Members of the press corps are used to receiving exuberant gifts from jeweller Van Cleef & Arpels, which is known for sending out the most lavish floral arrangements. But when the maison launched L’Ecole Van Cleef & Arpels, a two-week pop-up school of jewellery masterclasses, it sent out these nifty director’s chairs personalised with each journalist’s name on back.
When we met celebrity dermatologist Dr Barbara Sturm for lunch on her visit to Hong Kong, we became intrigued and addicted to the doc’s products (she’s got an all-purpose mask she invented with bestie Cher at home, and is best known as the inventor of the Hollywood sensation Vampire facial). Most of her goodies are available on Net-a-Porter.com, but due to health regulations her Skin Food supplement can’t be shipped out here – luckily, Sturm had some stash on her, and she promptly poured a generous amount of contraband stash into a lunch napkin for us to take home.
Almost every brand you’ve heard of will send out lai see packets ahead of Chinese New Year, and it’s an unofficial competition to see who does the best set. Last year, to celebrate the year of the rooster, our favourites were Dolce & Gabbana‘s, which featured cartoon versions of the designer duo in various rooster-filled situations, officially putting the chic in chickens.
Many, if not most, press gifts employ a colossal waste of packaging material, from excessive use of tissue paper to expensive leather boxes specially commissioned to house just a single beauty product. When secondhand retailer The Hula sent over a relatively modest paper bag containing one almost rotten banana and a T-shirt, we were perplexed, until we read the text on the tee: Banana expires. Gabbana lasts. Another package contained a box of Coco Pops with a T-shirt reading: Coco Pops expire. Coco Chanel lasts. We put on the tees, poured some milk over the cereal, and cut the banana into the bowl. We’re sustainable like that.
Beauty events are always a good time, and one of our favourites this year was when Fresh Beauty celebrated the launch of its Vitamin Nectar Moisture Glow Face Cream with a fun workshop at Green House in Times Square. Besides hosting a session in which bloggers and journos made a mean little salad dressing from miso and citrus fruits, the brand also custom-built a fruit and vegetable market, inviting attendees to grab a market bag and stuff it to the brim with brightly coloured produce.
A man can only consume so many mooncakes, and mooncake ennui is definitely an issue come Mid-Autumn festival. The exclusive and elusive Spring Moon mooncakes are always a hit, but nothing beat Fendi‘s mooncake box, which doubled as a projector to play movies from your iPhone.
When brands began to monogram gifts from press it was a double-edged sword: yes, the personalised touch was great, but it also rendered it impossible to execute a regift … that, of course, was moot when we headed to Florence with Gucci for its cruise 2018 show earlier this year. Nobody’s getting near the cool-kid cap we got!
Right before Black Sheep Restaurants announced the opening of New Punjab Club, the restaurant group (and our upstairs neighbours) dropped us a line about a “small but perishable gift” they had for the office. Perishable it was, but small – most certainly not. A big box of mangoes made it into the office, from Black Sheep founder Asim Hussain’s family orchard in Pakistan. The mangoes didn’t last five minutes before disappearing into bags and bellies. Then again, not much food is left languishing in the Prestige office… In fact, we had to steal this shot from here because we ate them before we could take a photo.
The collaboration of the year didn’t come from H&M, though the fast-fashion retailer does a mean job annually of finding luxury brands with which to partner up. The surprise hit of 2017 was when Rihanna hooked up with high jeweller Chopard for a kick-ass collection of bling both edgy and expensive – and this Christmas we got a little hit of it in these custom-designed speakers in the shape of a microphone head.