On style, she rules

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 October, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 October, 2008, 12:00am

My face is cracking so I stopped by Lane Crawford to see if they had a cleanser by Ren. This cream has calendula and blackcurrant, or something like that, as its base. It is for combination skin, I think. I wish I hadn't chucked the bottle. If you find it, please let me know. If not I will just have to look like the incredible sulky hulk until I get to London.

Sulky Hulk, Four Seasons

The Dictator rules: Forget the cleanser. You need to lay off the caffeine. At least, I hope that's the reason for your ranting. Now, head over to Harvey Nichols (The Landmark, Central, tel: 3695 3388), which carries Ren skincare exclusively. The product you want is probably the Calendula and Arctic Berry Ultracalm Cleansing Milk. Oh, and it's sensitive, not combination, skin, according to the website (www. renskincare.com). Ren products at Harvey Nichols range from HK$190 (Perfect Lip Honey) to HK$750 (Lifting Night Serum).

I love leopard print but worry about looking cheap. How do you do it well?

Purrfect Style, Repulse Bay

The Dictator: First reaction: DON'T. Very few can actually pull it off without looking like they're on the pull. Not everyone was born with style and grace, so here are some simple rules for you mortals. The best bet is to find just one accessory in leopard print and wear it with clean, classic clothes in neutral solid colours. A sweet pair of shoes, for example, can look incredibly chic; but sexy, strappy heels, platforms or boots of any length (except wellies) run the risk of looking cheap. We like leopard print ballet flats, such as the ones by Amaya (HK$2,600) and Car Shoe's black patent capped version (HK$3,650), both at Lane Crawford (Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2118 3668). You may be tempted to buy all the fabulous leopard print accessories in vinyl or pony hair at Kate Spade (shop 2083, IFC Mall, Central, tel: 3188 1928). Don't. For shoes, we'd recommend the pointy flats (HK$2,600) or high-heeled maryjanes (HK$3,000). Bags abound (HK$2,400 to HK$7,700), including wheely carry-on luggage (HK$5,200). The brand provides another advisable styling direction, albeit one that is harder to accomplish: eclectic. Wear your prints with bright solid colours and vintage pieces. Yves Saint Laurent (shop G3, Alexandra House, Central, tel: 2868 0092) makes its iconic bags in the beastly pattern. In general, approach leopard prints with the same caution you'd associate with the animal. If you encounter them in cheap fabrics, run away as fast as you can. Roberto Cavalli uses only silks and cashmeres for his range of leopardy dresses and cardigans (HK$11,995 to HK$27,995; The Swank, shop 202, Alexandra House, tel: 2868 2017) - be sure to pair them with the most demure of accessories.

Apart from Linea Negra and Formes, where should pregnant women buy their clothes (preferably without having to wander all over town in an inflated condition)?

Bumpy Road, Taikoo Shing

The Dictator: If you're expecting, you'd better get internet savvy soon. You can use it to purchase some of the best maternity brands without ever leaving the house. Famous multibrand retailer A Pea in the Pod (www.apeainthepod.com) has a comprehensive online store that delivers internationally. Sweet Vanilla (www.sweetvanilla.com.au; contact: sales@sweetvanilla.com.au), an Australian brand, delivers to Hong Kong within a day or two. Another online retailer is Egg Maternity (www.eggmaternity.co.nz). Speaking of bumps, don't tell me you've never heard of one-stop-shop Bumps to Babes (unit 14, 21/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau, tel: 2552 5000; 5/F, Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central, tel: 2522 7112). They have collections by brands such as Creation Maternity (formerly known as Bun in the Oven; tel: 2791 0042; www.creationmaternity.com), and Sono Vaso (tel: 2650 0262; www. sonovaso.com). Incidentally, both brands offer online retail, too. If you'd like to get out of the house, you could also have a look at the H&M Mama line (68 Queen's Road Central, tel: 2110 9546) or Fragile Maternity (by appointment only, tel: 9455 3410). Find a selection of maternity jeans by Rock & Republic, Paige and Citizens of Humanity at Indigo (32A Staunton Street, Soho, Central, tel: 2147 3000; www.indigohongkong.com). For skimpier moments, there is lingerie at www.bralicious.com.hk; and preggie-friendly swimwear at Sabina Swims (1/F, 99F Wellington Street, Central, tel: 2115 9975). Enviably yummy (read: skinny) mummies will insist you can make it through most of your pregnancy with stretchy fabrics and empire waistlines. Obey me. Ignore them.