Bargain hunters seek cut-price brands

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 May, 2010, 12:00am

Hong Kong has long been known as a fashion paradise. It's as good for Vivienne Tam as it is for Giorgio Armani, with just about every one of the world's great designers represented here. Despite the quality, not everyone wants to pay full price. A Prada handbag in the flagship store may seem like a must-have item, but wouldn't it be even more attractive if it were legitimately bought for 50 per cent off the retail price?

This is where Horizon Plaza comes in. Although it has made its name as one of the best places to buy furniture, it also offers a similar diversity for those interested in designer fashion. It has warehouses for high-end retailers, such as Joyce Boutique and Lane Crawford, where a host of designer clothes, shoes and accessories can be had for a fraction of their usual market prices. Even better, the shops are spacious and well ordered, so there's none of the jumble-sale style rummaging which mars some outlet experiences, and shoppers can delight in the fact that stock is replenished on a daily basis.

Shoppers suggest you start at the top of the building and work your way down to benefit from the fact that most of the fashion outlets are between the 19th and 27th floors.

Right at the top, bargain hunters are spoiled for choice as the 27th floor hosts the Max Mara Fashion Group Warehouse, whose brands include Stella McCartney, the Marni outlet, A.U.N. Fashion and the recently opened Hong Kong favourite, Juicy Couture. Those with an eye for casual high fashion will be pleased to see the Diesel outlet, while the Club Monaco Warehouse is a great find for office staples.

One of Hong Kong's most famous and prestigious stores, Lane Crawford, is on the 25th floor. Founded in 1850, it is known for selling the fine things in life, from clothing and accessories to tableware and bed linen, and it boasts the largest selection of designer brands in southern China. Lane Crawford's Horizon Plaza outlet has end-of-line or past-season items from all its ranges, so you're as likely to pick up a Georg Jensen dish as an Alexander McQueen dress. Colour-coded stickers tell you the discount, which increases the longer the item remains on sale. Women can browse casual and formal wear, while there's a good menswear range which includes shoes, belts and accessories.

Named after its founder Joyce Ma, the Joyce Boutique on the 21st floor is one of Hong Kong's most famous fashion houses and within this warehouse the astronomically priced is made affordable. Joyce was one of the first to introduce European designers to Hong Kong more than 30 years ago. Today, it stocks end-of-season Dries Van Noten, Comme des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto and Chloe. As with Lane Crawford, Joyce operates a system in which all items are labelled with ever-lowering prices depending on how long they have been on sale. If you wait long enough, discounts can be up to 90 per cent.

One of Horizon Plaza's newest outlets is Bluebell Fashion Warehouse, which moved to the 19th floor last month. The 5,756 sqft store carries Anya Hindmarch, Blumarine, Blugirl, Jimmy Choo, Moschino and Paul Smith.

'Fashion items from ready to wear to accessories can be discounted by up to 90 per cent,' says Kylie Chan, head of public relations at Bluebell Hong Kong. 'If you are lucky enough to shop on a weekend with a special promotion, the discounts can be even lower.'

Bluebell has just introduced Italian lifestyle brand Alessi to the store and prices have been reduced to 50-80 per cent of the original.

The 22nd floor is devoted to fashion with Moiselle Warehouse, Pompei Warehouse, the Armani outlet, Marijuana Fashion and Body Style. Similarly, Bluebell is joined on the 19th floor by Fairton Labels Fashion Warehouse and the Imaginex Warehouse.