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A discreet new trend is emerging in China’s street. This is not immediately obvious, it is not a wind followed by everyone but it is definitely getting traction. That trend so obvious in all the right places is the RETURN OF THE PAST. The emergence of Vintage in China. The Cultural revolution erased all western influences for decades so China missed of course the cultural and fashion influences of the 80’s and most of the 90’s. The cool young people in China today do not have our cultural references and for this young fashionable crowd, vintage clothing or accessories are actually quite NEW. The other desirable aspect of the « gently loved second hand » fashion is that vintage is a promise of authenticity in a country where new desirable trends can (and will be) be knocked off in minutes after their first outing in Paris or New York’s catwalks.


Some faux are too fun to pass  these pseudo Lego-Chanel I found in Beijing streets for… 10 euros each. Irresistible buys when the originals are selling for over €6000.

Karen Leung, today’s Belle du Jour, is the owner and buyer of the off-the-beaten path « HOUSE OF WILLOW ». Her boutique in Sanlitun is tucked away right behind the fashionable hub of Taikooli North there Lanvin, Miu Miu, MMM, Louboutin Givenchy, Versace or Balmain compete to attract Beijing’s rich customers. She was walking by in a tiny street and when I took a look at her incredible bag, I immediately jumped off my bike and asked her to pose for me. She kindly obliged.


Australian born, Karen shops all over the world for Vintage couture that she restores and introduce to her most discerning clientele from her boutique. Her glass cabinets are delicately presenting the jewels and accessories from Hermes, Chanel, Dior or Paloma Picasso that she selected from auction houses or yard sales all over London, Paris or Sydney. Of course, some of the best will end up part of her personal collection, like this Chanel vanity. This amazingly chic box was probably from the mid-80s or early 90s, basically when Karl was busy cleaning the dust off at Chanel and creating so many fun and different bags… Looking past her bag, i noticed that the elegant and understated Karen was actually covered in Vintage Chanel that she expertly mixed with her own design.

The beautiful neckace, the earrings, her pin. These heavy baroque pieces were perfectly balanced with the most simple makeup and her beautiful smile.

Just perfection. Belle du Jour.

Vintage Chanel pin circa 1990. A treasure from her Sanlitun vintage boutique « HOUSE OF WILLOW »

What to wear when you want to be unique? Vintage couture of course. This is something I am also hearing in « trend of the minute » fashionable Hong Kong. The most ‘pointu’ hip fashionable crowd is also looking back. I have heard chinese whispers of Hong Kong’s trendy Mong Kok shops being in the thick of a Vintage revolution. I will look this afternoon. Shasha Han, one of my favorite Beijinger, and certainly one of the most fashionable one, was also sporting Chanel Vintage at the Little Black Jacket event last June…

I could die…

House of Willow is in Sanlitun North behind Taikooli…. amazing.

Thank you Karen

A bientôt



 HOUSE OF WILLOW: North of Sanlitun Village North (opposite car park entrance), Chaoyang District (6416 2786, 186 1813 2506) www.houseofwillow.com