The Harileila mansion in Kowloon Tong has a library in which, among the tomes and first editions of collectible books, can be found a photo album of Hong Kong’s social scene like no other. Private parties held within the residence have hosted notable names down the years: the Gandhis, heads of state, Chris Patten, Diana Ross, captains of industry, Bollywood stars, designers, the Lacma contingent …
…and now, adding to those illustrious chapters, the ignoble machinations of Currychella, a “lol”-tastic costume soirée attended by many of Hong Kong’s second gen-ers, courted by promises of spicy delectables. Currying favour, perhaps?
Says Nadia Harilela, “The term ‘Currychella’ was initially coined by Justin Ng back in April when we had a small dinner at home. Then Cazz [Caroline Li] wanted to try Indian food at mine, so we had a group of about 10 of us at a sit-down dinner and it coincided with Coachella weekend in the States. Justin aptly named the dinner Currychella as a joke! It just stuck.”
What started off as a simple dinner escalated to a full-on event worth repeating. “Our friends had so much fun at that first dinner in April, we started inviting our friends back and then more names tagged along! With Kevin Ching and Bertram Weatherall on board, the roster kept growing. Next thing you know, Currychella was born.”
The most recent event, held in December, kicked off with cocktails in the garden, sizzling samosas, an outdoor bar manned by Captain Greggles [Greg McNamara] in full Indian gear and a professional turban maker hired for the night. As the clock struck the dining hour, all were herded to the formal, sit-down dinner in the Mogul Room. The surprise post-dessert was the arrival of DJ Subcoat, who set up decks by the pool, whereupon much dancing – let’s call it that – ensued.
Best dressed that night – by consensus – was Kyara Harilela. The youngling found an old sari and remade it into high-waisted sequinned pant-and-top ensemble, pinning a shawl for a modern take on festival style meets Indian heritage.
Clicking his way throughout the night, a spirited Ng says, “I started experimenting with disposable cameras at my birthday party … I guess we can trace this back to when I was the photo editor of my high school newspaper (The Phillipian of Phillips Academy, Massachusetts) – back then everything was on film. And admittedly I was also inspired by Kim Kardashian’s Instagram feed.” [Insert rolling-eye emoji here.]
Ng plans to pursue his passion for photography, “For sure, I’m going to shoot more. I recently took a bunch of photos at the APA Ball. Stay tuned for more!”
As we examine the reels of images, Nadia says, “I loved looking back on this. Each person I spoke to afterwards had the best time, and that’s what made it for us. People ate well, drank well and danced well. There were no leftovers!”
Pray tell, will there be Currychella 2018?