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The beautiful Hong Kong skylight from the HK Convention Center.

The beautiful Hong Kong skylight from the HK Convention Center.

For all their reputation as the ‘sophisticated’ ones in Greater China, I wasn’t too impressed with the sartorial choices of the Hong Kong crowds (here) but I did notice a subtle shift in the Chinese market in general that is a bit removed from Fashion per s. The changes are visible in Hong Kong and I feel that they are spreading into Mainland via Shanghai’s most luxurious new fashion boutiques.

Where art mixes with fashion, the headquarters of Lane Crawford

Where art mixes with fashion, the headquarters of Lane Crawford

For the first time, the focus is moving a bit from what is outside to what is inside. From what can be seen by all to what will be seen by only few. Fashion vs. Interior Design.

Home. Sweet Home.

Lane Crawford

Not once or twice but four times did I see in Hong Kong painted stacks of books. Here, an art piece from American artist’s Mike Stilkey at Lane Crawford’s Aberdeen HQ. A very good excuse NOT to crack a book open.

In the few years I have been in China, I have yet to see the inside of someone’s house (that is not a foreigner). I am not the only one. Sharing one’s private home with friends or colleagues is not part of the Chinese culture. Chinese people seldom open their home outside of their immediate family. This is why hotels and luxury restaurants have so many private rooms, given a choice, most people here will prefer entertaining in the relative privacy of a public place rather than in their own home.

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Houses are private, very private and if vintage is starting to be recognized slowly as a stylish option, old furniture are not yet fully acceptable. People with money will choose to throw the old to make room for the new any day. This is valid for real estate as it is with Chanel bags. They love traditions and of course things are that are according to old values and principles but they prefer the smell of new over used anytime. It’s not even a matter of “new” money vs. “old” money since virtually no one here had any coins forty years ago. The most important commodity in China is power. Of course, another explanation could be that since the Chinese government crack-down on corruption, it is obsolete and dangerous to give or receive expensive gifts, so spending at home discreetly seems like the logical next step.

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I discovered recently the rise and rise of vintage, (http://wp.me/p2rJ3x-T8) and then in Hong Kong last week pushing doors after doors in industrial areas all over the “fashion area” of Aberdeen, I was also surprised to discover the emergence of “Shabby Chic” so dear to hipsters and bobos everywhere.

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Lane Crawford, known purveyor of finer goods for the Chinese affluent market both in Hong Kong and mainland, is definitely mixing Art and Fashion at their headquarters. It gives the place a feeling of gallery rather than the fashion empire it is.

A very cool water sculpture at the Lane Crawford HQ with a view over Aberdeen and Ocean Park.

A very cool water sculpture at the Lane Crawford HQ with a view over Aberdeen and Ocean Park.

Also in the Aberdeen area, a dilapidated neighborhood that reminded me of New York’s Seventh Avenue, Editus, a cool new showroom sells a cool selection of vintage cutting boards, glasses, telephones, armchairs or grocer scales… Between Cire Trudon and some designer collections. The new thing in this showroom that would not be out of place in Le Marais or LA was that the selection was not aimed at my colleagues or me but truly at the Chinese market. This is all very new.

Hong Kong

Lane Crawford, a client of Editus and its in-house deli “Butchers” is now capitalizing on the trend in their ‘Lifestyle’ stores with some more “lived-in-too-cool-for-school” alternative selection. China is getting on the ‘interior decorating’ game and it is doing it via a few select addresses.Butchers Club Deli

The Butchers Club Deli that is part of Ed1tus.

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ED1TUS Showroom:16/F, Shui Ki Industrial Building
18 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen

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La Belle Ferroniere sur une des façades de l’hôtel JPlus by Soo dans Causeway. Unexpected Da Vinci in Hong Kong Causeway.

High Fashion and tin mugs at 10 Corso Como Shanghai.

High Fashion and tin mugs at 10 Corso Como Shanghai.

In Shanghai, 10 Corso Como is also changing the expectations of a luxury boutique in China. 10 Corso Como is hailed since 1991 by the fashion pack as one of the coolest address in the world. In Milan the store offers consistently a selection of the very best fashion designers, books, accessories and art all established or emerging carefully curated and sold at the eponymous address. Recently opened in Shanghai, the store is seemingly betting on the emerging Interior Decorating interests of the Chinese elite shoppers.

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Fornasetti’s boxset presented at 10 Corso Como.

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Most fashion boutiques in China present their menswear on the ground floor alongside the women wear. The reasoning is that Men buy more but Women get in the door first. Simple logic. Yet 10 Corso Como presents mostly Lifestyle objects on its ground floor. Loads of luxury candles, some cool children books, kitchen aid, and colorful mugs in ceramics, imported coffee table books, painted jewelry boxes… All the civilized knick knacks that tell our friends that we have taste!

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10 Corso Como Shanghai: 1717 Hui De Feng International Square , Nanjing Xi Lu

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Maria Luisa is also new to Shanghai and her take is more fashion focused, yet, and that is also new, the selection of designers is very sharp, very selective and beautiful, representing the very best of the international catwalks coming to China. Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders, Linda Farrow,

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Maria Luisa Shanghai in Xin Tian Di Area.

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Maria Luisa legendary parisian style is arriving in China.

Maria Luisa legendary parisian style is arriving in China.

Maria Luisa is opening in Beijing in July 2014.

In Beijing, the only ‘concept-store’ that mixed Art, Design and Fashion was the now closed “WuHao”. After getting kicked out by the government of their lofty hutong location on Mao Er, Wu Hao is temporarily re-born as a Pop-Up Store in the Four Seasons Hôtel from today until the 28th of May. This is a new exciting direction for retail in China.

Audrey on the chic walls of über-trendy Bibo in Hong Kong.

Audrey on the chic walls of über-trendy Bibo in Hong Kong.

China is definitely moving on the cutting-edge Interior design game, one super chic light fixture at a time… To be continued.

Luxury candles Trudon at Ed1tus.

Luxury candles Trudon at Ed1tus.

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