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Is the bandana back in style for Hongkongers?

Is it true what they say, that ban­danas are back in, and are we talking the common cotton kind or fancy brands?
Band Aid, Lantau

The Dictator rules: You may have heard bandanas were a street fashion hit this past summer, but in fashion terms that was a lifetime ago. Who are “they”, anyway? Cowboys? I assure you, they don’t get their bandanas from Paris. Since your district probably doesn’t have a local feed and supply store, head online to find the utilitarian cotton kerchiefs in the iconic paisley print. Amazon.com sells them by the dozen, by Kaiser, for only HK$69 in total! To get fancy (your words, not mine), visit Saint Laurent. The French label has played Americana for many seasons now, as seen in its chic bandana in cotton (HK$1,130) and luxe version in cash­mere and silk mix (HK$6,900). Balenciaga’s silk ban­dana (HK$3,500) is made in Italy and has a hand-rolled hem. For a unique piece, check out Los Angeles-based designer Chan Luu’s current collection, which includes a lightweight voile interpretation of the classic paisley bandana (HK$215; netaporter.com). J Crew offers numerous designs in cotton (HK$150 each), plus a vintage-inspired indigo or brown cotton version from the Wallace Barnes men’s line (HK$180). It’s like playing dress up. Roll and tie it around your neck like a cowgirl, wrap it around your head like a hippy (or gang member), or let it hang from your neck like a bandit (or, sorry, a border collie). Anti-snobbist snobs tie them onto handbags in lieu of an Hermès scarf. For more ideas, pick up The Bandanna Book: 103 Uses to Express the Inner You (amazon.com).

Remember when bags were made with lines of stitching as a sort of decoration? I’d like to go back to those times and find a bag I actually like! Everything I see is too plain and simple.
Stitch in Time, Tai Tam

The Dictator: Remember a time when you actually made any sense? There is no way for me to know which era or style you mean. Let’s assume it is the 1970s, when hand-tooled leather handbags were de rigueur and many featured whip-stitched details. That is, prominently visible overcast stitches to connect two separate pieces or finish an edge. Not incidentally, also used on crochet of the era. So, go back to those times and stay there, won’t you? Relax. I simply mean you could buy vintage handbags from websites such as 1stdibs.com, where you can find vintage boho bags for as little as HK$1,940. Back in 2016, make Tod’s your first stop at the mall, where several bags (and shoes) feature exaggerated stitched elements in contrast colours this season. You are bound to fall in love with its new Wave tote bags featuring horizontal and vertical leather stitches alongside X-shaped cross stitches (HK$17,500 to HK$20,700). Another fashion house using whip stitches this season is Proenza Schouler, whose famous PS1 satchel now comes in black with dark orange stitch details along the handles, straps and edges (HK$14,500). We’re also charmed by the wide selection of colourful, whip-stitched shoulder, tote and bucket bags at milly.com (HK$2,289). Then, of course, Chloé has been riffing off the 70s for years, including its fabulous handbag range. You’ll find whip-stitching on such modern classics as its retro Hudson shoulder bag (HK$14,790 and up) and the Marcie tote (HK$17,240 and up).

Got a question for the Dictator? Email her with your name, or alias, and address at: dictator@scmp.com