Who makes those brilliant evening bags with sort of rings at the top instead of a handle? I have a few black-tie events to go to and not much in the way of “formal” wear, so I would like something really special.
Lord of the Rings, Sai Kung

The Dictator rules: Are you completely ignorant? The bag you’ve described is one of the most identifiable in fashion today and unmistakably designed by Alexander McQueen. The bags were inspired by brass knuckles, or knuckledusters, a vulgar weapon used for hand-to-hand combat that dates back to the 18th century. For one of the authentic Knucklebox clutches, head to the Alexander McQueen boutique (HK$12,000 to HK$30,000; Elements 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, tel: 2649 3098). Didn’t know designer labels cost so much, did you? OK, an excellent alternative is Maison Du Posh, which makes envelope clutches, in leather and exotic skins, with knuckledusters featuring claws, fingernails and other motifs in gold-toned metal (HK$3,899 to HK$7,999; I.T, 1 Hysan Avenue, Causeway Bay, tel: 2890 7329). Don’t tell me. That’s still more than you would like to spend? Well, say, “Thank you, Aldo,” because the entry-level accessories store can bag you up for less than HK$1,000. Rather suggestively calling the style a “finger-hole clutch”, the line includes the Westall, in quilted, studded beige faux leather with four diamante and pearl ring designs in the, um, finger holes (HK$790; Aldo, Langham Place, Mong Kok, tel: 3521 0626).


Is it me or is there a lot of red tartan in fashion at the moment? How can I wear it without looking like my old Scottish Barbie?
Checking In, Sai Ying Pun

The Dictator: You wish. I seriously doubt you have the flowing red locks of that vintage doll. And, let’s face it, if you can remember when she was released, 1981, you probably don’t have her skin, either. That aside, Céline’s must-have pattern is more Chinese than Scottish, a luxe take on the amah bag. The label avoids such a potentially controversial reference by simply calling it a “giant jacquard check”, which you’ll find on the generously cut, ultra-light coat (HK$33,000; The Landmark, Central, tel: 2525 1281), the short, boxy jacket (HK$20,500), the sleeveless funnel-neck top (HK$9,600) and the wraparound skirt (also HK$9,600). Obviously, Saint Laurent is the other label that famously used check in its autumn collection – from grunge-inspired shirts to cute dresses (HK$8,500 and up; Alexandra House, Central, tel: 2868 0092). Zara has check dresses, jackets and more (HK$1,199 and up; Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2918 1099). Moschino, which mastered the art of infusing couture with humour, uses a lot of tartan. Check out the gorgeous taffeta dress with a big diagonal ruffle from the waist to the hem and a schoolgirl white collar (HK$11,540; www.netaporter.com). Korean label Push Button also has fun with it in fashion-forward, fuzzy alpaca-mix oversized coats (HK$9,800; Harvey Nichols, Pacific Place, tel: 3968 2668), boxy tops (HK$4,600) and skirts (HK$4,400).



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