Where I’m from, around this time of year I’d be starting to think about wearing my favourite leather pants again. It’s still too hot in Hong Kong, so I thought maybe black leather shorts to get my fix without overheating?
Shorts Story, SoHo
The Dictator rules: How perspicacious. We just shorten everything to make it suit our climate. That’s why you see so many women with shaved heads walking around Hong Kong in crop tops, hot pants, boleros and ankle boots. I am, of course, being sarcastic. Rest assured, leather trousers are most definitely back on the racks and on the streets. Leather shorts are an entirely different matter but, amazingly, you’ve stumbled on to another fashion-approved item. However, although celebs wear them, have an honest look in the mirror before you do. The difference? They get paid for looking good. To look current, go for a pair with volume. Chanel’s are super-short and pleated in black grained deer leather (HK$33,500). Coach has a fab pleated pair in ultra-soft lambskin (HK$4,965). Believe it or not, elasticated waists are also de rigueur, as on the faux leather number by Forever 21 (HK$99 to HK$169). Stella McCartney doesn’t use animals, of course, but she has created quilted, padded faux black leather shorts for a bit of sporty chic (HK$4,690). Other designers went for a slim silhouette, such as Saint Laurent’s high-waisted lambskin shorts (HK$19,105); or RtA’s pair with cuffed hems (HK$4,615; www.fwrd.com). Zadig Voltaire, ever the cool kids, have kept their flat-front leather shorts, well, short and sweet but toughened up with studs along the pockets (HK$4,100). How you style them is crucial. Think: layer, not leather queen.
I have a favourite old top that has finally given up the ghost. I’ve worn it more times than I can count, but I still don’t know what to call the design. There is a sort of twisted knot at the front, but it is also part of the whole piece, like magic! Do you know where I can find something like that?
In a Twist, Stanley
The Dictator: Yes, and do you know why I’m not shouting at you? Because I know regular readers are doing it for me. You live in Hong Kong. Get yourself to a tailor already. (OK, maybe I raised my voice just a little bit there.) You could have pieces like this reproduced in multiple colours and fabrics. As if you needed a more authoritative voice than mine to approve the style, Maison Margiela has cut the “magic” you like into several tops and dresses. The tops include a cap-sleeved blouse in black or maroon silk crepe de chine (HK$6,899) and a more casual black cotton jersey T-shirt (HK$4,799). I wish there were a fancy term I could trot out for the tailoring technique, preferably named after a glamorous historical figure, but most retailers plainly refer to it as a twist front, twist knot or twist effect. Margiela’s description refers to a knotted neckline with draped detailing. On the subject of tees, T by Alexander Wang has made cute, cropped ones in white, grey or black, where the twisted knot is placed just above the belly button (HK$1,400). The fabulously stylish and affordable Cos offers a short-sleeved dress (which could double as a long tee) in superfine coral red or navy cotton with a twisted, or draped as they call it, neckline (HK$550). See also: Derek Lam 10 Crosby, Narciso Rodriguez, and, sorry, but all the maternity brands. (At least you know they’ll help to hide a spare tyre.)