Last Sunday a friend of mine, stylist and fashion blogger Veronica Li of the Vnikali Blog, and I finally got together for a life update and a chat with friends, Priscilla and Angus. The tea/coffee get together amongst us was long overdue, and it didn’t hurt that cakes at Woobar in W Hong Kong was part of the equation.
The last time I saw Veronica was at the Black Fleece Flagship launch in town, and it was then that she and I decided that it was time to really schedule a meet up.
Veronica has been working hard with her clients as well as religiously updating her wildly successful blog. Just two months ago, she flew to Vienna for her website’s coverage of the watch brand Omega. She had an opportunity to blog from the Garden Palace Liechtenstein while meeting up with actress, Nicole Kidman.
W Hong Kong pastry chef, Andrea Bonnafini, from Turin, served us an amazing Tea Set just for this month and in collaboration with Le French May, an annual citywide initiative by the Alliance Francaise to spread French culture in Hong Kong via art, entertainment, and F&B channels.
Andrea is like a kid in a candy shop… except his kitchen IS his candy shop, and he invents everything inside it. If you’re lucky you can get dueling edible chocolate robots…
Or potted Tiramisu plants.
After tea, we all headed up to the
Pool Wet Deck upstairs to check out the view and take a few shots for the denim brand 7 For All Mankind as part of their Spring/Summer 2013 Social Media campaign.
It was a tad bit cold and windy then… but everyone found a way to warm up. Like Priscilla and Angus below.
Thanks so much 7 For All Mankind and W Hong Kong for a great Sunday get together. I can’t wait until the summer when it gets sunny and hot and the hotel’s famous Sunday DJ pool sessions are in full effect.
Based on the weather in Hong Kong lately, it seems like the city is not yet ready to give up on Spring (ie. rainy and chilly). So therefore, while it is still Spring out in the city, take your umbrella and go to some of these shops I checked out with friends, MacArthur and Peter (as in SOM, one of the US’s hottest designers today.)
Peter and Mac getting along just fine!
Not knowing how to spend the Sunday, I decided to meet up with Peter and Mac post-brunch for coffee. Soon after some gossip updates, we all decided that it was best to do some exercise .. and by exercise we mean a walking tour of one of my most favorite neighborhoods… the Sun Street / St. Francis Yard / Sau Wa Fong
(triangle?) in Wanchai Admiralty.
+ CARVEN / Moon Street
Our first stop of the tour, straight to Moon Street to check out the latest Spring looks at the newly opened CARVEN boutique.
For those who do not know, CARVEN was founded in 1945 at Rond Point des Champs-Elysees by Madame Carven to house her collection of Haute Couture. The shop has had a few transformations since the 90’s when Mardame CARVEN retired from the label, and since then the brand has been building a collection inspired by CARVEN’s very clean, elegant, and youthfully romantic approach to the “CARVEN” aesthetic.
In 2010 Guillaume Henry joins the CARVEN house as its newest Art Director. His biggest change? Adding the brand’s first men’s collection for the Summer 2012 line.
And by the looks of what’s on offer at the Moon Street CARVEN, this season it’s all about neon tangerines, electric greens, and florals. (A different interpretation of Spring than what we’re all stuck with in HK.)
Im loving the collaborative pieces with PORTER Bags and Zespa Shoes.
The friendly neighborhood CARVEN guy said “Hi”.
+ KAPOK / Sun Street
Next stop, we wanted to show Peter the original KAPOK shops. I know these days there are other locations… but I still think the Sun Street and St. Francis Street shops are the best. KAPOK is where you can go to find labels and goods before they they show up anywhere else in Hong Kong. They’re the true purveyors of fine goods in the city.
This time around we checked out sunglasses by Smith & Norby, the latest wallets by Jack Spade, and card cases by MAKR Carry Goods.
That said, i’m a big fan of these easy to carry Wm.J.Mills&CO. Sailmakers Bags from Greenport NY. (According to the label).
They have KINFOLK!
+ THE MEN’S SHOP by CLUB MONACO / St. Francis Yard
I’m a Club Monaco addict. There I said yet. I think my friend, Whitney and I buy at least one thing from this store every week.
Men in Hong Kong get an an extra special treat with The Men’s Shop concept on St. Francis street because they do ship in some extra special items only found in this store from some independent labels in the states. I’m loving the “needlepoint belts” from Smathers & Branson above.
We we all loved these great pair of loafers from Mark McNairy.
I was also tempted to get this umbrella from London Undercover.
Meanwhile I wore my new Club Monaco blazer for this season. It’s got green and yellow flowers printed all over it like wallpaper… but that’s exactly why I love it. It’s quite quirky.
+ WDSG Art & Craft Department / St. Francis Street
Around the corner we we went to check out the newest goods at the WDSG Shop… which looked more like a General Store from the wild west… That… or Williamsburg today.
Technology and Visual History Combine For Divine Effect, Works by Wim Delvoye and Ronald Ventura in Hong Kong
If a gallery was a pop-indie-R&B-electronic music promoter whose sole purpose was to import the best in edgy yet mature acts in the world to Hong Kong today, then one can single out Paris/Hong Kong based Galerie Perrotin as that kind of gallery.
I say this not as a critique but an observation based on the current and last few exhibits since the gallery opened in its beautiful 50 Connaught Road space. Exhibitions that aren’t necessarily ”POP” as much as they are “Populist” are extracted from graphic and illustrative cultures of our time, magnified, amplified, choreographed, and exhibited in a nice neat package in the gallery’s light filled space. They’re edgy, but consumable, presented in a nice package like a new CD by the XX or M.I.A. for example. Exhibitions in 2012 by Peter Zimmermann, JR, KAWS, Aya Takano, Bharti Kher, and Farhad Moshiri would fall into these categories. There have been more open ended shows, however, like works in progress or studies by Lionel Esteve and Jin Meyerson. The exhibitions have been fun, bold, and perfect for an Asian audience (maybe the young ones) still focused on refining their curatorial palette.
However as Pop-indie acts go, part of what always makes them relevant is their ability to use digital information and technology to extract visual resources (ever available with google search and a click of the mouse) from the past to the present, then remixed, packaged, and then presented. This remix of visual culture via the technological filter is what the latest solo exhibitions at Galerie Perrotin Hong Kong are all about with two shows by the Philippine’s Ronald Ventura (pictured below) and Belgium’s Wim Delvoye (pictured above).
Exhibited separately in one big space with no curatorial connection between the two, Ventura and Delvoye exhibit works fit for a religious spaces but with a twist. Ventura’s paintings reflect Baroque formal compositions and dutch techniques (playing on light), while Delvoye’s silver sculptures are indeed Baroque-esque in the layers of information, detail, and the way all these are flattened with a play on perspective and drama. Overall the works presented here are grand in gesture, and exaggerated in motion and drama, everything that the Roman Catholic Church just loves. In the 1600s Baroque works aimed to communicate the divinity on speed, but in today’s digital age, is the excess of information a divine gift of which to create?
Ronald Ventura’s fantastical paintings of smoking skulls, sea creatures, monsters, amid Angry Birds (an iOS game app) and BEATS by Dr. Dre Headphones, within bird cages (a thematic trope to put it all together), for Ventura, an aim to materialize his fantasies. His paintings are way for us to see what he sees. Ventura’s work begins with several sketches, then scanned, and remixed on photoshop (with presumably some other visual references from online), and then painted. Compared to Ventura’s other works in the past, the exhibition, titled Voids and Cages, is some of his most mature work yet, and thematically more global than it is regional.
Meanwhile works here by Wim Delvoye is an extension of his show from The Louvre in 2012 which took two years to produce. Unlike Ventura who works alone, Delvoye employes a studio to help him craft together his intricate sculptures, like the “Twisted Dump Truck” pictured above, modeled in a 3D computer program, then laser-cut piece by piece and assembled in Stainless Steel. This and the mirrored bronze sculptures which reflect Rorschach plates, give a sense of work truly in motion. Whats more, the sculptures look like they were gestured by a paint brush, as if Baroque works were actually transitioning from one kind of composition to another one. It is… pretty cool.
These shows will be on exhibit at Galerie Perrotin Hong Kong until 11 May 2013. Click below to see more from the show and details on where to see it.
Last week we recently checked out the lastest showing from Pearl Lam Galleries’ newest exhibition, a work by Scottish artist and DJ, Jim Lambie. Newly appointed International gallery director, Althea Viafora-Kress, walked us through the gallery’s roomy 6th floor space at the Pedder Building to see a bold exhibition of bright colors and blue and white stripes that make up an impressive body of work that is obviously prolific as it is “popularist”, a term Althea describes for the artist, Lambie.
Born in the the late 60’s, Lambie graduated from the Glasgow School of Art when he was 30 in 1994. Now almost 50 years yeas old, Lambie is a “visual” artist who creates colorful sculptural installations pieced together from everyday objects, inspired by his everyday life. At Pearl Lamb the most notable piece, titled I Remember (Square Dance), 2009, is a play on the cube formed via an additive process. Vintage chairs sawed in half, painted in poppy hues and stacked together with mirrored handbags, reflecting the moments in Lambie’s life where he sat in bars starring at chairs with women’s handbags. Simple as that.
A classically trained artist, who was nominated for a Turner Prize, Lambie likes to play with structure as a baseline, like the chair’s cube, or covering the gallery floors with blue and white swirls via a work titled The Strokes (like the band) where then each piece from the collection can have equal “weight” no matter how small or large the size. As a whole the show literally reflects a song where each work becomes an important note of which to play of itself or via the floor. It’s a show that exists within its own space, time, and framework.
It’s hard NOT to hear music when the same colors are on repeat frequently from one work to another. Like when colors reveal themselves via each metallic fold as in Metal Box (Instanbul), 2013 or when paint rips through plastic bags like in Plaza, 1999/2013. And as a DJ, one can say that he really is influenced with rythm and repetition. But I did ask Althea if Lambie ever tried to interpet his works back to music… she wasn’t so sure. But that would be really interesting if it ever did happen.
Althea Viafora-Kress, below, in front of Metal Box (Instanbul), 2013.
Records encased in Concrete boxes, in works from the Sonic Reducer 2008 series. Are they floating or sinking. Depends on where you’re coming from.
Colors rip through in Plaza, 1999/2013, inspired by a woman Lambie saw on the bus with milk seeping through her shopping bag.
A belt floats in Venom Wild Pitch, 2002.
England’s Dreaming, 2011 collage.
A special Psychedelic Soul Stick made for each show.
Too hot. Lets cool off. White Belt, 2012 below. Made of Steel.
One can easily get sucked in. Vortex (Into the Void), 2013.
Althea and I spoke briefly about different issues, from moving to Hong Kong, the Chinese art market, and art appreciation in general. She was excited to find out I practice architecture full time, so we started our chat on the subject of how architects see art (via a historical/spatial framework) versus how artists work with art and see art as well (a creative expression from Blankness within its own context). I was obviously drawn to the exhibit because it was so spatial, but interesting to note that Lambie starts each work via just tinkering with materials or being inspired by the everyday experience. The thing itself then gets magnified and constructed in super bold ways which exists in their own vortex.
Good to know that even well established commercial galleries can push the button of the spectator experience to create a point of view. While Pearl Lam is in a position to sell, it’s also good to educate perspective… for themselves and the client.
VISIT Jim Lambie: The Flowers of Romance, 17 April - 15 May 2013 at Pearl Lamb Galleries, 6F Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong. Closed Sundays.
Check out this really cool limited edition canvas tote bag I received with black leather straps from BOTHOS. The two-in-one-bag (because it’s two vertical A4 sized eco bags folded and stitched to be carried as one bag) celebrates their latest collection of travel-inspired canvas and leather bags. BOTHOS is an independent Hong Kong based label selling accessories like self-branded bags, SETHA wood and silver accessories (also their brand), and exclusive Italian shoe brands like Philippe Model, YOU Footwear, and HTC.
You may have passed by the store pictured below. It’s on 20 Hollywood Road and is the original BOTHOS store.
Adjacent, on 22 Hollywood Road, is an even bigger 1,500 sq. foot extension boutique with an interior design focused on the “ascetic rough luxe” and true craftsmanship.
The bag I received folds open to reveal a map and a letter about the boutique’s creator, Luigino Bottos. In it reveals the brand ethos of two worlds, marrying Italian leather making traditions with the creativity and “can-do” attitude of Hong Kong. This duality is the inspiration via the brand’s just released two-sided canvas tote bag with a print for Italy on one side…
And a print for Hong Kong on the other.
The bags above cost 690HKD. I have no idea if the bag I got is available in the shop at all since it is a limited edition. The first of 200 bags made.
BOTHOS is available at BOTHOS in Hong Kong central (address below), and boutiques such as, L’eclaireur in Paris, Luisa Via Roma in Italy, and United Arrows in Japan.
Sure Lehmann Maupin had their gallery opening at the Pedder Building on my birthday, but alas, I ended up choosing to celebrate the day with Thom Browne at the new Black Fleece Flagship Store instead.
Okay… so Thom Browne wasn’t there, but after New York, San Fransisco, and Tokyo, the Hong Kong flagship for the Brooks Brothers label is the 4th and only stand alone store for the brand in the world. I couldn’t miss this. So apologies to Lehmann Maupin, a Black Fleece Flagship in Hong Kong has been a birthday wish of mine for some time now.
The collection couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Menswear in Hong Kong is very hot at the moment. Guys in the city have been bold with their style choices lately, and for the most part, have been doing a great job styling themselves. The latest S/S 2013 collection by Thom Browne for Black Fleece allows men to be adventurous with prints, colors, and fabrics.
The bright prints, which could be found on jackets, trousers, and accessories, play with a pattern’s scale, making new motifs from classic madras for example, thus giving off a very iconic and resortique feel.