pulled it off well.

And as far as local designers are concerned, I only found one designer based in HK that I think will go really far: Joseph Li. He has stunningly beautiful pieces and color palettes that are geometric and asymmetrical, and are for a fun yet sophisticated customer. You can find his collection at JOYCE in HK (below is his SS collection, go to his website to check out FW).