Why it took a pair of porn stars to launch a pen in Hong Kong

With a fashion store decorated like a love hotel and an ‘erotic’ pen to sell, who better to announce your venture than a pair of X-rated stars? Who indeed? Needless to say, the party drew an ‘interesting’ crowd

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 October, 2015, 1:46pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 October, 2015, 4:41pm

As one of the world’s premier shopping capitals, Hong Kong has more than its fair share of product launches, collection debuts and retail openings. Each is a chance for brands to speak to consumers, and standing out is imperative. Newly established fashion store Memory Lane went rather unorthodox in launching its Tips & Strips pens – by flying in two world-famous porn stars.

London Keyes and Dana Dearmond were the guests of honour at Memory Lane’s press day and launch party at a private club and karaoke in Tin Hau. The main attractions for the overwhelmingly male audience posed for photos and performed risqué “dances” for guests in little more than thongs and miniskirts. So, what was it all in aid of? The Tips & Strips pen is an “erotic” pen that ‘strips’ a picture of Keyes and Dearmond when held upside down.

Memory Lane, founded in Hong Kong by Maurice Maghnagi, opened a concept store in Chai Wan in February 2015, to showcase the brand’s print-heavy clothing, Maghnagi’s resort-wear brand Made in Paradise, and to serve as a gallery space for up-and-coming artists.

The space, covered with graffiti, is decorated like the love hotels and massage parlours of Kowloon. Given the store’s celebration of seedier sides of the city, the association with Keyes and Dearmond  might not seem as strange as it initially sounds.

So what did a Hong Kong crowd make of these X-rated stars? Tim Stuart, an expat toymaker in his mid-40s, went along to the launch as it “sounded like fun”. He got autographs and photos with both Keyes and Dearmond holding some of his own creations, adding to his varied collection of celebrity selfies that include actors Jack Black, Michael Palin and John Cleese.

“Its not my style of event,” says Stuart, “although I found the mix of people to be interesting - they were all fairly well-established, erudite, well-versed individuals.” He wasn’t entirely sure what the event was supposed to be promoting, but Stuart understood it was meant to be edgy, and said it was ultimately “a very fun, social event”.