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SEEING THE FUTURE: The British Fashion Council brought its London Show Rooms project to Hong Kong, showcasing nine British designers at The Space, a gallery and events space located in the city’s Sheung Wan district. Monday’s lunchtime meet and greet, which was sponsored by Li & Fung, was packed with jet-lagged designers, many of whom arrived only a day or two ago. Designer Todd Lynn said he spent most of the previous day visiting stores in Hong Kong with retailer I.T., then stopped by Ozone, a bar on the 118th floor of the new Ritz-Carlton hotel.
Designers expressed their excitement at China’s burgeoning consumer market. “It’s the future, isn’t it? When people dress up they really dress up,” said Nicholas Kirkwood. “It’s amazing,” said designer Peter Pilotto, who also dropped by Ozone. Some designers noted greater creative freedom in the region. “In Europe and the U.S., there’s a legacy to how men dress. Here, there’s more freedom to dress in interesting ways,” said Patrick Grant, designer for Savile Row men’s wear maker E. Tautz. Grant, who said he stayed up until 7 a.m. enjoying the city’s Halloween festivities, looked none the worse for wear and recalled his last trip to Hong Kong, 12 years ago before the hand over, when he was working as an engineer. That trip, a tad less stylish than this one, included a visit to Shenzhen power lines and substations.
Also present at the event were designers Marios Schwab, Mary Katrantzou and Roksanda Ilincic. The London Show Rooms project is in Hong Kong through Tuesday. Caroline Rush, chief executive officer of the British Fashion Council, said she intends to bring the event again to Hong Kong next year. She’s headed to Beijing and Shanghai next.