on style, she rules

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 January, 2008, 12:00am

As one of my New Year resolutions, I would like to refresh my look and try to be kinder to my skin. What do you recommend for the epidermis?

New Skin, Mid-Levels

The Dictator rules: New year? When exactly were you planning to start - Lunar New Year? Yours is a frustratingly big question for a little column. Start by looking at the sky. See the sun? It's attacking your skin. Protect yourself daily by applying a cream with SPF. Lancome has a wide range of products for different skin types, from the Primordiale Skin Recharge with SPF 15 (HK$540 from Sasa), to the luxe anti-ageing Absolue Premium Advanced Replenishing Fluid SPF 15 for dry and sensitive skin (HK$1,200). If you have particularly sensitive skin, moisturise daily with Hydrance Optimale SPF 25 by Eau Thermale Avene (HK$220; shop G22, Miramar Shopping Centre, Tsim Sha Tsui, customer hotline: 2526 3553). Hydra Day by 3Lab (HK$750; Harvey Nichols, The Landmark, Central, tel: 3695 3388) has an SPF of 20 and its water base gives a fresh, cool feeling on application. Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer SPF 15 is an easy, no-nonsense option (HK$250; G/F, 28 Russell Street, Causeway Bay, hotline: 2869 1798); while its 'survival molecule'-based Abyssine Lotion SPF 15 (HK$405) is a great alternative for normal to oily skin types. Some other tips: water - drink lots of it. Another elementary routine that is surprisingly overlooked - wash your face every morning and night with products that suit your skin type.

During the holidays, I had a hell of a time trying to find a real bow-tie - one that you tie yourself - for a black-tie shindig.

Tying One On, Pok Fu Lam

The Dictator: You didn't just use the word 'shindig', did you? Oh well, at least you get credit for wanting to tie your own bow. This was actually more difficult than we expected. In the end, tailor shops came through more often than big brands, and were often more reasonably priced. Even fancy pantsy A-Man Hing Cheong (M2, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 5 Connaught Road, Central, tel: 2522 3336) charged only HK$350 to HK$390 for black silk satin or grosgrain ties. We were surprised that certain brands known for their tailoring had a rather tiny selection. Giorgio Armani only had a cream silk bow-tie and cummerbund set (HK$2,900; G1, Chater House, 11 Chater Road, Central, tel: 2532 7700). In case you were wondering, the white tie is for more formal occasions. At Ralph Lauren, we found a few, including a black one with tiny white polka dots from the Purple Label range (HK$850; G5, Prince's Building, Central, tel: 2523 9966). Kent & Curwin also had a few simple black silk bow-ties on offer (HK$790 each; shop 2080, IFC Mall, Central, tel: 2234 7373).

I saw a photo of Jessica Alba with a medium-size bright blue Chanel bag with a metallic (not gold) chain strap. I might give it to myself as a reward for my hard work in 2007, but I haven't seen it in stores. When will be available in Hong Kong?

Alba I Want, Tsim Sha Tsui

The Dictator: From your description, it could be one of two bags we've seen by Chanel. Too bad they're from last year. We checked with our friends at Chanel and Alba's bag was from the spring/summer 2007 collection. That means, unless you have luck in the secondary market (try eBay.com or Milan Station, tel: 2730 8037), you'll have to move on. Chanel (G18, Prince's Building, tel: 2810 0978) recommends a bag from its Cruise collection called the Hollywood hobo, with perforated and metallic leather in two shades for 'star effect'. If it's a blue bag you had your heart set on, consider other brands. Bottega Veneta has introduced a bright blue colour to its range of Intrecciato leather bags (about HK$14,380 for a bag of similar size to Alba's; shop G6, The Landmark, tel: 2973 0882) for the new season. Tod's has a few mid-spectrum blue bags, including the 'T-bag' (about HK$8,500 to HK$9,100; shop G19, The Landmark, tel: 2810 8692).