On style, she rules

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 July, 2011, 12:00am

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In the 1980s, my mum used to wear these fab loose tops almost like crochet but not flowery, more like holes. I was reminded of them when I saw a woman wearing a metallic one. Do you think it was vintage or could I buy one for a bit of nostalgia and something cool to wear in the heat?

Mummy's Girl, North Point

The Dictator rules: If my mother had ever walked around with holes in her clothes, I wouldn't be in the shops, I'd be in therapy. OK, just kidding, but please carefully consider what you will wear underneath said item. I vote for a tonal match rather than something that competes or stands out (that would be a no to the black bra, sorry). I believe 'open knit' is the fashion term you're looking for here. There were quite a few around the spring-summer col- lections, the dregs of which you might still find as the autumn-winter pieces trickle into stores. I think of it as a very Italian look, so it's no surprise that Italian designers have mastered them. Take, for example, the lesser-known label Melys, which did a fabulous long waistcoat in a silver linen/poly knit (HK$2,400; Harvey Nichols, The Landmark, Central, tel: 3695 3388). Club Monaco's take on it is a great silver knit tank (HK$990; Times Square, Causeway Bay, tel: 2118 3515). For warmer-toned metallics, check out the affordable selection at H&M, which includes gold tanks and bronze cropped, short-sleeved tops (HK$249 to HK$499; 68 Queen's Road Central, tel: 2110 9546). If longer sleeves are more your thing, then Joseph might have just the open knit, crew-neck jumper for you in a choice of gold or silver (HK$3,590; Lee Gardens Two, Causeway Bay, tel: 2808 1040).

I've been looking for my favourite perfume. It's available everywhere in Paris but no one in Hong Kong seems to have heard of it. I really would prefer not to have to fly back with it every time I go to France (you can't hand carry it and checking bags is such a hassle). It's gorgeous and it's called Etat Libre d'Orage.

Looking for Liberation, The Peak

The Dictator: No it's not. I mean, it might be 'gorgeous', that's subjective, but it's not called that. You put a storm (orage) in the name when really it should be a fruit (orange). No wonder you've had a tough time finding it in Hong Kong. Another point of clarification is Etat Libre d'Orange is a brand, not a particular fragrance. Founded by ex-Givenchy perfumer Etienne de Swardt, the line includes about 20 scents, not counting its candles and other products. From its cheeky rallying declaration of independence, 'Le parfum est mort, vive le parfum!' ('Perfume is dead, long live perfume!'), it's obvious this perfume house is all about breaking the rules. Or, as the company puts it, restoring freedom of expression to the perfumier. And, wow, some of the cheeky and erotic fragrance names really do push boundaries. Take, for example, Putain des Palaces, Secretions Magnifiques and the one that starts with Don't Get Me Wrong Baby, which we can- not complete on this page. Go to www.etatlibredorange.com to fill in the blanks. To sample and buy from a small selection of these scents in Hong Kong, head to hip Soho boutique Forest Bird (39 Staunton Street, Central, tel: 2810 1166; www.forestbird.com.hk), where they're selling for HK$690 and up.