House of Siren, Hong Kong party-scene institution, to close after 25 flamboyant years
Items from the Mid-Levels costume store turned corporate-party venue opened by Australian Greg Derham to go on sale ahead of store’s closure in December, forced by landlord’s sale of premises and unaffordable rents nearby
House of Siren is closing its doors at the end of next month after 25 colourful years in Hong Kong – yet another victim of soaring rents in the city.
Launched in 1992 by Greg Derham, a country boy from Victoria, Australia, House of Siren soon became the go-to place for those seeking a party costume, or a corporation wanting to stage a flamboyant event. Derham was involved with charities including Aids Concern and the Hong Kong Cancer Fund, organising events for both organisations.
After Derham’s death in October, 2012, the business was acquired by Eckhard Liebert of design and visual merchandising company EL Design.
“The landlord was upping the rent and has now decided to sell the space [in Seymour Terrace, Mid-Levels] and we can’t find a space in our budget so we have to close. We have no options,” says style director Charlot Kryza.
Kryza says items from House of Siren are now for sale, and include couture costumes, extravagant headpieces and accessories collected over the past quarter of a century.
“For the past 25 years, House of Siren has created beautifully tailored costumes and accessories covering so many themes. With more than 700 couture costumes, the collection is one of a kind,” says Kryza. She says most were commissioned for fashion shows, product launches and prestigious corporate events.
“Each piece was elaborately designed and handcrafted by Greg and his team. [They were] made with the greatest possible attention to detail.
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“I’m keeping some of the more over-the-top extravagant pieces for a capsule couture collection,” she says.
Among the pieces for sale are items that offer a snapshot of the city’s past, salvaged by Derham from places such as the Cat Street markets in Sheung Wan and Sham Shui Po fabric markets, which he would regularly trawl in search of discarded pieces to add to the house’s collection.
“Greg would be seen in SoHo with his dog Astro. He was a flamboyant figure. He loved to hunt for ‘treasures’ and would look in colonial mansions, shops and apartment buildings slated for demolition. The House of Siren showroom was furnished with such finds,” Krysa recalls.
Among the items to be sold are wardrobes made using glass-fronted cabinet doors salvaged in the late 1980s from the renovation of a 19th century hospital in Sai Ying Pun.