Do you know a good place to get shoes stretched? I found a pair on sale that were so beautiful and well-priced I couldn’t resist! There’s only one problem: they’re a wee bit tight.
Tight Spot, Central

The Dictator rules: When will you people learn? If the shoes don’t fit in the store, they are not going to fit anywhere else! But I suggest you consult one of the following cobblers. There are a few good ones in the alley between Pedder Street and Theatre Lane, sometimes called Pedder Lane. I’m partial to the mom ‘n’ pop operation Shing Do Shoe Repair (tel: 9310 8558), which charges HK$40 to stretch most shoes and takes about three days. You could also try nearby Chan Foo Kee Cobbler (tel: 9216 3870), whose cobbler is younger, slicker and always in a bit of a rush, which I find disconcerting. Don’t be shy about asking the shop where you bought the shoes for help. When I needed repairs to a damaged heel (user error) years ago, a certain luxury shoemaker directed me to the excellent, if grumpy, Top Shoe Repair & Lock Centre (Rear Shop B, 35 Queen’s Road Central, tel: 2530 0978), although it charges more (HK$100) and takes longer – up to one week. I don’t suppose you and your fancy discounted shoes ever brave the MTR, do you? If you did, you’d know quite a few stations house The Groom shoe repair services chain (for locations in and out of MTR stations, go to Whichever branch you visit, it costs HK$50 for a two-day shoe stretch.


You wrote about some gorgeous raffia shoes last week. Call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure I saw someone wearing raffia and it looked so cute.
Treat Me Raffia, Repulse Bay

The Dictator: Don’t tempt me. If you mean garments made with raffia, then you should put two and two together; as with the shoes I mentioned last week, the spring-summer collections are either sold out or on sale. It may seem insane in Hong Kong’s sweltering climate, but the autumn- winter lines are already in stores. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch the amazing Moschino Cheap & Chic dress with a cotton/silk shortsleeved top attached to a skirt made from tiered strips of raffia, all in burnt red (HK$11,400; Harvey Nichols, Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 3968 2668). The same quirky brand also offers a fun twist on a ladylike, round-neck jacket by adding colourful raffia and jewel embellishments (HK$11,100). If you’d been paying attention just seven days ago, you’d have already visited the brands I recommended.
Dolce & Gabbana, for example, didn’t stop at the shoes, but included lovely jackets and dresses featuring said natural palm material. Perhaps you can still get your hands on one of Carven’s fabulous raffia tweed pieces in a seasonal “poppy” orange tone. We spied the shorts, for example, still sitting on a sale rack (originally HK$3,495; Lane Crawford, IFC Mall, Central, tel: 2118 3388). And I know Marni did a series of pieces in raffia, too, but I haven’t seen them in SAR stores, so try online.



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