fashionique

Bling Bling Revolution

A store sign in Causeway Bay. I too believe it is time for a revolution in bling bling - for too long the women of HK have been forced to wear dull pewter necklaces, cubic zirconium jewelry and mouseskin stoles. It's time for 24K gold by the pound, 2" wide jade bracelets, and diamond collared mink coats. Of course there have already been several such revolutions here - to say nothing of the infamous sequin encrusted t-shirt and silvery stretchpants rebellions - but I digress...

Crystal. Winkie. Regen. Cheeky Girl.

A bus stop ad for Hotcha's latest album, Shall We Shall We Dance Love. Interesting band name too; the term 'hotcha' was big about what, 70 years ago? Why not call yourselves 'flapper', or 'charleston'? Anyway the titles etc are pretty tame by HK standards; its the list of names at the lower right that got my attention. Seems we have Crystal, Winkie, and Regen, Cheeky Girls all. Perhaps they are all rather cheeky individually, but collectively form a singularity of pure Cheeky Girl energy, ready to be unleashed in a veritable Dance Love explosion. Shall we shall we? Oh yes, we shall...

Prada Mind Control

A rather bizarre Prada (even by their standards) sunglass ad. Apparently wearing these will allow Prada to broadcast 'flashes of inspiration' directly into your brain, as illustrated by a circa 1970 radar antenna and bolt of lightning; well its a working theory anyway...

Girlish Pretty + Delicacy = 1+1(M)ORE

Two huge billboards on the WTC arcade in Causeway Bay. The tagline - and the bizarre outfits - epitomize HK's ongoing quest for girly cuteness and uberfashion. If only some brave fashion outlet would combine the two... Quite a combo as well - pillbox hat, old world parisian ruffles, chaste schoolgirl ankle socks, and 5" heels with yard-long bows.



There's another towering ad outside. I'm guessing this one is based on a Victorian harlequin lamp - haute indeed. Wonder if that golden light really shines down from the lampshade/skirt though...

Apparently 'Haute Couture + Lifestyle = MORE' also. Note that the 'M' is actually a stylized 1+1, for reasons known only to the ad agency. So... according to my admittedly rusty arithmetic... girlish pretty + delicacy = 1+1(m)ore = haute couture + lifestyle. Any questions?



Monomaniacal

An aptly named metrosexual(?) salon in Wanchai. They apparently do manicures, discreet waxings, and eyebrow plucking, as well as the perfect 'bedhead/anime' and 'swooping/baby curl' haircuts. Can't think of a better moniker considering their clientele though; I guess "Narcissism" was taken...

Shouts of Bags!

While waiting for my web provider to recover my (now lost) old files, I stumbled on a few pictures from our first month or so here. This is from a now-defunct store near Harbour City. Pretty much speaks for itself - "Bags! Shouts of Bags!" Don't know if that should be said with an excited carnival shout, or like a despairing anchor reporting live outside a raging boutique fire." ..Now we're hearing shouts of 'bags! bags!' All those reasonably priced yet edgy purses going up in flames... Oh the horror!"

L'Homos Johnbull Tabloid News

A few more brand names for the eagerly awaited mall in Causeway Bay. I was struck by 'L'Homos' - that does mean 'the homos' in french, correct? Nothing wrong with a gay-only brand of course, but a hard sell as a t-shirt moniker for straight men, even metrosexuals. I was also taken by the flow (alliteration?) of the three names combined - l'homo johnbull tabloid news - interesting ring to it. Of course 'tabloid news' doesn't exactly scream 'quality' either...

In the Future, Catcher's Masks For All

An old shot from Macau I stumbled across this weekend. According to this watch, err timepiece, retailer, in the future all men will wear body armor (eerily similiar to Cylons in the original Battlestar Galactica) and don catcher's masks - yes from American baseball, all you cricketeers; no floppy hats and sweater vests in the 22nd century. And complimenting this potent protection is thier laser shielded, vacuum proofed timepiece - which you can still snorkel with, to a depth of 3 meters! It seems Mad Max got it all wrong - no mohawks, dreadlocks or hockey masks. Just exquisite catcher's apparel. And watches.

Who's Dope? The Bro5, That's Who

A poster for the 'Who's Dope' dance competition. It seems some in HK have wholeheartedly embraced street dance culture (if 'culture' is the correct term) right down to the ludicrous names - Tommy x Bro5? Is that supposed to be a play on 'bros'? And the tagline - 'Dance Forever in my Life'? God I hope not.

Anyway do we really need a competition to determine who is in fact dope? It seems all the dancers represented here are living incarnations... manifested in their recycled breakdancing moves, faux gang signs, sparkly shirts, hats worn at rakish angles, and of course baggy jeans belted well below the pelvis.

I must confess I'm a bit concerned that too much dope will be concentrated in one place during the 'final'. Usually the hyper-dope crew assembled to judge spread out the dope to manageable levels across the planet (unlike our friends at the Hong Kong Funky Dance Centre, who seem to want a concentrated funk implosion - the fools). Could we see the unintentional creation of fusion right here in HK, powered not by deuterium reactors, but dope?

'80s Stoner Chick Returns

This is another window display from our friends at AnotherFCK, the hipster geniuses behind the "Dream World" geek posted last month; it seems they're now playing up the classic '80s stoner chick. I especially like the matted-hairspray look matched with the monstrous flower clip. Now you too can act heavily sedated and/or bored out your mind while hanging out in the school pot dealer's basement. Then its off to combat the munchies with some nasty 7-11 nachos, followed by some serious bitching about angst, suburbia, and that weird smell coming from the couch.

JESSI'CAR' - For Car-Loving Fashionistas

Wow. It seems the publishers of JESSICA (a fashionique highend magazine here in HK) have done my work for me. Not much to add to 'car-loving fashionistas'... to say nothing of cleverly adding 'car' to the end of JESSICA - a masterstroke of wordplay.

Happy Mexican Girly

A poster for Liz Liza's spring collection at SOGO, the new 'happy mexican girly' line. These ladies are on the forefront of human-anime hybrids, carrying the Japanese fetish for big eyes to its logical extreme. Indeed its now all the rage for 'girly' - hypercute Asian women - to sport contact lenses with enlarged pupils and sparkly irises. This is supposed to make the eyes look even larger and anime-esque. I've seen a few kids in HK wearing them, and its a bit unsettling up close; they look like more frightened than cute, and they seem unable to see peripherally. Apparently several eye doctors have come out against them, as your real pupil can't deal with the extra light etc. Alas beauty knows no pain, as they say.

Out of curiosity I googled Liz Lisa - the website I found is mostly in Japanese, but from what I could gather it seems the spring collection is bereft of actual 'mexican' designs. Heaps of 'happy' and 'girly' though...

Some Very Happy Beach Toys

This is a store window for a new boutique in Happy Valley. I looked up Anna Rita N, which turns out to be a high end Italian fashionique outfit. The ad campaign is from Italy, so I that lets the locals off the hook so to speak. I was literally stopped in my tracks by this one - not by the model and her admittedly distracting legs, but by the bizarre inclusion of blowup clownfish at her feet. They really seem to appreciate the upskirt view, and she seems happy to engage in a little exhibitionism. Not sure what or who this is supposed to entice; voyeuristic beach toy fetishists? Leg aficionados with a hidden desire to be Nemo?

The Dream World Beckons...

This is a poster for AnotherFCK, a hipster clothing store that specializes in unearthing ungodly '80s retro and then unleashing it upon unsuspecting 21st century fashionistas. This ensemble is the aimed at the 'hypergeek' set I suppose. Honestly who would wear this outfit - shiny red pants with a drawstring? And complimented by purple geek frames? And his turtle-like head and bad 5th grade haircut don't help.

Its also one of those unintentionally hilarious taglines that makes me wonder if the ad agency was tweaking their HK clients. 'The dream world' seems an apropos title: Enter the dream world if you dare, where this outfit turns heads and melts hearts; the dream world, where this guy doesn't get beat up at lunch on general principal; the dream world, where he is not a virgin but in fact gets laid constantly back at his bachelor pad, with old-school Devo playing in the background - Whip it Good for the act itself, followed by a post-coital cuddle rendition of Beautiful World...

What the F**k? Of Street Art, Dental Exams & Impossible Objects

This is by far the strangest - and most disturbing - street art I've ever seen. I've come across far more violent, grotesque etc, but nothing this surreal. I'm not versed in street tagging, but this is fu**ed up. I also couldn't find anything remotely close to it on the web. Where to begin? Well first off, there's the Escher 'impossible object' triangles; why are they 'centered' on the dental exam? Why use dentist's hands and implements in the first place? The '70s hair model doesn't look like she's being tortured, or in any discomfort at all really.

So what is this trying to be - or say? And why did the other taggers leave it so pristine? Is 'BUB ChBUB the creator of this abomination? Seriously any ideas and/or wild guesses would be much appreciated.

Update: Today I got a much closer look at this. It's actually been plastered to the wall like an old time circus poster, and there's a signature of sorts, the 'XD' in the upper right hand corner. Unfortunately I couldn't find anything new about it though...

Purrdon Me, Sir

A t-shirt for sale in Maine. This could be forgiven in HK (almost) as the owner might not speak English well enough to get the pun (a term I use here in the technical sense only). But for a native speaker to wear this, even ironically, is the stuff of nightmares. That said, if you are going to have this on your shirt, having it spoken by a debonaire cat with a rakishly curled whisker mustache and sparkly tophat is better than nothing... actually it’s not.

beLIEve

A t-shirt for sale in SOGO. I honestly can’t decide if this is a fashion/chinglish disaster or an example of brilliant tongue-in-cheekiness. The jarring disconnect between the unicorn/rainbow motif (which would be worn unironically by your average HongKonger) and the tagline beLIEve is truly remarkable, especially by irony-blind HK standards. If it is intentional, then my opinion of at least one HK fashion designer has skyrocketed. If it isn’t, then it’s still a priceless example of unintentional, completely discombobulating irony at its finest...

Yes, Those ARE Bungie Cords

A huge recently taken down construction site billboard in Causeway Bay. Yes that really is a shredded bungie cord shawl. I have to give credit to whoever thought this one up though. It must be damned difficult to come up with any new or interesting fashion props for photoshoots, as just about very ‘normal’ idea has been beaten to death, resurrected, then beaten to death yet again. I will say that it has interesting color and texture, but they’re bungie cords. This one has to fall into ‘that’s not only silly, but probably really uncomfortable’ category. That thing must weigh 20 pounds. One bonus though - if that overly fierce looking model in need of a weapon, or is ever stuck out in the boonies and her bumper comes off, she’ll have an ample supply of bungies readily accessible...

Bloody Luxury Rides a Pale Horse

A marketing prop at Juicy Couture in Harbour City TST. I am perpetually amazed at the time, effort, and expense some stores put into their window displays and instore paraphenalia, but these guys are a cut above, and this item is a cut above their usual lifesize suit of pink armor. There are few things that make me want to buy some edgy fashion for the wife quite like a fuschia-maned horse with ‘bloody luxury’ spraypainted on its side and haunches. I wonder if I can buy a horsehide purse with this slogan emblazoned on it as well -maybe even rendered in actual horse blood? Ironic and edgy, dare I say juicily so...

Yes, Hip Sporty + Entertainment = 1+1ORE Diamond Hockey Skates

Yet another wall-sized fashionista billboard at the WTC building. Possibly a nod to the burgeoning Canadian population here. Seems Hip Sporty + Entertainment = 1+1ORE (MORE). And nothing says ‘hip sporty’ like diamond-studded inline skates, hockey stick and puck, flawlessly polished marble rink floors, and ‘50s throwback attire. At least I hope that’s marble; not sure if the local ad agency realizes that inline skates don’t particularly well on ice. Reminds me of ‘McKenzie’s Inline Hockey Palace’ in Toronto, before the infamous 1957 ‘inline vs. ice’ hockey riots...

Do You Wanna Dance with Me & My Mylar Tux?

An ad from Neway, a huge kareoke chain here. We just spent a surreal afternoon there for an impromptu going away party. The utterly bizarre and completely unrelated accompanying videos are worth the trip: the vintage 80’s hairstyle are amazing, and ‘New York New York’ featured footage of Amsterdam and the Southwest. Can’t imagine it’s hard to get footage of NYC, but I digress.

Anyway this billboard features one of the strangest tuxes I’ve ever seen - I’m guessing its paint-splattered Mylar, the same material in those silver florist balloons, but who knows? Maybe its especially space fabric designed to allow our heartthrob here to execute hyperkinetic ubermoves while crooning along with the latest cantopop schmaltz. The fabric cuts down the friction, but our hero runs a dangerous risk of collapsing from heat stroke, as the material mimics those shiny weight-loss suits on late night cable, and all that extra sweat pours down into his equally bizarre rainbow tinged reverse-winged shoes...

Bling Belt with Matching Bling Belt Fretboard Guitar

An ad from WTC in Causeway Bay. The developers have spared no expense in promoting their mall, from 3 story high billboards to exclusive fashion shoots. But they've really outdone themselves here. Presenting the ultimate matching accessory for a bling belt - an electric guitar with another bling encrusted belt fused onto the fretboard. A bit awkward to carry around all day, and obviously you can't play it, but as the saying goes, beauty knows no pain. Beauty also knows virtually nothing about actually playing guitar; one can imagine the shredded fingertips after a session with this monstrosity. Of course you'd have to string it first....

Age? So What!

A billboard in Causeway Bay, exhorting older women to defy their fear of aging by preying upon their fear of... aging. Initially I included this for the utterly baffling exclamation point. After all HK is saturated with such ads, invariably displaying a svelte 110 pound starlet who used to weigh a shocking 125. While this kind of marketing is hardly unique to HK, they do seem to take it a bit too far here. Take for example the featured image: what appears to be a defiant shot across the bow of decrepitude–look she's 45 and chewing bubble gum!–its actually a shot at 45 year old women, who will (gasp) look their age unless they utilize the latest miracle slimming and skin-rejuvenation treatments...

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lipolysis & Breast Ho Ching Magic Solution

One of the many slimming centres here in HK. Most offer the usual wraps or kneading machines. But for a mere $888 HKD (wow three 8s - so lucky! What a coincidence!) Perfect Shape Club unveils Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lipolysis™. Certainly sounds impressive; actually rather intimidating. Definitely don't want this kind of technology in the wrong hands. What if terrorists were able to remove your body fat from the outside? Well I suppose they wouldn't be very effective terrorists...





I couldn't find any additional explanations for the procedure, except that the 'shock wave type is electromagnetic'. But as usual the Cantonese website provided some other priceless translations. Seems Perfect Shape will be offering product stations at various local malls, where spokesmodels can be seen "...playing hula hoop and jump rope...

There'll also be "more on Breast Ho Ching magic solution." I wonder if they'll be applying that down at the mall? I'm sure they'd have a few male volunteers...

They use a patented 'Stovepipe approach' to slimness, with a 'banana diet can be used Lai!' 'The focus of this banana diet is breakfast any bananas from time restrictions, is that simple! ... a lot of Women with fat because of gastrointestinal or bad, Just think, food... (Wow. Just think, food... so zen).

And finally they 'will provide 6 large overeating obesity for overeating caused by large accumulation of fat induced obesity(?). And for the more stubborn cases, the promise that 'Miss Yip's [will lean into the] power cases...'

-40˚Freeze Dried Perfection

A rather brutal but effective new treatment from the beauty experts over at Fancl. Seems all you need to preserve that eternally youthful complexion is a blast of -40˚ C freeze dry (-40˚Fahrenheit as well, surprisingly enough). Of course there's a minor downside - your face becomes as fragile as those liquid nitrogen-dipped flowers they're always shattering in HD commercials. So yes your skin looks flawless, but don't smile - not even a self-satisfied smirk. As the saying goes, 'beauty knows no pain', but beauty never had to clean up freeze-dried cheek fragments...



A Little Too Original

From the Adidas Originals store in Causeway Bay, a billboard to 'celebrate originality' (of course one shouldn't be so original as to not purchase trendy adidas products, but I digress). Originality is all well and good, but making a cuddly hat out of an eviscerated teddy bear (note the stuffing strewn behind our hero) is moving beyond original into disturbing, perhaps even budding serial killer. Makes me wonder if that's just a wig in front of him, or something far more 'original'...

Enjoy The Game! (In Your Relaxing Bulletproof Vest)

An ad from one of the soccer sites I occasionally peruse. Seems for a mere $USD 69.95 you can get the '#1 personal protection body armour for the world cup 2010'. Nothing says 'sit back and relax' quite like the constant chafing presence of a bulky kevlar vest. You'll soon forget you're wearing it! No doubt you'll also soon forget to look behind you every 2.4 seconds for possible kidnappers, or check everyone's hands within 150 sq meters, or triangulating sniper positions, or vaguely bulging bags, or those suspicious (and admittedly damned annoying) plastic trumpets, or half drunk cups of beer placed 'accidentally' beside you.. just relax and enjoy the game!

More Style Today Than Yesterday

A small 'hallway' store in Causeway Bay. Interesting name, but judging by the empty hooks, I guess they didn't have much style yesterday either...

Hootchy Kootchy (Keep Your Socks On)

A pair of socks for sale at a stall in North Point. I hope this one is intentional, as its pretty cheeky (as sock names go anyway). Of course thats assuming you know what 'hootchie cootchie' means; in the US at least its dated slang for having sex, originally the name of a ribald faux belly dance craze in the late 1800s. Anyway it seems the good people at Wai Shun Socks Knitting Factory (Ltd) want you to have said sex with your socks on, which would obviously be great for business. According to their sales blurb online, these socks are 'ladies computerised patterned... unique designed socks with smooth and soft feeling... easy to match with various dress code'. I guess if your dress code consists of just socks, then yes they do match rather well...

M-XXXXXXL

A sign in Wanchai advertising the sizes available at a local fashion outlet. For those who've wondered where those unfortunate 1,000 pounders get their clothes, perhaps here's your answer. I've had to buy XXL here on occasion (the 'Asian XL', as they call it here, is actually between to a M and L in the US). So even assuming US sizes, if you weigh over 500 lbs. your sh*t out of luck. I think this signage may backfire though; can't imagine a plus-size clientele appreciate the ever-expanding size of the Xs...

The Largest Lifestyle Hypermall in Malaysian Borneo

From the Kota Kinabalu tourist map. Borneo is known for its orangutans and headhunters, but its the world famous 'lifestyle hypermalls' that really pack in the tourists. And this is the largest of them all, dwarfing the other 58 in the province. These hypermalls exist in at least 8 extra dimensions, allowing innocuous looking complexes like this to hold over 38,000 stores...

Denimholic

A Japanese fashion magazine(?) from HK airport. Apparently one can have too much exposure to high end jeans and skirts. Seems this poor soul is no exception, the unlikely but telling face of addiction. A tantalizing fabric indeed: so egalitarian yet elite, so casual yet couture, so cruel…

You see more and more of these forlorn beauties on the streets of Tokyo, their vulnerable anime eyes staring off into space, chewing their once immaculate manicures to the nub, in search of just one more hit of pricey denim…

Snuffaluffagus and/or Truffala Dress

A bus stop ad for ‘Entrepreneur’ magazine here in HK. Mostly in Cantonese so couldn’t read the cover girl’s name. Seems she likes to flaunt her hard-earned wealth by wearing dresses made of pink-dyed snuffaluffagus skins (though it looks a bit tatty for that - perhaps they screwed up the tanning process? Snuffaluffagus is notoriously delicate fur). Or is that truffula tree? Or scalps from those little troll pencils? Either way its obviously very expensive - and very entrepreneurial...