Vein’s exterior; dress from Humanoid in the shop window.
Is it just me or is Hong Kong getting exciting again in the shopping stakes? Just when we thought everything cool in fashion was happening on the mainland, we’ve seen big store openings over the past few weeks including I.T’s Hysan Avenue store, and Ralph Lauren and Goyard at The Peninsula. Designers scheduled to come to town this month alone include Tory Burch, Giles Deacon and British handbag designer Lulu Guinness (and don’t forget the new King of Fashion, Tom Ford).
But what I am really excited about is the changing fashion landscape as more independently owned boutiques start to sprout up. One of my latest finds is Vein, a small boutique in Wanchai’s hip Star Street neighbourhood devoted solely to the cool and minimalist style of Scandinavia’s hottest designers.
The boutique was opened in January by former fashion executive and designer Melinda Wong, who previously worked with brands such as Calvin Klein and Giordano Ladies. Wong is a passionate lover of Scandinavian design and would often look to their brands for inspiration for her own work back in the day (that would explain why Giordano ladies had a cool understated aesthetic when it first launched). Jaded by Hong Kong’s lack of labels with personality, individuality and a stylish point of view, she opened the boutique hoping to give local shoppers something new and exciting.
“What excites me most about these brands is that they really respect the material and finishing. The silhouettes are often simple because they serve as a blank canvas to show off details and the material,” she says. “It’s about simplistic laid back beauty and unique luxury- these pieces are wardrobe staples that you will keep for years.”
And she has delivered. The shop may be small but Wong decks out the space with different brands every three to four weeks, so customers always have something new to peruse. Most of these labels are established names in Scandinavia and have a proven track record.
On the racks currently are designs from Humanoid, including knit cardigans with silk backs, open silk jackets, draped jersey tube dresses and loose dresses made from fine cotton and silk (I bought myself a black version that I love!). The striped cotton shrugs are a fab way to experiment with spring’s hottest trend, and can be worn in several different ways. Also available is Stylin which features tanks with draped sleeves and graphic print silk dresses in city-friendly shades of grey, black and white. Because the shapes are so fluid, most of the styles will suit all shapes and sizes! Marimekko should be on the racks at the end of the month, along with homewares to match.
There are also plenty of accessories including Swedish Hasbeens Toffel clogs, an alternative to Celine’s, ranging from HK$1,500 to HK$2,000. Odeur features unisex bags made from distressed leather while jewellery comes courtesy of David and Martin and Sweden’s Renaissance Life which includes chunky geometric pendants with messages inside. If you need inspiration, there are also hard-to-find fashion magazines available such as London’s The Gentlewoman and Copenhagen’s Dansk. The interiors also change with the clothes providing a complete lifestyle experience, Scandanavia style.
Best of all, prices are affordable and range between HK$1,500 to HK$3,000. Who needs to get on a plane?
Vein is at G/F, 2D Star Street, Wanchai, Hong Kong, tel: +852 2528 4988.