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