So­cial Whirl

With more than 240 cock­tail par­ties, galas and char­ity fundrais­ers cov­ered by Hong Kong Tatler over the past year, our so­ci­ety ed­i­tors high­light 10 event trends that have marked 2017

Hong Kong Tatler Society - - Throwback - Words KIM­BERLY HU & CHRIS­TIAN BAR­LOW Illustration JACK LEE

1 Trilin­gual auc­tions boost fundrais­ing po­ten­tial

When it comes to char­ity auc­tions, it’s im­por­tant that ev­ery­one hear—and un­der­stand—the auc­tion­eer. Since the crowds at Hong Kong events are be­com­ing more di­verse, it has be­come a trend to hear English, Can­tonese and Man­darin spo­ken from the podium. Take the am­fAR gala in March, for ex­am­ple; with more than a third of the guests com­ing from the main­land, it’s un­likely the auc­tion would have reached its US$3.5 mil­lion to­tal if Man­darin had not been used in the mix.

2 Goodie bags are out, thought­ful sou­venirs are in

Gone are the days when one would leave a gala din­ner with a bag­ful of shop­ping vouch­ers (which most guests never used). Or­gan­is­ers are turn­ing to more thought­ful ways to leave guests with a to­ken of thanks, such as the sweet treats given out at the Youth Di­a­betes As­so­ci­a­tion gala and the Can­cer Fund gala, and the beau­ti­ful Moiselle brooch re­ceived by each guest at the Academy Ball.

3 East-meets-west per­for­mances

Con­sid­er­ing the di­verse crowds at Hong Kong events, 2017 was all about pair­ing tal­ent from across the seas. Land­mark’s Bou­tique Boule­vard had per­for­mances by Korean pop star Rain and US singer/song­writer Bebe Rexha, am­fAR’s guests were treated to per­for­mances by South Korean rap­per CL and English DJ Mark Ron­son. The First Ini­tia­tive Foun­da­tion gala fea­tured per­for­mances by New Zealand singer Hay­ley Westenra and Chi­nese clas­si­cal gui­tarist Yang Xue­fei.

4 More cre­ativ­ity with dress code

In­stead of the plain old “black tie” dress code on in­vi­ta­tions, 2017 was a year of theme dress­ing. From the monochro­matic look sought for the Hong Kong Bal­let Ball to the “pink glam­our” dress code listed on in­vi­ta­tions for the Pink Ball, colour themes were all the rage. And there were in­ter­est­ing, less spe­cific themes as well, such as “transat­lantica” for the nau­ti­cal Youth Di­a­betes Ac­tion gala and “sur­re­al­ism” for the Hong Kong Can­cer Fund Ball.

5 Art­works and rare wine were al­ways among the auc­tion lots

Of­ten do­nated by pri­vate col­lec­tors, wine and art were al­ways on of­fer at char­ity gala auc­tions. The Am­bas­sadors Ball saw amaz­ing art­works go un­der the ham­mer, in­clud­ing a piece by South Korea’s Do Ho Suh, whose work hangs in the Mu­seum of Mod­ern Art in New York and the Tate Mod­ern in Lon­don. At the First Ini­tia­tive Foun­da­tion gala, a bot­tle of 1996 Château La­tour was among the rare wines to go un­der the ham­mer.

6 Sheer gowns and asym­met­ri­cal dresses led the way on the red car­pet

If you could see un­der­gar­ments through a dress a few years ago, it would have been con­sid­ered a big fash­ion faux pas, but any­thing goes these days. Two fig­ures on our Best Dressed list, Yolanda Choy-Tang and Jaime Ku, were spot­ted in asym­met­ri­cal Ver­sace dresses at the Tatler Ball. Sheer gowns with strate­gi­cally worn un­der­gar­ments were also a trend on the red car­pet, such as Eleanor Lam’s Chris­tian Dior at the am­fAR gala and Adri­enne Hui’s Ver­sace num­ber at the Tatler Ball.

7 Wine-pair­ing din­ners were all the rage

A house white or red is too ba­sic for the so­phis­ti­cated Hong Kong crowd. A ban­quet in 2017 was only con­sid­ered com­plete when each course was paired with a spe­cialty wine. At the First Ini­tia­tive Foun­da­tion gala din­ner, chair­woman Michelle Ong en­listed the help of mas­ter som­me­lier Yo­hann Jous­selin, di­rec­tor of wine for Shangri-La Ho­tels and Re­sorts, to se­lect five wines to com­ple­ment the dif­fer­ent cour­ses of the meal.

8 Fa­mil­iar faces as masters of cer­e­mony

A celebrity MC used to be a ne­ces­sity for a suc­cess­ful gala event. How­ever, the 2017 trend was to have a fa­mil­iar so­ci­ety face on stage run­ning the show. For the Save the Chil­dren gala at the Grand Hy­att, Es­ther Ma, founder of PR com­pany Pres­tique, acted as MC; mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions guru Peter Che­ung, CEO of Peter Che­ung Asia, ran the pro­gramme on stage for the Academy Ball; and Kevin Ching, CEO of Sotheby’s Asia, had crowds in fits of laugh­ter at the First Ini­tia­tive Foun­da­tion gala.

9 Less is more when it comes to ta­ble decor

The trend in ta­ble decor was away from huge flo­ral ar­range­ments to­wards more cre­ative op­tions. The First Ini­tia­tive Foun­da­tion had beau­ti­ful pa­per cut-outs cre­ated by lo­cal artist Stick­y­line as cen­tre­pieces, and Save the Chil­dren had gor­geous ones made from cot­ton, branches and can­dles. At the Tatler Ball, our ta­bles fea­tured sim­ple flow­ers with re­us­able LED lights in­stead of the tra­di­tional tow­er­ing flo­ral ar­range­ments.

10 Photo op­por­tu­ni­ties at events were a must

With the rise of so­cial me­dia, buzz from an event now trav­els quicker than a fin­ger can dou­ble-tap an In­sta­gram photo. Which is why pro­vid­ing a cre­ative photo op is key to get­ting guests to pro­mote events through their per­sonal ac­counts. From glam­orous movie-set photo booths at the Academy for Per­form­ing Arts Ball to a faux Hong Kong Tatler cover-shoot photo booth at our an­nual ball, there were plenty of chances at events this year to get that KOL shot for so­cial me­dia.

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