City takes last stand for extravagance as austerity looms

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 December, 2008, 12:00am

Recession, what recession? That's what it seemed like, considering the number of extravagant fetes and blowouts over the weekend. Perhaps some people thought it was better to go out kamikaze-style by blowing to smithereens this year's marketing budget before next year's austerity takes over. Whatever the cause, it felt like the city was taking a last stand for extravagance and decadence.

Even as other carmakers are begging for spare change, BMW splurged on a black-tie dinner for its new 7 Series ride at West Kowloon Pop TV Arena on Friday for about 400 well-heeled VIPs. The splashy do included acrobats and opera singers and even one of the town's most ubiquitous publicists, Francis Cheng, admitted: 'It was one of the biggest budget events of the second half of this year.'

Meanwhile, over in Stanley, affluent horse owners from here and abroad whooped it up ahead of yesterday's Hong Kong International Races and Saturday's horse sale. Courtesy of the Jockey Club and Cathay Pacific, the entire Murray House was booked for a lavish soiree whose entertainment highlight was a John Lennon impersonator. Those with a ticket to ride were twisting and shouting until the noise cops pulled the plug.

As for the Business of Design Week conference, it's been parties and cocktails all week for its delegates, culminating with the Hong Kong Design Centre annual award dinner at the Convention and Exhibition Centre, also on Friday. There were too many winners to list here, but Hong Kong animator Raman Hui Shing-ngai (above with presenter, Secretary of Commerce and Economic Development Rita Lau Ng Wai-lan) was named world's outstanding Chinese designer of the year. And you know that at this expo of high-end style, the architects and design consultants weren't trading Ikea catalogue recommendations.