Two years ago, I was most definitely utterly clueless about the Hong Kong fashion scene and struggled to name my favourite Hong Kong designers when pressed. Two years on and I'm still none the wiser. Except that I've got Hilary Tsui (Hong Kong celebrity, local style icon and generally a lovely person) to thank for keeping me somewhat clued in with her Tumblr blog of her outfits and Hong Kong fashion events. Her outfit credits are actually worth researching because they consist of local HK and international indie labels that are aren't necessarily widely stocked.
That's how Hilary's store (co-owned with her equally stylish friend Dorothy Hui) Liger came into the picture. I was duly impressed when I first encountered the store two years ago, as it was a breath of fresh air in the sea of Hong Kong's monotonous fashion retail scene. Liger is on the precipice of expansion as the Causeway Bay has been joined by an additional Tsim Tsa Tsui location (it's currently in Silvercord now but will be moving to Woodhouse mall in June) and has also just done a pop-up project with Lane Crawford. Even as I compare a store like Liger to London's own dwindling independent retail scene, I feel a hint of sadness as recent closure casualties include Beyond the Valley, My Sugarland, Machine-A and going further back, Pineal Eye. Instead, the more conventional contemporary store selections that consist of the likes of Carven, Alexander Wang, Equipment etc. seem to be flourishing because market dictates them as bestsellers. Not that there's anything wrong with those brands nor am I'm immune to their charms, but I'd still like to see a little bit more diversity in London bricks and mortar stores. Just a five minute whizz through Liger's store yielded a few outfits consisting of labels that I didn't even know existed, let alone find in London. Seeing as I'd already talked up the store before, I thoughd I'd share a few current S/S 12 finds that Liger is offering up…
Alibellus white ruffled zip-up dress, Jennifer Behr neon veiled headband – Alibellus is a new fashion label designed by stylist Titi Kwan, who works with Hong Kong superstar singer Faye Wong. S/S 12 was his debut season and he has gone for a cleancut minimal style with the exception of this ruffled zip-up dress that made me feel like a bunny in the best possible way. Hilary has a knack for going for the least "ladylike" pieces from a collection and that's certainly the case with this Jennifer Behr headband, a world apart from Behr's usual Gossip Girl-style offerings.
RDM by Rue du Mail lattice sleeved top, P.A.M. wrapover skirt – I didn't even know Rue du Mail had a diffusion line and yes, this did make me feel like a doofus. I get the feeling it's only properly distributed in Asia, as with some of the lines by big fashion houses (Lanvin Bleu, anyone?). I love the neoprene lattice work on this top which also features as a peplum in the rest of the collection. I can't sing my praises about P.A.M. – I don't encounter it enough in real life but I always manage to find something that tickles my fancy. There's something about the "streetwear" influence or the non-preciousness about the label that is extremely appealing.
Makchunting dress – I don't know too much about this label other than it's a Hong Kong designer who I believe is still studying in Paris so this is essentially a fledgling brand, solely stocked by Liger.
Swash silk printed vest, Vladamir Karaleev silver foil skirt – It's always a joy to see Swash pieces. I'll try and accost Toshio Yamanaka (one half of Swash who does all the illustrations for the label) and get him to show me his sketchbooks because I just think his watercolour skills are stupendous. Vladamiir Karaleev was another newbie name for me. Born in Bulgaria but based in Berlin, he designs women and menswear based on innovative and geometric cutting. I was half tempted by his bacofoil skirt but scroll down and you'll see the other strange skirt that caught my attention…
Reality Studio blue draped top, Two Weeks by Bitching & Junkfood clear PVC skater skirt, Bitching & Junkfood sequinned pencil skirt – My most layered outfit of the day included not one but two skirts by Bitching & Junkfood, albeit from two separate lines, both based on their upcycling philosophy. No prizes for guessing which skirt is coming back to London with me. I look forward to making squeaky noises with my PVC peplum/skater skirt, thank you very much.
I had to also snap Hilary, who as always does her utmost to represent what the Liger mix is all about, wearing a Vladamir Karaleev jacket and skirt, a Forget me Not printed top, Maryam Keyhani necklace and Acne shoes. It's interesting to hear that HK people are also hugely receptive to Hilary's buying selection with many pieces getting snapped up immediately as soon as they hit the shop floor which only makes me wonder why the same buying risks can't be taken in London, a city that's supposedly more progressive fashion-wise.