Down­town

A LOOK INTO HONG KONG, WHICH CEL­E­BRATED ITS BIG AN­NIVER­SARY ON THE FIRST OF JUNE, AS A SHOP­PING DES­TI­NA­TION AND MUCH, MUCH MORE

DA MAN - - Fashion -

A look into Hong Kong as a shop­ping des­ti­na­tion and much, much more.

there are not many cities in the world that bring to mind good shop­ping and cheap, de­li­cious bites—two of the musthaves when one is trav­el­ing. Hong Kong, which cel­e­brates the 20th an­niver­sary of the es­tab­lish­ment of the HK SAR last June, does fare well in those two cat­e­gories, fol­lowed closely by Bangkok and Tokyo. But what makes it even bet­ter is the city’s com­pact size, as ev­ery­thing is closely in­ter­linked. Whether it is a rooftop din­ing venue or an un­der­ground club or a hole-in-the-wall store, the down­town area is easy to ex­plore and truly con­tains troves of worldly trea­sures.

1/ From clas­sic to Ba siC to Hip-Hop

De­spite the steep ex­change rate for Hong Kong dol­lars right now, it is hard to imag­ine not shop­ping there. The range of brands avail­able is pretty mind-blow­ing, from in­ter­na­tional pow­er­houses to lo­cal play­ers to even the most ob­scure names. And the va­ri­ety of stores is equally in­ter­est­ing, with some ded­i­cated to one style only while oth­ers has some­thing for ev­ery­one.

While it has plenty of mono­brand bou­tiques, this busy me­trop­o­lis is home to a num­ber of unique shops that se­duce with their own unique re­tail al­lure. To il­lus­trate it bet­ter, if Lon­don has the artsy Dover Street Mar­ket, Hong Kong has Joyce ( joyce.com). Founded by fash­ion en­thu­si­ast Joyce Ma in 1971, this multi-brand store was among the pi­o­neers of avant-garde sar­to­rial se­duc­tion from the likes of Rick Owens, Thom Browne and Sa­cai. The posh main boutique sits on the ground floor of New World Tower in Cen­tral Hong Kong. There you’ll find not only sim­ple suits, but also de­con­structed styles and more, up to the least wear­able pieces—those that the pa­parazzi will pounce on dur­ing red car­pet events.

You may not know Joyce Ma, but chances are you’ve heard about ac­tor and celebrity Edi­son Chen, the founder of Clot ( clot.com) that owns Juice stores. Lo­cated at Fash­ion Walk, Cause­way Bay,

Juice Hong Kong played host to the launch of A$AP Rocky x GUE$$ Orig­i­nals collection last May. With less suits but more in the way of street style and star power, the shop rides on menswear and sneaker hy­pes like there’s no to­mor­row—some even dub it the Mecca of rare kicks.

If, by any chance, you’re look­ing for tai­lored blaz­ers and suits,

the Ar­moury ( thear­moury.com) on Ped­der Street, Cen­tral Hong Kong, gives Lon­don’s Sav­ile Row a run for its money. There you’ll dis­cover tai­lor­ing ar­ti­sans from all around the world. They mean se­ri­ous busi­ness when it comes to lit­tle de­tails like cuff­links, pocket squares and what­not.

And the leather shoes on of­fer are rav­ish­ingly sleek, made by in­de­pen­dent houses in Italy, Ja­pan and else­where. Ev­ery now and then, the store holds events where ex­perts in gar­ments or shoe­mak­ing come by and share their in­sights. It is def­i­nitely the one-stop des­ti­na­tion for men’s for­mal­wear.

What about clothes that strad­dle ca­sual and for­mal looks?

Del­store ( del­store.co) on Schooner Street is that hole-in-the-wall boutique that qui­etly spreads the ad­dic­tion for min­i­mal­ism. There is an ob­vi­ous nod to clear-cut, sim­plis­tic Ja­panese sil­hou­ettes and el­e­vated work-wear: Think Kolor, Nigel Cabourn and En­gi­neered Gar­ments. A cor­re­spond­ing presentation, with the ab­sence of right-in-your-face dé­cor, al­lows even the most fas­tid­i­ous shop­pers some peace of mind.

2/ ti Ck-to Ck at the rigHt do Ck

Should you go gaga for watches more than la mode, you’re in the right city, too. Hong Kong has long been hailed as the home of cheaper-priced time­pieces. Now, while the strong cur­rency does shake up the game a bit, many bou­tiques there carry rare tick­ers that are hardly found else­where— most likely be­cause Hong Kong has been an im­por­tant trade hub for Asia. But if you don’t mind pre-owned watches, that’s a dif­fer­ent topic al­to­gether.

For such a watch hunt, go down to Tsim Sha Tsui, any­where from the MTR Sta­tion (B1) to the Hol­i­day Inn Golden Mile Ho­tel. It re­ally is a watch lover’s par­adise, as shops like Union Clas­sic Watch ( union­watch.com.hk) and Lafayette Watch ( lafayet­te­watch.com) of­ten taut both nov­el­ties as well as pre­owned ba­sics and top-end mod­els. And the brand se­lec­tion runs the gamut from Rolex to Cartier to Patek Philippe. In the end, though, it all boils down to your bar­gain­ing skill in or­der to get the right time­piece at the right price.

While you’re in the area, why not take a look at Bruce Lee’s pri­mary school that’s just sev­eral min­utes away? If you in­tend to cap­ture the spirit of the city’s 20th

an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion and to get your head down a lit­tle deeper into its cul­ture, Kowloon Shangri-La ( shangri-la.com) has a Cul­tural Heritage pack­age run­ning un­til the end of the year that will take guests on a guided walk­ing tour. The route goes around Bruce Lee’s re­fur­bished pri­mary school (with a beau­ti­ful dec­o­ra­tion ded­i­cated to him) and many long-stand­ing land­marks in Tsim Sha Tsui. This will af­ford you a bet­ter chance to spot some of the hid­den stores that you might have over­looked.

3/ Eat and party like a king

Not many peo­ple know that Hong Kong boasts more than 30 Miche­lin-starred restau­rants, and a few might bear the names of eater­ies you’ve been to in other cities. If you’re still lin­ger­ing at Kowloon Shangri-La, by the way, the Shang Palace restau­rant earned two stars in this year’s Miche­lin

Guide ( guide.miche­lin.com.hk). A nearby and more af­ford­able eatery is Tim Ho Wan ( timhowan.

com) at Sham Shui Po, Kowloon. While the brand was pre­vi­ously known as the cheap­est Michelinstarred restau­rant in the world, this par­tic­u­lar branch was among the first to win one star. Even bet­ter is the fact that it’s open 24 hours— for­get queu­ing dur­ing the day and come dur­ing odd hours.

Speak­ing of which, Hong Kong has a long list of party places. While the bustling and as­cend­ing lane of Lan Kwai Fong ( lankwai­fong.com) re­mains the hottest des­ti­na­tion to party in town, don’t fall for a lack­lus­ter club. Mag­num ( mag­num­club.com.

hk) is where the rich kids blow their money, with cham­pagne and hand­held fire­works in tow. Note how ex­ces­sively glam the dé­cor is, with Swarovski crys­tals pasted on the DJ booth, disco ball and quite a few other spots.

For a slightly more adult crowd with enough space to breathe,

Cé La Vi ( hk.celavi.com) on the rooftop of Cal­i­for­nia Tower,

“NOT MANY PEO­PLE KNOW HONG KONG BOASTS OVER 30 MICHELINSTARRED RESTAU­RANTS”

Cen­tral Hong Kong, is a good pick. It puts to­gether a cloud lounge, sky­bar and fine-din­ing restau­rant, so that you can take a break from the pump­ing mu­sic for a cig­a­rette ev­ery now and then. The team be­hind the brand, by the way, is the same as the one that gave us Ku De Ta in Bali.

If you’re more of a Rick Owens fan rather than a Gucci guy, then the XXX Gallery ( xxxgallery.hk) is right up your al­ley. Sit­u­ated a lit­tle far off west from Cen­tral, the venue has a very in­dus­trial feel to it, with bare ce­ment pil­lars and lit­tle in the way of fancy light­ing set­ups. But it’s never just about get­ting drunk when bop­ping your head and danc­ing to the mu­sic when you’re at the XXX Gallery. As a mat­ter of fact, the venue’s usual crowd takes mu­sic ap­pre­ci­a­tion to a very re­li­gious level, and de­pend­ing on what event it holds, you might just be swimming in the wrong ocean should you show up un­pre­pared. But on the other hand, if you’re into a spe­cific genre, such as French elec­tron­ica, this might be the place for you and your kind.

4/ THE MORN­ING AF­TER

With all that Hong Kong has to of­fer, wak­ing up with a han­gover is ac­tu­ally an op­tion that you can smartly skirt around. Or­der a re­lax­ing morn­ing mas­sage or join a Tai Chi class in an open gar­den or chug the lo­cal hair-ofthe-dog; there’s al­ways some­thing for ev­ery­thing. And if you’re han­ker­ing for spend­ing your hard-earned for­tune at a casino, well, Ma­cau is just a ferry ride away. And that is the best part of Hong Kong, too; it’s smack dab in the mid­dle of equally, if not more, ex­cit­ing des­ti­na­tions. Ja­pan, Thai­land, Sin­ga­pore and In­done­sia are just a few hours away.

“THAT IS THE BEST PART OF HONG KONG; IT’S SMACK DAB IN THE MID­DLE OF EQUALLY EX­CIT­ING DES­TI­NA­TIONS”

Joyce store Op­po­site page the tem­ple street night mar­ket

the queue at tim Ho Wan Op­po­site page clock­wise the shang palace at Kowloon shangri-La; tsim sha tsui Clock tower; lo­cal dim sums

the ar­moury store Op­po­site page

clock­wise the pole dance at Mag­num; the city view at night; a Ladies night party at Cé La Vi

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