Postcard From Hong Kong: 48 Hours With Rare Vintage’s Juliana Cairone
Rare Vintage owner Juliana Cairone (pictured) recently jetted off to Hong Kong to curate an exhibition for Lane Crawford’s flagship. Below, she reports on her first visit to the city, the best head massage worldwide, and the pains of wearing a cool few million on your neck.
48 hours in Hong Kong, 32 hours on the plane. But business class on Cathay Pacific eases that pain and gives me a good chance to catch up on films, like The Informant! with Matt Damon (loved his Michael Moore-sounding voiceover) and An Education, which is brilliant! So nice to see a film where the female lead is smart, funny, and engaging. There are too few smart roles for women in Hollywood. And now Carey Mulligan is a multi-nominee!
I wake up in the morning at the “old” Mandarin Oriental Hotel, and I rush for a shampoo and blow-dry at the salon. I could have stayed there all day! It is the best head massage I have ever had, and between that and the jet-lag, I am so relaxed I can’t think how I’m supposed to focus on my interviews at Lane Crawford for The New Vintage exhibit I am curating at their flagship store. But when I arrive, I am really happy to see couture pieces from Rare Vintage mixed with jewelry from Vera Wang, Erickson Beamon, Miriam Haskell, and a new favorite, Shourouk. It made the couture pieces from the 1950′s through the 1990′s look edgy and modern, which is exactly my philosophy on how vintage should be worn.
And what do I learn today at Lane Crawford? That I could never be a celebrity. My lips actually quiver by the end of the day after so many interviews with the Hong Kong press and posing for photographers. I have a newfound respect for and awe of actors on press junkets.
I rush back to the Mandarin in time to change for the New Vintage cocktail party. I’m longing to sneak up to the salon for an Imperial Jade Ritual, but it’s back to Lane Crawford, where I am introduced to a wonderful group of people from Hong Kong, Australia, England, and India. It seems that everyone has lived somewhere else but is always returning to Hong Kong. I meet Shirley Hiranand and Reyna Hariela, the two glamorous sisters behind the PR firm Bonvivant & Bellavita; Kim Robinson, the famed hair stylist; Audrey Chiu; and Marisa Zeman. I meet a woman who has never worn costume jewelry before and says: “It is not very relaxing going about anymore with two million dollars’ worth of jewelry around your neck.” I nod in sympathy.
Sunday is spent in the platinum suite with views of Victoria Harbor and meeting new clients. I go back to my hotel for the best wonton soup I have ever had and to pack. Since I have seen so little of Hong Kong on this first visit, I decide to go out and hop on the double-decker “ding ding” tram that takes me across the center of Hong Kong (below left)—for 25 cents! The city at night is completely lit up, decorated for the Chinese New Year, and looks slightly like the opening scene in Blade Runner.
Early the next morning, I leave for the airport, driving past the harbor and the mountains in the rain. I discover that my driver takes Queen Elizabeth to buy shoes when she is in Hong Kong and that she wears a size 41! Who knew?
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- editor matthew schneier covers all the news in style, from high street to high fashion, with dispatches from new york, l.a., london, paris, milan, tokyo, beijing, and more