Handbag doyenne Anya Hindmarch told us over lunch last week that her first store outside of Britain was in Hong Kong on On Lan Street. "The street is lovely now, but back then it wasn't so lovely."
She was 24 and just beginning to expand her accessories company to the rest of the world. Apart from that first international shop, Hindmarch has another unexpected link to Hong Kong - she is neighbours with David Tang and his wife in London.
Last week, the friendly Brit took over the Galerie Perrotin for a few hours to give the Hong Kong press a taste of her bespoke service. Her bags have become coveted staples for the fashion set, and her name generates excitement. Since starting her own label at the age of 19, Hindmarch has carved a place in the accessories world with her combination of British eccentricity and elegant design. After 20 years things are still going great.
As well as producing classic accessories, Hindmarch can also be quite the showman. The press, myself included, enjoy her fashion week presentations. I remember an outrageous sweet shop and factory set-up, with delicious metallic sweet wrapper clutches running down a conveyor belt.
Now it's her bespoke store in Pont Street, London, that is getting people excited. With gorgeous traditional English dark wood interiors reminiscent of Victorian era boutiques, the store harks back to the time of couture and accessories ateliers. Hindmarch feels that it best expresses the essence of her brand, so she bought some of the set-up to Hong Kong.
Only at her Pont Street store can you have your Anya Hindmarch items made to order, write personalised messages inside them and have names stamped on them. In Hong Kong, the service does not quite extend to fully bespoke, but you can get your purchased items personalised and embossed - a great idea for special gifts.
The concept, she says, "is to have your name on the bag instead of mine".
Hindmarch has collected a legion of celebrity followers in her 20 years, Jessica Alba, Keira Knightley and Angelina Jolie to name a few, but one name stands out: late British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. Hindmarch knew Thatcher and made bags for her, including a few that were personalised, and when she died in April, Hindmarch resurrected a themed window display, which she has brought to Hong Kong.