Haute Couture

True tai-tais put their money where their whims are

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 November, 2007, 12:00am

How do you tell a bona fide tai-tai from a wannabe? It all comes down to spending power. With a haute couture display and a store opening, the Italian designer Valentino's do at the Landmark atrium on Monday had the society ladies out and about. As usual, some socialites were just there to see and be seen. Others aimed to shop til' they dropped.

Case in point: tabloid favourite Michelle Reis arrived in a sponsored pink Valentino - meaning the brand provided the dress in return for her appearance - eager to generate publicity for herself. Reis hasn't actually acted in about three years, so whatever attention she's received recently has all been about her flings with tycoons and rich playboys, the latest being rumours of an engagement with shipping heir Julian Hui Chun-hang.

'You guys keep asking me but I can't give you an answer,' Reis teased the press. 'Of course, I have my idea of a dream wedding but at present I don't see it happening yet. I know [Valentino] is retiring but I don't think I need to rush into marriage just to get a couture wedding gown from him.' In other words, she's waiting for someone to buy her Valentinos. In contrast, Stanley Ho Hung-sun's fourth wife, Angela Leong On-kei (pictured), had no time for chit-chat. 'I came to see the Valentino because this is his last collection,' she said as she quickly cut off questions. 'Please, I gotta go see the collection and buy some clothes.'

Now she's the real deal.