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The Best of Shopping in Hong Kong

The first time I had been farthest east on the globe, was about 2 weeks ago when I was lucky enough to spend a long weekend in Hong Kong, Asia’s business hub and the world’s most extreme urban consumerist jungle.

Just 2 years ago when I was working in London, every business wanted to seduce two ostentatious consumer groups : the Russians and the Arabs.  It only seemed normal as they were slowly invading London and Switzerland from their real estate properties to the sidewalk cafes and luxury boutiques. The more bling brands could offer them, the higher were the chances of hitting the jackpot.
Fast forward 2 years later to Fall 2012 in Hong Kong and the Chinese consumer is dwarfing oil-rich Arabs and Russian industrialists, not only because of the sheer volume of millionnaires and affluent residents in China but more importantly because of their incredible hard work and ambition.

They say that the Hong Kong residents’ religion is money, and that success and hard work are expected, in a society that places great value on paying back parents’ for bringing them up and educating them.

Celine Ads on Street-vendor stands

 

Shopping on Queensway, Hong Kong Central


hina has opened up to the world and has morphed from being the world’s leading supplier to being the world’s first consumer. Major luxury groups such as LVMH, PPR and Richemont are focusing their resources on the fastest growing luxury consumer group in the world. It is estimated that 40 to 50 per cent of these groups’ sales come from China , Hong Kong and their neigbouring Asian states.

Hong Kong’s population is estimated at around 8 million, a city as large as London, and boasting 2 Harvey Nichols stores, 3 Gucci stores , 3 Louis Vuittons all within a radius of 5km of each other in Hong Kong Island’s Central district.



If you want to enjoy your shopping experience in HK, there are a few key rules you need to follow:

1- Save your hard-earned money for a few months and accept that you will be giving in to luxury goods . Luxury shopping in Hong Kong is taken at a whole different level,  where you are greeted by a pseudo-personal shopper , carefully donning a soft glove in the left hand to ensure that no scratches or fingerprints are ruining these precious shoes, and kneeling down to fasten your shoe laces with the utmost care. My husband very much liked the idea and wondered how come I never do up his shoe laces, of course before he could leave the shop, this very friendly shop assistant gave him her card and urged him to call her next time he visited Hong Kong.
2- Wear your most comfortable running shoes as you navigate the city’s cobwebb of interconnected malls , you can literally avoid street traffic and pedestrian crossings where cars don’t stop in all cases.

3- Street markets are overrated and are mainly a junk-yard for many cheap and fake items. The best one is Stanley Market by the beach and on the other side of the island where you can come across some nice and affordable art.





Budhhist trinkets and Jade jewelry at Stanley Market , Hong Kong


4- Beware of discount outlet malls and shops in Kowloon that promise you real Bottega Veneta and Gucci bags at 30% off, to the untrained eye these goods seem original but they really are fakes that are extremely highly priced.


 

Joyce Multi Brand Boutique, Queensway and Pacific Place Hong Kong


5- Hong Kong department stores and boutiques carry the very best of the international collections: Lane Crawford does an especially superb job at hand-picking the best of the international designer brands with a special interest and focus on American designers such as Proenza Schouler, Alexis Bittar, Reed Krakoff and Alexander Wang. The Lane Crawford buyers are clearly catering for the discerning shopper with a cutting-edge taste in fashion, you could say that it is the closest thing to Barney’s New York. Another multi-brand boutique, which is the equivalent of Joseph in London is Joyce: this little piece of fashion heaven carries the best of Lanvin, Alexander McQueen, Givenchy and Vionnet, the merchandising is extremely carefully designed, making every item on the shop floor stand out. It is however only for the deep-pocketed and a firm favourite with local Hong Kong celebrities.

 
 
Queues at Chanel and Prada Stores in Kowloon , Hong Kong
 

6- If you want to witness crazy shopping frenzy, spend an afternoon in Kowloon and go to the Peninsula hotel where all the jewelry and watch shops go home happy every night after a good day of sales. The Hong Kong Heritage Center nearby is where you can get a sense of the sheer volume of Prada and Chanel handbags that are snapped by Chinese consumers everyday: looking at the queues outside the shops you would think that GBP 3000 Chanel purses were being rationed, similar to bread coupons during wartime.
 



LAB concept in Hong Kong’s United Center


6- There are very few local and original designers to buy from, therefore the only affordable options are the likes of Zara, H&M and Mango. I have however discovered in United Center, in Hong Kong Central not far from Pacific Place Mall, a very cool bridge-contemporary store called Lab Concept which stocks Vanessa Bruno Athe, Markus Lupfer, Alice and Olivia and Helmut lang.

7- The nicest malls to visit are IFC (International Finance Center) The Landmark and Pacific Place. However if you really want to get the walking around the city experience head to Queensway in Central and enjoy hopping from Louis Vuitton to Giorgio Armani and Coach to Christian Louboutin on Wyndham Street (which used to be an old antiques shop).
 

Some of the key Fall 2012 trends that have caught our eye in Hong Kong:

1-      Mini Fluoro bags and satchels at Marc by Marc Jacobs, Kate Spade, Proenza Schouler, Givenchy and Armani, all set to remain big for Spring 2013
 

Marc by Marc Jacobs printed pants, purple fur gilet and fluorescent pink clutch bag


2-      Expandable Satchels at Kate Spade, mimicking the very popular Celine triangular tote but at a fraction of the price
 

 

3-      Colour-block handbags at Coach which I have been told can also be found at Harrods in London

4-      Wax-finished jeans and leather pants from J-Brand and Club Monaco
 
 
 
 
5-      Bold statement jewelry by Erickson Beamon, Alexis Bittar and Eddie Borgo
 
6-      Hand painted TOM’s canvas shoes and studded Sergio Rossi Shoes
 


Handpainted TOM’s canvas shoes at Lane Crawford






Sergio Rossi studded gladiator sandals and shoe-boots


Stay tuned for our next post about where to dine and what we wore to shop the streets of Hong
Kong.

All content and photos by Style Under Fire
 
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