Awards fete Asia's most stylish
Film director Wong Kar-wai was crowned Asia's style maker of the year at the 2008 SCMP/Harper's Bazaar StyleAwards gala in the Grand Hyatt ballroom last night.
Wong has enjoyed a string of box office hits and won awards and international acclaim for his films, made in the face of a prolonged decline in the Hong Kong film industry.
Moody settings, lavish imagery and an obsession with recollection and memory unite films as diverse as Days of Being Wild, Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love.
The director's style involves actors and crew improvising on set and he is famous for shoots lasting more than a year.
Wong, 49, wearing his trademark sunglasses, said: 'I never set out to 'make' a style. It's just my natural manner of expression. But I'm glad that somehow my so-called style has been appreciated, especially in my hometown. I'd say my style is simple and straightforward, but I know some would disagree.
'Style is a personal thing. Like a signature at the end of a letter. It is not something that one thinks about during writing.'
Carina Lau Ka-ling, winner of the reader's choice style icon award, who turned eyes in a clinging, metallic gold dress and red heels, said she was very happy her style had been recognised by readers.
The grande dame of Hong Kong cinema, popular in the 1980s for her 'girl-next-door' roles, has appeared in more than 50 films. 'I really like to eat delicious food, and really good wine. I want to get involved to the maximum and I always want to have the best things,' she said, adding that she defined her style as 'genuine and confident'.
Readers gave another thumbs up to the city's film industry by choosing Taiwanese actress and model Shu Qi for the cover icon award.
Shu has stepped up her acting career in recent years, with parts in films such as Confession of Pain, and has just returned from a stint as a Berlin Film Festival judge. She said she was delighted to receive the award but believed it was not important for actors to have their own style because they had to be able to take on different roles.
SCMP Group executive director Kuok Hui Kwong said at the ceremony that the awards aimed to recognise the men and women 'who, by being true to a vision and by sharing a part of themselves with the world, have added a dash of spirit and a serving of colour and excitement to our lives'.
The winners were announced at a dinner attended by more than 250 people.
The awards, showcasing Asia's vibrant arts and entertainment scene, recognised talented people who created and defined style in 10 categories. Votes were cast on the South China Morning Post's website scmp.com for the two readers' choice awards, while the editors of the Post and Harper's Bazaar chose the other winners.