I know it sounds weird, but I really am looking for snake oil. It's said to do wonders for the skin. I'm wary of backstreet sources, naturally. So I'm on the hunt for something from a reputable cosmetics brand.
Asp-irational Beauty, The Peak

The Dictator rules: It might well have been said that snake venom is good for the skin but do you know by whom, or what they said it was good for? I doubt it. What's known in the cosmetics world as Syn-Ake peptide is widely used, but it's not real snake venom. It's formulated to mimic the temporarily paralysing effect of snake venom, there-by reducing the appearance of wrinkles. That's why it's referred to as "botox in a bottle". Would a London-based company founded by the Greek former beauty editor Maria Hatzistefanis impress you? It should. Rodial bases its formula on the temple viper's venom in a range that began with the original, bestselling Glamoxy Snake Serum - which promises to hydrate and plump while diminishing fine lines and wrinkles (HK$1,400; 10/10 Space, 1/F, 51 Paterson Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 3595 1152 or Joyce Beauty, 16 Queen's Road Central, tel: 2869 5816). There's also the Glamoxy Snake Mask (HK$720), the nifty Glamoxy Snake Serum Pen (HK$820) and the treatment foundation BB Venom Skin Tint (HK$330). Closer to home, a number of Korean skincare purveyors make snake potions. The aspiring brand Celebrity makes its Derma Rescuer serum from Syn-Ake (HK$234 for three 5ml vials; Mannings, tel: 2299 3381, www.mannings.com.hk). Dream Skin ups the ante by combining the peptide with another anti-ageing agent in its Stem Cell Syn-Ake Cream (HK$269; Mannings).


I would love a pair of extra-long boots this winter, but all the ones I've seen so far hit just below my knee. Before you tease me, I do know it's a strong look; obviously I don't want to look cheap!
Getting the Boot, Tsim Sha Tsui

The Dictator: If you dress like a hooker, then you'll look like one. Just saying. You'd do well to invest in a beautifully made pair of Jimmy Choos (Elements, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, tel: 2196 8966), but be prepared to spend HK$12,500 for black suede, HK$13,200 for the black or smoke grey calfskin version, or HK$26,400 for the grey leopard-print ponyskin stiletto boots. Karl Lagerfeld's footwear for Chanel this season includes thigh-high boots in mixed materials, such as black leather and houndstooth (HK$21,600; Ocean Centre, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2735 3220). High in every sense, Carolina Espinosa's take is super long, with tall heels and a big platform sole (HK$4,500; Central Central; 3 Pedder Street, Central, tel: 2480 2888). For an avant-garde look, try 3.1 Phillip Lim's open-toe design in black leather (HK$9,690; The Gateway, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2113 0311). Don't want to teeter on heels? Giuseppe Zanotti's mostly sky-high collection includes a flat, over-the-knee, croc-embossed leather number (HK$13,705; Elements, tel: 2799 5399).



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