FANCY slipping into a smart little black dress worn just once by Veronica Yip Yuk-hing, or a Leon Lai Ming turtleneck with the still-lingering scent of the great man's cologne? Well, now's your chance. Faced with Hong Kong's excellent impersonation of a recession, many are turning to classy second-hand clothing stores for their sartorial needs. There have long been knock-off shops, and even second-hand ball-gown shops, around town but now punters have the chance to browse through a celebrity second-hand store.
The In Place shop in Pearl and Jade Theatre Plaza is fast growing in popularity with local stars who want to off-load a once-worn item of clothing and get a little pocket money out of the deal.
The prices are certainly tempting: a $20,000 Chanel suit for less than 20 per cent of the original price, a hand-made antique evening gown for $2,200, or last year's Montana one-piece in the same price range. The cheapest item on offer could be a handmade Chinese top from Yunnan for $120 while the most expensive item is a 1930 Patek Phillipe ladies watch for $60,000.
But the real hook is the 'star quality', as owner Tina Kwan explains. 'Since they are public figures, rich tai-tais or movie stars usually don't wear the same designer dress twice. So instead of letting them lie feeding moths in their wardrobe and taking up space, they can now bring them to us and tell us what they want for each piece. Everyone remains anonymous, but a really keen observer might be able to tell from the social pages who has worn what and where.
'Sometimes they even bring in designer dresses that have never been worn - you know, they changed their minds after they bought them.' Kwan says her clients are professionals, from lawyers to business executives who sometimes spend up to $20,000 on the basis that the fruits of their shopping would otherwise have cost five times the amount.
The last time Go shopped there, we bumped into controversial talk-show host Pamela Pak Wan-kam who was off-loading some of her extensive wardrobe. 'This is an environmentally friendly dumping ground for designer fashion, so everyone benefits,' she said.