theW+ Architectural Tours with Hogan: The Gardens at Asia Society

Opened in February 2012, the best part of the Asia Society Hong Kong Center experience (besides the exhibitions, events, Restaurant/Cafe, and Bookshop… which are all pretty great)… is the personally intimate mode of exploration. While it’s true one would think that everything in Hong Kong’s Island has been discovered, especially for residents, walking through the center’s elegant zig-zagging garden compound on the lusciously green hills of Admiralty can definitely offer the visitor a sublime moment of surprise and introspection.

The line between urbanity and nature. The bridge offers a moment of both experiences.

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The building’s sharp and transparent pedestrian bridge is the defining piece of New York architects’ Tod Williams and Billie Tsien’s (TWBTA) masterplan, and is pretty much a moment where one walks a fairly thin line between nature’s setback and the city’s modernist glass facades, seemingly pushing in to encroach what is left of the mountain little by little.

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In fact, for the Asia Society project, the building is very un-like new Chinese projects, since it is defined mostly by the need to preserve the landscape of the green site, and to adaptively re-use found structures built by the British military between the 1860s and the 1940s. This means, the building is devoid of any iconic visibility or external presence. What the Asia Society does offer, is unique programming, a unique site within the green, special views, and an architectural form which serves the internal experience.

Reflecting back, the building becomes invisible to the view.

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From the bridge and rooftop’s vantage point and within the trees, one can observe and look back to the buildings of Hong Kong and the Victoria Habour beyond it.

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The pedestrian bridge was carefully planned in order to have the lightest possible footprint on the unique site. A small ravine bisects the site and translate to an beautiful reflecting pool sitting directly above on the roof top, which then becomes an incessant force as the water falls between the cracks below it.

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The sound of the water, the way the nature cushions the pathways, the integration of the old army barracks, and the sporadic pieces of large scale sculptures, really give hope to a well meaning and introspective modern cultural experience.

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Designers, Tod and Billie, are known for their relationship to creation or discovery of new innovative materials. See moments of natural discoloration which occurs over time with the ‘Mist Green Marble’ used on the facade, from Shanxi China.

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Organic forms of the outdoor amphitheatre relate back to the topography of the site.

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Other moments we loved… this stair.

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This green fence.

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This ‘Sleeping Buddha’.

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The bisecting glass through nature.

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On the way back to the MTR from the Asia Society, don’t forget and stop by this 100 year old Banyan Tree. Which the developer of the complex has promised to preserve (as part of building/leasing rights to the land.) It’s actually a destination.

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This quiet approach to new culture, conceptualized in 2001, will most likely be the last of its kind we will see in this city for awhile, since the trend is now moving towards more spectacle oriented tourism, as is expected for new museums like M+ and the CPS.

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Our Architectural Tour at the Asia Society Hong Kong Center was made possible through partnership with Hogan Autumn / Winter 2014’s Collection for Casual Business. For three decades, Hogan has provided comfort and style for gentlemen everywhere. These days a plugged-in and fast paced society has changed the way we travel, choosing instead destinations that allow us to discover, explore, and document our creative inspiration. For smart shoes that allow guys like us to negotiate, network, and explore the world from day to evening, Hogan is there.

WEAR Hogan / VISIT Asia Society Hong Kong Center . The Hong Kong Jockey Club Former Explosives Magazine, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty, Hong Kong . T: +852-21039511 . Closed only on Mondays . Free Admission To The Gardens . Special Exhibitions 30HKD / DESIGN Tod Williams & Billie Tsien TWBTASTYLE PHOTOGRAPHY Ken Wu - Lightseed Studio

JJ.

DESIGN NOTES: The Fondation Louis Vuitton Unveiled

There’s just so much happening with Louis Vuitton this year. Most recently, in Shanghai, Louis Vuitton staged an apparently impressive showing, titled “Series 1” on Fuxing Zhong Lu, exhibiting (amongst other things) the brand’s iconic heritage pieces re-introduced via the work of new house designer, Nicolas Ghesquiere’s first Vuitton collection. The Ghesquiere show plays homage to the newly iconic, through a selection of mixed-media work (audio-visual / video / collages, etc) by the likes of artists, Annie Leibovits, Jurgen Teller, Bruce Webber, and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Meanwhile, last week Louis Vuitton shops all over the world (including Hong Kong) played host to various parties welcoming a new collection of limited edition bags, six to be precise, titled “The Icon and The Iconoclasts: Celebrating Monogram”, a project focused on design collaborations between the house and style icons; shoe designer Christian Louboutin, photographer Cindy Sherman, fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, industrial designer Marc Newson, fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, and California-based architect Frank Gehry.

Karl Lagerfeld (left) and Frank Gehry (right) for Louis Vuitton.

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Speaking of Frank Gehry, next week on October 27th, Louis Vuitton is planning to inaugurate their largest cultural-focused collaboration to date, a new Gehry-designed art destination dubbed The Fondation Louis Vuitton, to be located in Paris on the site of the Jardin d’acclimatation in the Bouis de Boulogne. The 11,700sqm. building, was designed by Gehry to house “artistic creation in all its forms”, and will primarily be filled with content made up mostly of Bernard Arnault’s (LVMH Group’s CEO) own personal- and extensive- art collection, plus two temporary exhibitions a year, in addition to various musical performances to be presented within the 350-seat Auditorium.

From next week’s to December 2014, expect special exhibitions based on the theme of ‘Voyage of Creation’, essentially work devoted to the discovery of Gehry’s Fondation architecture itself. These exhibits will house a retrospective show of Frank Gehry’s European works (to be organized with the Centre Pompidou), some integrative site-specific works from the permanent collection – including pieces from Ellsworth Kelly’s "Spectrum Series" and Olafur Eliasson "Inside The Horizon" (as seen above) plus concerts by Chinese pianist from Shenyang, Lang Lang and eight concerts planned by Kraftwerk.

PS. The restaurant on the ground floor is called, Le Frank.  iLovesit.

VISIT Fondation Louis Vuitton . 8 avenue du Mahatma Gandhi – Bois de Boulogne – 75116 Paris . Metro Line 1 Station Les Sablons, exit Fondation Louis Vuitton . Closed Only on Tuesdays 

JJ.

theW+ Architectural Tours with Hogan: Design Institute

Hong Kong’s latest architectural renaissance jump-started within the educational sector in 2010 with the iconic, Hong Kong Design Institute aka. the HKDI located in Tseung Kwan O.This highly original building was first conceptualized less than 10 years ago after it won first place in an ideas competition for the non-profit public school devoted to all things Design. Since it was built, construction of other design schools with similarly iconic avant-garde architectures in the city followed, all authored by award winning and globally recognized architects such as Daniel Libeskind for the Run Run Shaw Media Centre (2011) and Zaha Hadid for her “Innovation” Tower (2014) at CUHK’s Kowloon campus.

Pedestrians can access the vertical campus on many levels.

The difference between the Hadid and Libeskind campuses and the HKDI, is that HKDI’s winning architects don’t have the starchitect status nor long building history of the other two. Named CAAU (Codelfy & Associes Architectes Urbanistes), the Lille and Paris, France based studios, have basically hit jackpot with this winning project. At 42,000m2 large, HKDI is the first ever completed building within their company portfolio, and it’s a beautiful and thoughtful one at that… everything works spatially and volume-wise, with no gimmicky forms or odd cheap finishes.

And after walking around the school’s site two weeks ago, I was completely convinced that CAAU could not have done a better job with the HKDI, which is a feat in itself considering Hong Kong’s complicated construction process (especially with all the permits to build anything a-traditional here.)

Internal streets on many levels connect the building with surrounding environments.

HKDI, which can house up to 4,000 students, is most notable for its four tree-tower trunks clad in a lattice steel diamond shaped-structure holding up an awe-inspiring glass box raised 7-storeys high. Dubbed the “White Sheet”, the architects saw this sheet as a “metaphorical presentation of creativity”, floating in air, connecting all other parts of the campus’ multidisciplinary functions, many meters above ground.

The glass box above is the metaphorical ‘White Sheet’ of Creativity. Photographed by Lightseed Studio.

The otherwise flat site, has been made more dynamic with all auditoriums, dining, and gallery functions placed within an artificial plinth on the ground, sandwiching the towers housing the classrooms, with the glass box on top holding other shared functions like study areas and the main library (with a view.)

Towers clad in lattice steel structure.

From a detail standpoint, this building is far superior structurally, materially, and finishes-wise, than the other buildings in Hong Kong of its ilk by far more seasoned architects. The 60m long escalator which takes students from ground level to the glass box, works well enough exactly how it was intended to work, and the external lattice structure which was constructed on site (not-prefabricated at all) is the the building’s overall design signature which looks neat with no water rust on the paint and with very clean joint details amongst all its structural parts. It still looks new after so many years.

While CAAU was the design architect, the project was made possible with collaboration with P&T Group, the local architects who designed our last Architectural tour stop, The Velodrome. Ove Arup Hong Kong is the project’s structural engineering team (also same with the Velodrome). The HKDI was first established in 2002, and houses departments for Design, Fashion/Textile, Printing/ Digital Media, and Multimedia + Internet Technology.

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Glass canopy brings light in while protecting interior open spaces from the elements.

Latticework structure of the HKDI built on site looks as good as new.

There are very elegant moments here when the tree trunk goes beyond the glass box above. (It could have gone horribly wrong, but it didn’t.)

So many sublime moments to connect and contemplate.

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Our Architectural Tour at the Hong Kong Hong Kong Design Institute was made possible through partnership with Hogan Autumn / Winter 2014’s Simon Holloway Collection for Casual Business. For three decades, Hogan has provided comfort and style for gentlemen everywhere. These days a plugged-in and fast paced society has changed the way we travel, choosing instead destinations that allow us to discover, explore, and document our creative inspiration. For smart shoes that allow guys like us to negotiate, network, and explore the world from day to evening, Hogan is there.

WEAR Hogan / VISIT Hong Kong Design Institute . 3 King Ling Road, Tseung Kwan O, NT HK . Tiu Keng Leng MTR Station Exit A2 . T: +852-39282994 / DESIGN CAAU Codelfy & Associates Architects Urban Planners / STYLE PHOTOGRAPHY Ken Wu - Lightseed Studio

JJ.

Seen&Scene: Weekend Design and Food at the PMQ

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I haven’t really written much about the PMQ 元創方 (aka Police Married Quarters), since the building opened its doors to the public during Art Basel Hong Kong this past May. You can read about the building’s history at the Discover Hong Kong website, but in short the building that stands is the remnant structure that was the site of the Hollywood Road Police Married Quarters, the first dormitory for Chinese rank and file police officers and their family members… an attractive staff benefit to recruit new police officers. These days the building, which originally housed 140 single rooms and 28 double rooms, is now a heritage site as well as a designers hub / shopping mall for independent labels and shops from Hong Kong and importers based in Hong Kong. 

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Anyway, i’ve only written about the PMQ in context of other stories, like when I wrote about Isono/Vasco, Aberdeen Street Social, and Kapok. The reason why I haven’t really focused on PMQ itself is because I’m doing a wait-and-see approach on this project, or at least until the building/mall can stand on both feet with full tenant occupancy. I think 6 months into it, PMQ is definitely not bad. There were some hiccups (ie. 1600 Pandas filling the plaza, which was just horrid) but everything else is alright actually. In the end of the day, the city of Hong Kong, is better to have a “design-focused-hub” than not. Even though some designers who i’m personal friends with can’t afford a unit here, in a way they still partner with some other tenants to allow their goods to be sold here. And I don’t know about the selection process for an “X” amount of units, but I do believe that some curation and rent-price level is needed or else the there would be a wider and more random range of tenancies here than what already exists right now. (For example, some tenant spaces are fully and glamorously designed and fitted out, while the tenant adjacent would basically have an empty non-designed storehouse for product. All over the place.)

A good thing I just witnessed this Sunday, however, is a new initiative dubbed Design Market @ PMQ, an opportunity for those designers who can’t afford an actual space here, to be showcased at the PMQ’s public plaza on a Sunday. More than just a handful of designers touting womenswear and menswear are on display here with their pop-up booth and it’s excellent.  There are some good finds I want to highlight… mainly the new accessories brand, North & Sparrow designed by a Brit graphic designer, named Andy Clarke, who lives in Hong Kong. We will be interviewing him soon. I believe he just showed up recently at The Hub HK and BluePrint Singapore.

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Another cool thing I saw was this old school Heritage high-end menswear bag label, called Leon Flam. Not many people know about it just yet, but it’s distribution is mostly in France.

I really like the helmet bags.

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Noted it’s not a Hong Kong-based independent brand. But without the PMQ, importers would have to rely on big department stores like Lane Crawford or Harvey Nichols to get some visible representation here. And I think the non-Lane Crawford route is a good win for consumers who are looking for more variety.

The Hong Kong based gift box company, Babaobox, was also here at the PMQ. Theirs is a curated gift box with real design and art products by actual art and design practitioners based in Hong Kong. For example if you get Babaobox Edition 1, you get original work and products from Michael Leung and Wilton Ip / Artonomos. Edition 2, titled “Obsessions”, gets you original art (a rug with rabbit poo and piss print) by highly celebrated artist, Adrian Wong and his wife, a textile seamstress, Samantha Reid. The box itself can be made into a sculptural object using tools provided by its designers, architects Marisa Yiu and Eric Shuldenfrei of ESKYIU.

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Not a bad gift for yourself or for someone else for 999HKD! I mean… Original Art and Design, people! A collectible!

After the PMQ we headed up next door to say hi to my friend, Chef Mai Chow, at her SUPER FAMOUS and SUPER DELICIOUS bao stand, Little Bao.

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She and her partner, Samantha Wong, from Little Square Street, were hosting a full on event for VANS (the shoes), with a block party, and a limited day-only menu which consisted of a 3-blend Angus Beef Bao Burger, Mirin Caramel Fires with sprinkles of furikake, and a delicious PBJ Ice Cream Bao (with Szechuan Strawberry Sauce.)

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I mean…like what else can I say? Nothing. It’s sublime food.

Met up with amazing friends, Thierry, the feng shui master (who found a fry with a letter “J” on it.)

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Gal pals; Nguyen Thi, MISCHA’s designer Michelle, and Candace Campos ie. Interior Design queen.

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And this fashion family, Thierry, an expectant mom Ingrid, and Charlotte, a blog stylista plus app developer of the super successful SPOTTLY app (which will be debuting in two weeks for Android, yay.)

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To finish the day, a few of us went to PMQ’s Aberdeen Street Social for a sunset sundowner, namely to drink a spicy Whisky based cocktail. Delicious. (That’s an Adrian Wong piece in the back… the barber parlor lights.)

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PMQ, and surrounding businesses… lots to offer for those looking for style and design from independent business owners with a cup of coffee a good bao in Hong Kong.

VISIT Design Market @ PMQ . Corner of Aberdeen Street and Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong  / CARRY North & Sparrow / CARRY Leon Flam / GIFT Babaobox / EAT Little Bao . 66 Staunton Street, Central, Hong Kong . T:+852-21940202 . No Reservation  / DRINK Aberdeen Street Social . PMQ, GF, JPC, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong . T:+852-28660300

JJ.

theW+ Architectural Tours with Hogan: The Velodrome

One of the biggest trends (thankfully) that has arrived to Hong Kong within the last 4-5 years, is the embrace by a large percentage of the city’s population towards cycling. A visible sign of its trendy popularity, recreational cyclists are now everywhere to be seen in the city, but much more so at night when it’s so much safer to avoid the city’s smoggy roads and dangerous traffic.  Heck, I’m even surprised the cycling trend has caught on in the first place! Even on Facebook, the non-profit Hong Kong Cycling Alliance Group and Fan Pages attract close to 5,000 members and counting, aimed at forging a harmonious relationship between the city and the city’s bikers through safety education programmes and pro-urban cycling advocacy. 

In the suburbs of Tseung Kwan O, we find the newest sign of cycling’s popularity with this year’s unveiling of one of the the region’s first official indoor velodromes designed specifically for the competitive Hong Kong Cycling Team and all bike enthusiasts alike.

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The beautiful yet sculpturally iconic Hong Kong Velodrome designed by P&T Group and Ove Arup, aims to bring cycling’s competitive games to this city. Costing about HK$600 million to construct in total, the building is programmatically effective, hosting the main 250-metre cycling track, plus spaces for multi-purpose sporting use, a restaurant, and a pro-bicycle shop, while also being highly sustainable. Water harvesting, photovoltaic panels plus solar panels on the roof, generate heat and energy savings.

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The most distinctive feature of the Hong Kong Velodrome (my favorite feature actually) are the building’s elliptical form and ribbed roof apparently inspired by the profile of a bicycle helmet. The zig-zagging ridges of the building’s crown gives the form a sense of lightness and height meant to reduce the overall bulk of the massive new building.

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The Hong Kong Velodrome was full of life and activity, inside AND outside. The day I visited there were so many kids cycling around the piazza, a nice welcoming space for a city that is far from being bike-friendly.

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So amazing to see this kind of playful and helpful activity between kids.

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The Hong Kong Velodrome is surrounded by a network of pedestrian bridges, linking the building with the overall stadium adjacent and public pedestrian park pathways.

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The Hong Kong Velodrome was built for cycling competitions, but that day, it was all about badminton in the its multi-use/multi-purpose spaces.

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A beautiful red tiled iconic oval Customer Service Desk, welcomes all guests at arrival.

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Our Architectural Tour at the Hong Kong Velodrome was made possible through partnership with Hogan Autumn/Winter 2014’s Collection for Casual Business. For three decades, Hogan has provided comfort and style for gentlemen everywhere. These days a plugged-in and fast paced society has changed the way we travel, choosing instead destinations that allow us to discover, explore, and document our creative inspiration. For smart shoes that allow guys like us to negotiate, network, and explore the world from day to evening, Hogan is there.

WEAR Hogan / VISIT Hong Kong Velodrome Park . 105 Po Hong Road, Tseung Kwan O, Hong Kong . Hang Hau MTR Station Exit B . T: +852-28788621 / DESIGN P&T Group / STYLE PHOTOGRAPHY Ken Wu - Lightseed Studio

JJ.

#JJStyle: Moustache Looks Back At 5th Anniversary

Thanks to their blog, we now know that this month the gents at Hong Kong’s best casual tailoring shoppe, Moustache, are celebrating their 5th year anniversary… as in… they MADE IT TO FIVE YEARS!!! As Alex Daye (aka j.a.daye) stated in his blog post, where these inaugural lookbook images above are posted…they began their menswear journey during the financial tsunami at the end of the last decade. That said, it’s really funny how financial tsumanis tend to be a turning point for many people. I know it was for me (quitting my last job, and starting a new post … plus starting this blog), it just makes all of us that much more creative doesn’t it?

Everything you need to know about Moustache you can read on Alex’s blog (or mine since I tend to always feature them). Most importantly, Alex recounts over several blog posts how and what the inspirations were for their business and how it has evolved since then. It’s a great read.

I just wanted to re-blog/re-post these dapper images from their first lookbook, printed on seemingly luxurious matte paper. Alex models in the photos, which are taken by his business partner, Ellis Kreuger, who is also the head tailor at Moustache. The lookbook is a mixture of photographs of Alex in various Moustache-wear from their first collection, in different much loved sites all over Hong Kong… from Shek-O to Sheung Wan. The photos are juxtaposed with handwritten text by Alex, who used to be (and by the looks of the blog, still is) a writer.

Enjoy the style… and the City’s urban nostalgia!

READ On Hollywood Road, the Blog of J.A.Daye & Moustache / WEAR Moustache / 31 Aberdeen Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong / T:+852-25411955 

JJ.

#JJStyle: MR PORTER Joins The Club

Club Monaco has never had amazing online presence Internationally, but… guess what MR PORTER has. And now the two have finally teamed up and are on their way to giving guys all around the world access to Club Monaco’s selection of delicious modern pieces for men. The label is a touch higher priced than a few other like-labels on the “affordable luxury” category, however the quality, fit, and materials used are impeccable. These are everyday classics that I personally feel are made to last.

MR PORTER is now the exclusive online global retailer for Club Monaco. And while we have Club Monaco in Hong Kong, it’s not available in many Asian cities, and with this new team up, everyone can have a bit of urban sophistication associated with the brand if they so desire.

FYI. All Express Shipping is free for MR PORTER customers in Hong Kong.

SHOP Club Monaco at MR PORTER

JJ.

#JJStyle: Don’t Bling, Be Normal. A Lesson in ‘Normcore’ From Gap Hong Kong / China

The Chinese fashion set who are used to so much bling, will have to think twice, especially when GAP in Hong Kong and China will start pushing out their version of ‘Normcore’ via their “Be Normal” campaign this fall 2014. That said, when Danish fashion designer who launched COS, Rebekka Bay, set out to fix all of GAP’s problems worldwide starting two years ago, i’m sure she never imagined that her whole re-focus on key simple pieces from the label’s “Americana” archives, would be simplified to the masses as an homage to normality. However timely it is… well, GAP’s newest campaign has made the “desire to fit in” or “the fear of standing out” (Urban Dictionary’s definition of the word ‘normcore’) a little something that everyone can / should strive towards. For those in the Mainland Chinese market so used to BLINGGG i’m sure there will be some effort involved.

Apparently “GAP’s Fall Campaign celebrates individuality by challenging the convention of dressing normal.” Amongst those who accepted the challenge, actress Angelica Huston, actress Elisabeth Moss, actor Michael K. Williams, actress Jena Malone, and actress Zosia Mamet.

via GAP China:

The campaign is rooted in the same core values the brand has unapologetically stood for over the past 45 years – individualism and the liberation that comes from confidently being your most authentic self. Dress Normal boldly instructs individuals to shape their own authentic, personal style – and intentionally challenges every one of us to dress for ourselves.

SHOP Gap Hong Kong

JJ.

Seen&Scene: Supporting Creative Friends at Omar Khan Home and MISCHA Product Launches for Fall/Winter 2014

Friends very close to the heart, designers Omar Khan and Michelle Lai, have each just released new products in Hong Kong last week for Fall/Winter 2014. Omar and Michelle are regularly on the blog, but more so in the last month.Omar is making buzz for finally producing a home collection of area rugs via Omar Khan Home, and Michelle for celebrating the 10th Anniversary of MISCHA by introducing her first unisex line of Camo prints… A possible gateway into menswear style.

+ Omar Khan Home @ BLITZ for Lane Crawford

Last Tuesday at BLITZ, Lane Crawford’s curatorial and creative arm, hosted their first Fall event for Krafted I, a new initiative by the Department Store, to introduce brand curation of products and gifts focused on the luxury heritage market. While all big products market heritage these days, the items available for purchase at BLITZ for a limited time seeks to introduce new products to the Hong Kong market from smaller studios Globally… including Omar Khan Home. 

On immediate offer through Krafted I, are two prints from Omar Khan Home’s line of hand tufted artisan carpets in different colors. Also available at the pop-up is furniture designed by Yabu Pushelberg for Stellar Works, bags by Moreau (soon to open a shop in Hong Kong), jewellery by Maiyet, amazing modern sandals by Alvaro Gonzalez, and a selection of scarves and shawls by Janavi and The Elder Statesmen.

Omar Khan Home rugs on offer in different styles and colors.

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Krafted I product + designers catalogue.

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The Omar and I.

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Delicious bags by Moreau.

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Various curated items on offer.

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A toast at the new Joyce Wang designed, ISONO, to finish of the night.

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One big creative family.

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+ MISCHA Camo Collection @ KAPOK PMQ

Two days later we went to support MISCHA’s amazing new Camo Collection at Kapok Crafted in Hong Kong in the PMQ, a version of the Kapok family of shops focused (for the most part) on brands designed from within Hong Kong. Michelle’s new line even has a cool pop-up space within the curated boutique, displaying a full variety of styles from this new collection you can read more about here.

Designer, Michelle Lai, with her new product line.

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Plenty of supportive fans were at the opening including Menswear designer, Anthony Hill, with wife Fiona Hill (left), and Amanda Thompson of Grana (right).

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Me with amazing archie-fashion junkie, Yuen-Man Tse.

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New HOME Journal editor, Kissa Castaneda (center), with colleague plus Marketing maven, Ms. Khan-Linh (right.)

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My high-school pal and date that night, Carolyn.

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This cheeky duo, Vincent and Jerome.

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This one hot clutch.

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We all decided to celebrate by gorging on Camo-esque Deep Fried Green Tea Buns at Little Bao next door after with Chef Mai Chow and her partner, Samantha Wong from Little Square. Yum!

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Crafted in Hong Kong!

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So, the Krafted I Collection will be available at BLITZ for Lane Crawford now until September 18 at the ifc mall and until September 29th at the BLITZ Glasshouse on Canton Road. MISCHA’s Camo Collection shop at KAPOK Crafted in Hong Kong Pop Up will be available for a few more weeks.

DESIGN Omar Khan Home / WEAR MISCHA / SHOP BLITZ Glasshouse at Lane Crawford . 3 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon . T: +852-21182288 / SHOP Kapok Crafted in Hong Kong . GF Hollywood Road, HG10, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central HK . T: +852-28588170 

JJ.

#theWanderlist: A Guide To Sartorial Style in Hong Kong

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Well the cat’s out of the bag. My boss and an co-worker just walked up to me yesterday at the studio telling me that they just saw my video (above) in the Hong Kong Airport’s video screens and wondered why that was. Yes, there are people out there that don’t read this blog, or could care less what I do after hours… and most those people work with me. Which is great. So when they do let me know that they’ve seen me on Airport screens, it’s a bit funny to me.

About that video… this past summer I collaborated with the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) and producers at Singapore’s LiTV, to create some content for Hong Kong’s new global AD Campaign in Asia as well as to mark the arrival of the city’s new concierge app, MY HONG KONG GUIDE

The campaign, themed around the caption, My Time for Renewal, takes three guys; Celebrity Chef Alvin Leung, Model / Host Jason Godfrey, and Me, and introduces audiences to our favorite spots all over Hong Kong. Alvin tells carnivores where to get their fill of beef, Jason tells tourists how best to explore the city while getting the right amount of sun, and I teach guys where (in my opinion) is the best place to source a uniquely bespoke look. If you’d like to follow my Sartorial guide through this city… you can watch the video, use the itinerary on the app, and read the post below for more information about each of my Hong Kong menswear destinations I truly support and recommend.

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+ ELEMENTS OF A SUIT // Sham Shui Po District

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You can begin your sartorial adventure by sourcing your own fabrics, lining material, and buttons at the (in)famous Sham Shui Po district in Hong Kong. This little district is one of the poorest and most dense locations of public housing estates. However, it is also a destination for Electronic geeks looking for rare imports (prices are not that cheap), and Fashion designers looking to source materials and other items for their creations. I definitely know fellow blogger, Geneva, DIY blogger A Pair and A Spare comes here almost every week, and so does Paola, designer of her label, Tangram. Most recently, artist Michael Leung had formulated a Night Market Project initiative at Sham Shui Po, which you can read about here.

So much on offer here, it can be overwhelming.

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However, for those who are brave enough to venture…

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Will find plenty of very cool items to choose from.

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So many shops line the streets for your sourcing needs.

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With tons of fabric options for all your different suits.

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For the sake of sourcing for the suit, there are a few areas on the street and some shops that do sell fabric for the outer shell and a suit’s lining. However, your tailor will also have a selection on offer. I suggest readers to come only to Sham Shui Po if only they have something particular that you are in search of, are trying to save a few bucks on material, or are looking for fabric for suit accessories like additional dress pants or dress shirts.

Remember, suiting fabric comes in various types beyond the Multi-Blend, Wool, or Polyester suits you are used to. Depending on the time of year or the event, you may opt for cotton, flannel, herringbone, linen, poplin, seersucker, or tweed. 

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+ BEST OF THE SPECS // Woo Ping Optical Co. in North Point

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After Sham Shui Po, we ventured over to the iconic Mom & Pop owned, Woo Ping Optical, in North Point. This place has been around since 1974… and at arrival, I immediately noticed that nothing about that place has changed since the Seventies! Most notably, a really vibrant lady dressed in forever ‘81 (as in 1981), is always there to offer great customer service to all who visit.

At Woo Ping, they sell plenty of used and new Ray Bans from different eras (Generic, Japanese, and US Only models), and a bunch of retro Japanese glasses that still are very much back in vogue today.

The nice lady, Ms. Chan,… one half of Woo Ping Optical.

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As it stands, frozen in time. Thank goodness.

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Retro is now back in. You got the memo?

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Which Japanese frames did I get? Guess.

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The other half of Woo Ping Optical who refuses to get his photo taken.

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I bought a pair of Japanese handcrafted green tortoise shell specs and prescription lenses to fit in. The perfect pair cost me around 400 hkd… TOTAL. Take that Lens Crafters!

According to our friends at Moustache Tailors (who feature Woo Ping on their own Hong Kong Guides), Woo Ping has plenty of fans including lady Shum Din Ha, tycoon Li KaShing, and singer Eason Chen.

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+ SUIT WITH THE RIGHT CUT // Moustache in SOHO

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Speaking of Moustache Tailors, we went to see them after the glasses place to check out how my summer jacket was going. Ellis Kreuger from the UK and his partner, Alex Daye from the US, are both the co-owners of Moustache. We actually had a lengthy interview with them a few years ago, which was photographed by Carmen Chan of How I Met Your Style. Back then they were were just venturing into Bespoke Denim on top of their Suiting services. Today they’re still going strong, and have actually given themselves Sundays off and an additional tailor/seamstress added on to the team in order to meet up with demand.

Some behind the scenes of the updated Moustache shop.

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Really excited to ‘design’ this summer wool jacket with Ellis and Alex.

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The difference between a suit from Moustache and a suit from a tailor in TST, is that Ellis and Alex are real masters of the perfect “cut” with an eye focused on current fashion trends and styling. Meaning, you will most likely get a suit that is maybe a bit more playful and fashion forward with a cut that is right for your body type (ie. slimming), vs. a suit based off of a generic paper template which is easily adjustable for different measurements. The difference is a look that is 2014 versus 1984.

Moustache will also give the customer options for all types of outer shell and lining combinations, stitching types, collar and lapel shapes, pockets, vents, pleats, cuffs… really it’s like being part of a fashion designer’s process. While this may initially seem overwhelming, it’s really not, because Ellis explains the whole process so easily and he’s got a form he writes on to make it seem like everyone is putting together specs for a new race car or something. Plus, there are also some guys out there that don’t want the selection of 5 materials that everyone is forced to gorge on when getting a generic tailored suit or jacket. My summer suit is actually made of a lightweight maroon thin wool material, and lined with a lime green and black polka-dot lining. I originally ordered golden buttons, but ended up with red wool covered buttons. The whole look is comfortable, casual, and modern. These guys are so easy to work with and the suit is ready in about 4 weeks with two visits total before the pick up.

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+ IF THE SHOE FITS // Shoe Artistry in Mongkok

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Before we ventured back to Hong Kong side from Kowloon, we stopped over in a non-descript Mongkok building to visit Shoe Artistry located on the 2nd Level. Shoe Artistry is Hong Kong’s premier studio for handmade measure-to-make shoes and it’s founder, Central Saint Martins graduate Kit Lee, is a very passionate artisan.

Kit started Shoe Artistry as a way to help a friend find a way to make her own bespoke shoe to celebrate finishing her final degree. In the process they were able to discover the iconic MING KEE shoe makers in Jordan, and his collaboration with MING KEE allows Kit to find a new generation of consumers looking to create a bespoke shoe.

Very low-key shopfront, but Shoe Artistry is the best in Handmade shoes.

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Colors and styles on offer make everything “on trend”.

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Loving this shoe wall.

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All the shoe forms for each client on the long shelf.

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The difference between a hand made shoe and high priced Italian brand, is that at the end of the day, mass-produced shoes are designed to fit a variety of feet sizes and are most likely partly built by machines, whereas shoes at Shoe Artistry are 100% handmade, and are based off a hand drawing of your own unique foot. Shoes at Shoe Artistry are not cheap and run from about 250 to 500 USD depending on the complexity of the style. However, a bespoke shoe really does finish a bespoke suit quite nicely, AND the artisanal shoe’s design are custom made for each individual gentleman.

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+ OLD FASHIONED BAR // Tai Lung Fung in Wanchai

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Not really menswear or sartorial related, but since we’re on the right wavelength… a well suited man certainly will find himself right at home here at Tai Lung Fung, a watering hole tucked away behind the historic Stone Nullah Blue House. The chill space is actually more of a local then a destination bar, however its nostalgic decor and refreshing version of a Whiskey Old Fashioned makes this place a perfect night that is uniquely one-of-a-kind in Hong Kong. 

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That’s definitely where we ended, and I’m glad that we did. I can still taste that whiskey drink. Go before dinner or after (not during.)

SHOP Sham Shui Po . Exit Sham Shui Po Station / SHOP Woo Ping Optical Company . GF, 278 King’s Road, North Point, Hong Kong . T: +852-25717810 / WEAR Moustache . GF, 31 Aberdeen Street, Sheung Wan . T: +852-25411955 / WEAR Shoe Artistry . Office 4, 2F Prosperity Building, 61 Tung Choi Street, Kowloon . T: +852-27966018 / DRINK Tai Lung Fung . 5 Hing Wan Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong . T: +852-25720055

JJ.