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World Boutique

Updated: 2012-09-17 15:53
By Rebecca Lo ( China Daily)
World Boutique

Clockwise from right: Lucas Nascimento's fall 2012 collection includes solid bold colors of cobalt and apple green; Victoria Beckham's denim jeans are popular among customers; Raquel Allegra's fall collection covers leather and textured knits for trousers, jackets, pencil skirts and tops; Fannie Leung (left) and Wing Tse along with a few other partners opened Russell Street two years ago. Photos provided to China Daily

Shop the globe's cutting edge hand picked designer fashions while discovering fun color and texture combinations among Russell Street's fall collectibles. Rebecca Lo indulges.

I have just finished lunching with my friend Jan in Hong Kong's Soho when she suggests that we go for a stroll. She was looking for a pair of jeans and, like many women, found it difficult to find flattering ones. I proposed that we check out Russell Street on Aberdeen, just a short walk away. As soon as we walk in, Jan is immediately captivated by a purple leather clutch and forgets all about her pursuit of denim until I point out some salmon-colored Victoria Beckham skinny jeans.

She looked at them dubiously - "Are you sure? These look awfully skinny to me," Jan says, about to put them back on the rack.

"Try them on," I urge, knowing that despite Posh's teeny frame, her rainbow hued jeans actually look great on many women as they smooth out rough patches while flaunting curves.

Despite her hesitation, Jan takes a pair into the fitting room along with an animal-print string bikini that cheekily features a leopard on the rear. She emerges minutes later and we both admit that I was right. The jeans make her look two sizes smaller and elongate her already long legs.

Russell Street is that kind of shop, where part of the fun is sharing one of a kind treasure with good friends. The wild patterns and unusual combinations of materials and colors by young international designers are insider fashion secrets that women closely guard.

It's a little like finding out that the entire shop is like a fashion forward girlfriend's personal walk-in closet - and that everything can be also yours.

Fannie Leung and Wing Tse along with a few other partners opened Russell Street originally on Russell Street in Causeway Bay two years ago.

Since then, they have quickly expanded to two other shops in Central and Wanchai, though the original shop has closed. Their merchandise is predominantly women's apparel, alongside select handbags, shoes and jewelry.

They both have extensive buying experience and love shopping for a hobby. Every trip abroad involves scouring out-of-the-way markets and dusty vintage shops in small alleys across Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific, looking for that perfect item or undiscovered designer that they just have to introduce to Hong Kong customers.

"We are a group of friends who have been in the fashion industry a long time and we are very familiar with designer brands," says Leung. "There are a lot of chain stores in Hong Kong. Our knowledge is primarily up-and-coming designers and our collections tend to be on the casual side, though about 20 percent is luxurious high-end brands.

"Though our customers range from teenagers to a few older women, the bulk of them are in their 30s and 40s who may be business owners or senior executives. They don't need to wear a suit to work and like mixing and matching, and many drop by our shop while out at meetings or already shopping."

"Victoria Beckham's jeans - lots of Hong Kong women love them," Leung notes. "We have to keep re-ordering more since people will buy three or four pairs at once, all in different colors."

Another London-based designer available at Russell Street is Tata Naka, the fashion moniker of Georgian born identical twins Tamara and Natasha Surguladze. The Central Saint Martins graduates have won The British Fashion Council's New Generation Awards at London Fashion Week three consecutive times.

This fall, Tata Naka's playful digital prints and geometric patterns take a walk on the wild side, with saturated colors reminiscent of Gauguin paintings and unusual collar detailing for dresses and separates.

California girl Raquel Allegra offers a modern take on romance, a style that she honed while working at Barneys Beverly Hills.

This fall, her neutral palette of warm taupe, gray and chalk come in tie-dyed patterns and contrasting materials such as leather and textured knits for trousers, jackets, pencil skirts and tops.

Lucas Nascimento boasts a degree in fashion design for knitwear from London College of Fashion and set up his own label in 2009 after consulting for a number of high-end brands.

His fall 2012 collection includes solid bold colors of cobalt and apple green for separates such as oversized sweaters, fitted vests and slender Capri pants.

Italian brand Cote features designs by Tomaso Anfonsi and Francesco Ferrari, both graduates of Milan's prestigious Istituto Marangoni.

World Boutique

The name of their company means to shelter, and their clothes made by Italian artisans offer fine tailoring that incorporates the theme of protection into the design. Blousy dresses, separates in blocks of orange and aqua, and sophisticated silhouettes make for fashions that can go straight from the office to drinks and dinner.

Clover Canyon is Los Angeles designer Rozae Nichols' label and her homage to the California landscape can be seen in her relaxed prints, marrow edged leather, extensive hand finishing and fused rubber seaming. This fall, paisley and floral printed dresses, tops and Capri pants offer slim silhouettes with a young, flirty vibe.

Leung and Tse have also found a smattering of vintage Chanel jewelry from European antique shops that is available upon request. These include clip on earrings, brooches and pendants - all bearing Chanel's trademark double C in patterns that are retro yet maintain an elegant aesthetic.

In the end, Jan decided to mull over the jeans and instead bought a cowl neck blue and green Rolando Santana dress - exactly the same one that I purchased, though we have very different body types.

The great thing about sharing a wardrobe from Russell Street is that you don't have to return the beloved item to your friend.