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Fashion Showdown: Hong Kong’s fashion retailers go head-to-head

    

Lane Crawford, Canton Road (above)  

Forget the turnover of designers at French fashion houses – who can keep up with Hong Kong’s fashion retailers? This month alone we’ve seen Lane Crawford reopen their Canton Road store (with plans to close their Pacific Place boutique), and Joyce and Harvey Nichols open new stores as well (the latter took over the space formerly occupied by Seibu).  So how do these new fashion meccas measure up against the other? I took a sneak peak to find out …    

Harvey Nichols, Pacific Place     

     

Harvey Nichols’ first Asian flagship clocks in at 83,000 square feet with a cool new design inspired by a “fashion hurricane” from British architects Four IV. That being said the layout is almost identical to former tenant Seibu with cosmetics, travel and living, and children’s wear covering Level 1. Upstairs you’ll find watches and jewellery, women’s wear and men’s wear including shoes and accessories.    

I’ve always been a fan of the store’s Beyond Beauty section and there are some interesting organic skincare brands as well as luxe perfume brand Kilian, which is exclusive to the store (the fragrances remind me of L’Artisan de Parfumeur, but way more deluxe).    

While the selection of men’s and women’s wear seem smaller there are more contemporary labels including Holmes & Yang (by Katie Holmes), Rachel Zoe, Vanessa Bruno, Clu and Paul & Joe. What really stood out were the mini-boutiques dedicated to big fashion houses such as Lanvin, Balenciaga, Moncler and Azzedine Alaia (it’s probably the biggest selection of Alaia fashion and accessories available in Hong Kong and was well overdue!) The shoe department has a mini-store for Giuseppe Zanotti.    

It’s also worth checking out the super fun accessories section which features hats from Philip Treacy and Borsalino as well as some funky jewellery by Alexis Bittar and my new favourite, Eddie Borgo, winner of the CFDA Accessories Designer of the Year.    

    

 Harvey Nichols, Pacific Place, Admiralty, Hong Kong, tel: +852 3698 2668, www.harveynichols.com.hk    

Joyce, The Lee Gardens    

   

As many of you already know, Joyce promoted its new boutique by launching a “Cast Your Vote” programme where they photographed stylistas off the streets and uploaded the pics onto Facebook. This alone gives you an indication of the type of customer the new store is hoping to attract – young and edgy creatives, who love fashion and are looking for something different.   

The 4,000 sq ft  boutique has a clean, minimalist design with digital screens and projections, which is something different for them. Customers are lead through a series of corridors that form a square around the main entrance and dressing rooms, giving the shop a nice flow. There is a strong emphasis on Japanese brands such as Toga, Mastermind, Mihara Yasuhiro, Sacai, Mame and my new favourite Kaal E. Suktae. Other core brands include Alexander Wang, Rick Owens, Lulu & Co and Damir Doma whose clean minimalist designs I discovered in Paris last year. The focus on more edgy brands give the shop a strong identity, which can be a good or bad thing. I just wish there were more accessories, especially from more interesting brands such as Mame.   

    

Joyce, Shops 209-210, The Lee Gardens, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, tel: +852 2907 2228, www.joyce.com   

Lane Crawford, Canton Road    

      

I was surprised it took Lane Crawford this long to revamp its Canton Road store especially since the area is a goldmine thanks to the hoards of mainland tourists that shop there.  The new and improved boutique boasts a whopping 100,000 square feet (making it the retailer’s largest) with a sleek and stylish design that isn’t too intimidating.  

As soon as you enter the store you are faced with mammoth Shoe Library by On Pedder, which is apparently the largest shoes and accessories department in Asia. I live in Kowloon and am tired of schlepping to the IFC store to get my shoe fix so I was thrilled when I saw every brand imaginable and then some (apparently there are over 200 brands). There are dedicated areas to Christian Louboutin and Jimmy Choo, along with offerings from the usual suspects such as Tory Burch, Yves Saint Laurent, Chloe and Givenchy. Manolo Blahnik also makes a comeback, with a beautiful edit of trendy and elegant styles (finally!) Accessories are grouped according to themes and there are several rooms including the Contemporary World, Market Place and Weekend for UGGS and the like.  

Another highlight for me was the lab section. This new retail concept is similar to Barney’s Co-op with a focus on contemporary fashion brands with a more “democratic” price range including Carven, Joseph, Rick Owens Lillies, Theyskens’ Theory and Helmut Lang. The look is definitely more edgy and the selection is much wider and varied. Apparently there are plans to rollout standalone stores in the future, with China as the key market.     

Also worth mentioning is the The Library cafe which features goodies by Sevva’s Bonnie Gokson and model-turned-pastry chef Amanda Strang. Nothing like treating yourself after a hard day’s shopping.    

Lane Crawford, 3 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, tel: +852 2118 3428, www.lanecrawford.com     

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