In Wayne Wang's 1995 movie Smoke, Harvey Keitel plays a Brooklyn cigar-store manager called Auggie. He introduces neighbourhood writer Paul, played by William Hurt, to his life's work: 4,000 photographs, taken from the same spot on the corner of Third Street and Eighth Avenue outside his shop, at the same time every day. Leafing swiftly through the pile of photograph albums, a baffled Paul protests: 'They're all the same!' Cut to the junction of Pedder Street and Queen's Road Central, swarming with glazed-eyed pedestrians. Heads down, everybody in a blinkered rush, nobody stopping to watch the world go by. There, you'll find people from every walk of life rubbing shoulders but hardly noticing each other: investment bankers darting out for a quick bite, sleepy-eyed barmen on their way to another night shift in Lan Kwai Fong, tai-tais brandishing platinum Visa cards and heading for the Landmark ... All individual, but all dependent on each other, these are some of the people who make Hong Kong tick. We stood on that corner and tried to stop a few of them. To chat. To get to know them. Most were too busy to be bothered of course, but some spared a few minutes to tell us about their lives, instantly graduating from anonymous worker ants to fully rounded human beings - and strangers no more. Then we took their photographs to our panel of style experts and asked if they could tell from our new friends' clothes, hairstyles and general appearance who they were and how they lived. It took a few moments' reflection, but as streetwise Auggie told flustered Paul: 'You'll never get it if you don't slow down, my friend.' the panel Gregory Derham is managing director of House of Siren, a company he formed 10 years ago. It coordinates private parties and corporate events, and helps the Hong Kong elite with costume and couture design, fashion styling and art direction. The company has thrown parties with themes ranging from The Forbidden City to Moulin Rouge. Australian-born Derham has been a Hong Kong resident for 11 years. A fashion model in the '70s, Judy Mann is now a fashion designer; she was chairman and organiser of the Hong Kong Fashion Designers' Association from 1989 to 1995 and has been image consultant for four Miss Hong Kong beauty pageants. She now works as a corporate image consultant and is planning to use her expertise on the mainland. Fashion designer William Tang earned the name 'maverick' with his sarcastic spin on heroin chic in 1997. Last year he designed outfits for Dragonair flight crew, and has recently been travelling round the world and writing about it. He also hosts a travel show on Metro Radio. Tang, who has an economics degree and who studied fashion in London, recently opened the shop Yomi Uri William Tang in Beijing. Sheila Cooke is an associate professor in fashion design and programme teacher in design at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. She arranges design competitions in Hong Kong and was education adviser for the Landmark Fashion Foundation. She studied at Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Northumberland in Newcastle. She has lived in Hong Kong for 18 years. Barney Cheng, who dressed Michelle Yeoh for the Oscars this year, has long been a favourite designer among ladies who lunch. Famous for incorporating hand-stitched beading into his designs, Cheng often travels to India to source materials. He originally studied architecture, but after switching to fashion he picked up the Hong Kong Trade Development Council's Young Designer of the Year award in 1993. The postman? Derham: 'He looks like a postman with that bag. The postie look is very hot these days. He might have a laptop in there because it looks like it's bulging. I'd say he's in the computer industry. He's got a cheeky smile, a naughty smile. I can see him at Joe Bananas, and he's probably a bit of a gym bunny. I'll bet he lives in Mid-Levels.' Mann: 'He's not in banking or a serious profession like law. He looks like an American tourist. I guess he has a girlfriend. He has a very IT look. He doesn't look like a way-out person. Judging by his bag, it's quite con-ventional, and so is his belt. Everything is so classic.' Cooke: 'I would say he's American and in PR or advertising, or he's a photographer or something like that. I suspect he's a homey person. He may look sporty, but that might just be his physique. He's physically at ease with himself and looks fairly fit. Maybe he's into racquet sports.' Cheng: 'This guy is dressed for casual Friday at his investment bank. I can see him hanging out at Phi-b, the bar - he's a drinker and a womaniser. He looks like a very funny guy. I don't know what nationality he is, but he's not British.' Tang: 'He works in a bank or something finance-related. Or he's an IT man. He's sporty: he goes to the gym, he plays tennis. He hangs out in Soho and Lan Kwai Fong. He's from Europe, but not England. He's single.' Trendsetter? Cooke: 'She looks like she's Filipina, working in middle-management, but I don't know what field. She's well groomed, which implies she's earning a reasonable amount of money and can afford nice clothes - that's not a cheap outfit. Or she's married and has a husband who looks after her. She might even be an ex-model.' Tang: 'She's a young executive, Asian, non-Chinese, perhaps Filipina, Thai or Malaysian. She has beautiful legs. I'd guess she's married. She hangs out in Lan Kwai Fong. She's sporty and goes to the gym.' Derham: ''I am a very stylish girl,' says her look. She must be in fashion, or have a position where she's setting trends. She's in a creative field. Unless she works in the evenings she can't be going to work looking so fabulous. She's ready for happy hour and hangs out at Drop, and definitely in Central and Lan Kwai Fong. She lives in Mid-Levels, or perhaps Jardine's Lookout, where it's a bit more hip.' Mann: 'It looks like she works in an office, perhaps in marketing. She looks mixed, Indian and Caucasian or Chinese. Or she's from Singapore, or Indonesia. She doesn't look very extravagant. I can see her eating in small restaurants in the Soho area. She probably has a live-in boyfriend and works somewhere in Central.' Cheng: Disqualified (he knows the subject). English eccentric? Cheng: He's a writer, he's British. He could be married. There's something about the hat that makes me think he's into fetishes.' Tang: 'He's self-employed. Perhaps he's involved with an art gallery or has an antiques shop. He's married, he's English. He's been living in Hong Kong for a very long time. He doesn't do much exercise. He hangs out around Hollywood Road.' Derham: 'I love that bow tie. He's an English eccentric. Does that count as a profession? Is he a writer? A doctor? If he's a doctor, he must be a gynaecologist. He's very China Club; I'll bet he's been on safari in India with David Tang. He's the type who hangs out at the Foreign Correspondents' Club [FCC], a bit of a dying breed. I'll bet he's into bird-watching; I can picture him with binoculars round his neck.' Mann: 'He looks very intellectual. He goes to the more artistic places, where writers or painters hang out. He might even be a teacher. He's not very sporty, or the outdoor type. He would just go to a restaurant, out with friends, wine and dine. He doesn't look sporty - he wouldn't be out in the sun for a long time.' Cooke: 'I think he's quite an eccentric person, you don't wear dickie bows and panama hats unless you're slightly quirky, and I think he's got a sense of humour. I would imagine he's got a very strong social scene of very close friends. I shouldn't think he would hang out in Lan Kwai Fong, he hasn't got the right look. I should think he's into dinner parties at home.' Creative type? Cooke: 'I'd say something to do with TV or advertising. I would say he's in the creative world somewhere, and he's a bit of a character. I can't work out if he's bald or if he's shaved his head, there's a huge difference. Is this a fashion statement?' Cheng: 'He looks like a photographer's assistant, or someone's assistant in the creative field. Or he's an intern. He looks like he could be from Taiwan. Maybe he secretly hangs out at karaoke places in Wan Chai. He shops at stores like D-Mop.' Tang: 'He's from Hong Kong. He's a stylist - hair, fashion or make-up, that area. He doesn't do enough exercise, I can just see his belly. He hangs out in Causeway Bay or Wan Chai and is single.' Derham: 'This one's very difficult. Everybody's dressing down these days. He must do a fairly relaxed job, something in the arts, something in TV production ... or he could be a stylist or graphic designer.' Mann: 'Now this guy is very artistic. Something to do with fashion, or in a business involving lifestyle stuff ... hair, advertising, art, fashion. He couldn't look like this at a formal company in Central. I don't think he's married. Maybe he's living with someone. He probably goes to fashionable places like those new trendy restaurants in Soho. It's hard to tell with this generation - fashion, art, advertising, they like extreme things. Maybe he enjoys somewhere with a nice ambience, like a small, traditional Chinese restaurant that serves very good food and has high standards.' Karaoke queen? Mann: 'This is a typical Chinese girl. She probably works in the office of a small or medium-sized company. That's a very nice bag she's carrying - it's traditional-looking. She looks single.' Cooke: 'She's young, an office girl of 22 or 23, something like that. She's wearing very casual clothing. Maybe she's a shop assistant. If she's wearing that type of clothing to work it's got to be that kind of job. As a person she's quite interested in clothes; she has really outstanding shoes and the bag is very nice.' Cheng: 'It looks like she shops at Sistyr Sistyr or D-Mop, in Central. She's someone's secretary. She's a typical Hong Kong girl who wants to move out of her parents' house and live alone. I can see her at a club like Queen's.' Tang: 'She's a Hong Kong girl. She's a junior executive at a beautician's or something. She looks like she's in her early 20s and she hangs out in Causeway Bay. She shops, eats, drinks ... she does no exercise.' Derham: 'I love those shoes, does she think she's Dorothy? I'd say she's very young. She's probably working in some kind of banking job - her bag is big and it's probably got folders and documents in it. It isn't very fashionable though. Maybe she's in administration, or finance, or banking? She lives in Soho or Causeway Bay - she likes to be where the action is. She's a bit of a karaoke queen and is always at V-Mix at weekends singing Faye Wong songs.' Barbie's friend? Tang: 'She's an executive, or a high-powered secretary for a company president, or a PR executive. She hangs out at Vong in the Mandarin, or in Pacific Place. She's very outgoing, likes to hike and jog. She's from Australia, New Zealand or England.' Derham: 'I think you made her up! I love her! She must be a friend of Barbie's, I'm sure. Very 1968! Jackie O brought all that in. I think she might be a full-time shopper girl. She hangs out at the Clipper Lounge at the Mandarin. She's a bit of a high-tea, high-society girl: anywhere where it's 'me and you, tea for two'.' Mann: 'She doesn't look like she goes to work. But if she does, she looks like the high-powered secretary of a big boss at a big company.' Cooke: 'She's very self-assured, a business person, perhaps she manages something. I would guess she's American or Canadian. Maybe works in fashion retailing or sourcing. She doesn't want to dress old; she wants to be trendy but corporate. She's wearing a very strong colour - only people with confidence wear that pink. She's got the power handbag, matching shoes ... and those glasses are quite powerful as well.' Cheng: 'She looks American from those earrings. She might be a tourist, but she doesn't have enough shopping bags. If not, I can see her at a place like the China Tee Club. Maybe she runs a PR company.' McDonald's chic? Derham: 'Oh, McDonald's! All the people I know who eat McDonald's are dancers. He lives in Clear Water Bay next to the TVB movie studios, and he's always on call for a bit of fancy footwork under those big lights at the Hong Kong Coliseum.' Mann: 'He doesn't look like a Hong Kong person. He looks Korean or Japanese. More Korean though. It's so hard these days, everyone is so global. People look the same! He isn't in the fashion industry because his shoes aren't very cool. He definitely loses marks for those. He does look smart though. His sunglasses are cool and make him look like Aaron Kwok. He looks single and he probably goes to bars in Lan Kwai Fong. He looks like a bit of a control freak - not the type to let his hair get sloppy.' Cooke: 'He looks like a personal trainer, like he belongs in a fitness centre. He's got a very strange facial expression because he's sucking on that straw. He could be Chinese but I can't see his eyes. I don't think he's local, maybe Australian-Chinese. He's wearing loose clothing; maybe he's Canadian. He's wearing trainers and has got fairly serious biceps.' Cheng: 'He looks like a mainland model. But he also sort of looks Japanese. He's a got a nice watch and a nice tan. He hangs out at the new bar Liquid, in Central, to be seen. He's single, looking for a steady girlfriend. He doesn't like reading; he looks like a runner.' Tang: 'A model or actor from Hong Kong - his hairstyle is very Hong Kong. He works out often, I can see that from his biceps and triceps. He's single. He hangs out in Sai Kung, or Deep Water Bay or Repulse Bay. He likes to do water sports and likes the bars and restaurants there.' Traditional type? Tang: 'She's a housewife and has kids. She's Indian or Pakistani. She lives in the Central area. She shops in markets and at SaSa. She's in her late 20s.' Derham: 'A very modern sari. She's obviously spending a lot of money on her make-up; she's making sure she's looking pretty. She might have a job during the day, but she spends most of her time out. She runs up and down the escalators because she lives on MacDonnell Road. She shops 'til she drops!' Mann: 'This is a very traditional girl. Her hair is very nice. She's probably married with children. She looks quite conservative. She's not very extravagant - she doesn't have much jewellery on. It looks like she lives around Central, perhaps Sheung Wan, in a stylish old building.' Cooke: 'She's Indian, but I would guess she's probably Hong Kong Indian. She could have children. She's wearing a quasi-national costume - a shalwar kameez updated with some modern bits. I would guess she's Hindu rather than Muslim. She might work, she's looking presentable, maybe an office worker, something like that. She looks quite happy. I think she's very much the stay at home type.' Cheng: 'She looks local. She's definitely a mother with two cute kids. I'll bet there's a lot of nail polish in that SaSa bag! She's a working mother at a trading firm around Central.' New arrival? Cooke: 'Could be English. She could be a tourist - she's got a big backpack on her shoulders. She's dressed in a very casual way and that's not a very common thing for people who live and work in Hong Kong. Even if they first arrive as an expat, they soon change their style to make it more corporate. I would say she's newly arrived or she's in a job such as physiotherapy or sports training. She's not in the corporate world. She could be an acupuncturist, who really needs to move around to treat her patients. Or she could be a fitness freak on the way back from the gym.' Cheng: 'This is a student back for the summer holidays. She looks very straight, like a girl from Essex or Cornwall.' Tang: 'She's not a tourist - she's holding a telephone, which is very Hong Kong! She could be a gym instructor or a dance teacher. She's single. She hangs out in Soho. She looks more European than American.' Derham: 'She's from France because of the baguette ... all she's missing is her beret! She's definitely on her way to creperie Le Rendezvous in Soho, and lives in Western or Pokfulam. She's quite a serious girl and not much of a dancer. She could be a professor or a scientist because of her non-fussy appearance.' Mann: 'She looks like a housewife. She looks French; she's very petite-looking. It doesn't look like she works in Central because of those slippers. It looks like she's a housewife who lives nearby and came out to buy bread. She looks married, the family type and someone who doesn't dine out much. She's very conservative-looking.' So who's who? Tony Ghee, 31, single, is an American lawyer working at British law firm Clifford Chance. Originally from New Jersey, Ghee moved to Hong Kong from New York 18 months ago. We intercepted him on his way to HMV, then home to relax. 'I have my clothes tailor-made for work, but if I buy off-the-peg I like Armani Exchange,' he says. Ghee's look is 'a combination of professional and cool. Just comfortable and smooth. I like to keep up with trends but I like to create my own flavour and style. I don't want to be dressed like everyone else.' At weekends he goes to plays and movies, or likes to 'chill out' at home. 'I try to travel as much as possible; sometimes I go with the boys, or a special girl, or by myself. It depends.' But his first love is music and dancing; he likes hip-hop and house, and Hong Kong DJs Blackjack and Teng Boon. For lunch or dinner he likes Felix at the Peninsula, or Vong ('Anywhere at the Mandarin Oriental is hot.'). Hating large crowds, Ghee retires to relaxed bars such as Alibi or Antidote for drinks. Kristie LuChong is 27 and a correspondent for CNN. She lived in Beijing before moving to Hong Kong last year, and married in Beijing a few weeks ago. LuChong, who lives in Mid-Levels, is half-Chinese and half-American and was raised in California. Because she is tall she likes to buy clothes at European boutiques. 'Clothes are very important for the kind of work I do,' she says. 'The visual aspect provides impact because I'm the one delivering the story. Fashion is an extention of creativity, and 'stylish' for me is defined by people who dress according to their body shape, environment and job. Fads don't equate to style. If someone has style it endures; they have identified their look and keep it constant through their life.' LuChong likes 'unpretentious, authentic' restaurants. She loves Jimmy's Kitchen and the Mandarin Grill in Central. Chesa at the Peninsula has, she says, 'the best chocolate mousse in the world'. Her favourite vegetarian Indian restaurant is Woodlands in Tsim Sha Tsui. And instead of kicking up her heels and dancing the night away, she prefers 'dark, lounge-style' bars; she loved the Blue Note bar at the Shangri-la, but now her favourites are the Captain's Bar at the Mandarin Oriental, ToTT's at the Excelsior Hotel, Causeway Bay, and the Long March Bar at the China Club, Central - places that are not too 'posey'. Dr Robert Dawkins, 43, is Australian and has been in Hong Kong for eight years. He lives on The Peak, has been married for 16 years and has three children: girls of five and three and a month-old son. Dawkins is a gynaecologist and his wife is an obstetrician and gynaecologist. We caught up with him on his way back from Starbucks to his office. 'I wear a bow tie every day. This one was bought when my wife was pregnant with our second daughter - in the Year of the Pig. The hat I got in Australia, and I only wear it because I don't want the sun to beat down directly on my head,' he says. A practical man, Dawkins is likely to visit Brooks Brothers or Ascot Chang for clothes. Asked what he thinks is stylish, he shrugs and says, 'I like good clothing, but it doesn't have to be distinctive to be stylish.' Dawkins' new baby keeps him and his wife occupied, but they make a point of taking their daughters to the Mount Austin playground near their home. 'Because I have a young family we tend to do that sort of thing,' he adds. 'Our eldest has just started learning to ice-skate, so we also go to Taikoo Shing for her lessons.' Any time he has to himself Dawkins spends 'hiding out in the study and doing things on the computer'. When dining out, he and his wife go to 'a place where it's easy to park the car'. Dawkins keeps up with new restaurants by word of mouth and sometimes reads best-restaurant guides. On Sundays he takes his family to church. Kelvin Wong is '30-something years old' and has been a hair stylist for 21 years. He currently works at hair salon Hair on Duddell Street, Central. Wong, born and raised in Hong Kong, was dashing back to work after buying a rice box for lunch. 'I like to look nice, and I buy my clothes in small shops around town. I don't have a particular image, I just like to be comfortable and look good - my only requirements,' he says. Wong believes 'every period has its own trends, and I like seeing people adapt trends from magazines'. He loves dancing, so at weekends he is likely to be found grooving to techno or hip-hop (especially DJ Tommy) at Queen's in Central ... if he's not already belting out his personal favourites at a Red Box karaoke. He says he'll 'eat anything', but Chinese food is his favourite and he loves the Tsui Wah Chinese diner on Wellington Street. His weekends are spent taking care of his four dogs - two Maltese and two German Shepherd dogs - with which Wong jogs on the beach near his home 'somewhere on Hong Kong island'. SIE LEUNG, 20-something, is single and a reporter for Chinese weekly magazine Cup. Born and raised in Hong Kong, she was waiting for a friend with whom she was having dinner. She says her look is 'casual, but if there's something important going on' she'll dress up. 'I buy my clothes in Tsim Sha Tsui, Central and Causeway Bay, at high-end and low-end stores,' she says. Sie thinks stylish people are those who fall on the trendier side of the fashion continuum, and she likes people around Central who dress in a 'grand' style. She lives in Tsuen Wan with her family; she has a sister, a secretary. They are close and often spend time together. At weekends Sie likes to shop with friends, and occasionally she hikes with friends. At night, she likes quiet places such as hotel lounges or coffee shops. You may find her hanging out with friends at the Sky Lounge at the Sheraton Hotel, Tsim Sha Tsui, because she likes the ambience. ELAINE GOODWIN is '49 years old plus VAT', is single, British and has lived all her adult life in Hong Kong. A resident of Repulse Bay, she is the managing director of her own dry-cleaning business, Goodwin's of London. She had just been to a business-type event at the FCC and was making her way home for the evening when we stepped up. 'I buy my clothes all over the world and I'm very affected by colour,' she says. 'My image depends on where I am and what I'm doing. I change my look for what I'm doing. Fit, cut and colour are most important to me, and I like to look slim.' Asked what makes someone stylish, she didn't hesitate to say: 'If someone has good deportment and knows how to wear their clothes, then great. You can spend a fortune on your clothes but if you're slumped over or can't walk in your heels, it's pointless and ridiculous.' On an ideal weekend, you can find Goodwin walking her two highland terrier dogs in Tai Tam Country Park or near her home. Her favourite restaurant is M at the Fringe, and she is a regular at the FCC. For 'glamming up', her preferred nightspot is Vong; she is also a fan of the restaurant Alibi on Hollywood Road, Central. 'The best, however, is when I go to parties at friends' houses, where we blast '60s music to our hearts' content!' KENNY WONG, now in his 30s, has been a 'TV artist' (his term for 'actor') for 12 years. His nightly TVB Jade series Armed Reaction, in which he played a cult follower who kills prostitutes, ended recently. Born and raised in Hong Kong, he says being stylish is more of a feeling than something easily shown on the surface. 'You can be trendy or just ordinary, but real style shines from within,' he says. When it comes to his own style, Wong says he aims for a casual and comfortable look and wants to project an image of being 'clean and well-groomed'. His work schedule means he doesn't have regular weekend activities; he may meet friends to watch a movie or have drinks in Lan Kwai Fong, although he says that because of work he doesn't like to go out much. He occasionally goes out on a boat to water-ski. He has a girlfriend, sees his parents regularly and doesn't have much time for reading books. MANJU SENDHU, 25, is from Punjab, India, and is a housewife. She has been married for four years and lives with her family in Kennedy Town. She has two babies - a boy and a girl - and came to Hong Kong in 1997. 'I don't buy Indian clothing in Hong Kong, because I like my seamstress in India,' she says. She tries to project an uncomplicated image. At weekends she likes to take her children to the park near her home. She may eat at Chinese restaurants, but her favourite is the Curry Pot in Wan Chai. LILIAN BASNET, 24, moved to Hong Kong from England 18 months ago. She is an English teacher with the British Council, has been married for two years and has no children. At weekends she may go to the gym, hang out with friends, go to movies or eat out. She also hikes and goes on junk trips. Asked how she finds living in Hong Kong, she says: 'I have a love-hate relationship with Hong Kong. There are good things, but I miss houses, greenery, my family and my friends.'