Visual Culture Optical Stylists in town love coming here to get their hands on hipster aviators with leather nose guards and smart retro 1947 Ronsir specs (from US eyewear design pioneer Shuron). Sitting within an old commercial building (that also houses several tucked-away cafés), the Causeway Bay shop is a pure white space (the Kowloon shop is all black) that acts as a blank canvas highlighting all the incredibly cool frames. The mastermind behind Visual Culture laments that most eyewear nowadays are all your humdrum big fashion brand names with not much actual variety in the design, so they make it their mission to offer our city beautiful works of art from old-school eyewear companies that have been making frames for around a century. There are classic geek chic Masunagas from Japan, the MOSCOT originals that Johnny Depp prefers to wear, RetroSuperFuture from Italy and worn by the likes of Gaga and the Beckhams, the legendary Claire Goldsmith from the UK, and Dutch brand Ralph Vaeseen, with elegant structures made of buffalo horn (look ma, no turtle shell!) Vintage glasses are also on sale, as well as Ernst Benz Swiss watches on consignment. Fashionable frames don’t come cheap though—a designer pair will set you back over $10,000, though a similarly cool pair rings in at a more reasonable $2,000. Flat J, 1/F, Po Foo Building, 1-5 Foo Ming St., Causeway Bay, 3481-0258; 108, 1/F Metro Harbour Plaza, Fou Lee St., Tai Kok Tsui, Kowloon, 2732-2300, www.visualcultureoptical.com . Forest Bird The fabulous four-storey boudoir-boutique on Staunton is the brainchild of former architect Ulrike Pohl, who moved into town from Germany last year. Her diverse experiences in architecture and interior design (she established the high-fashion label Hausach Couture), as well as a devoted personal interest in fine, kickass urban art, led to her vision and belief in launching a multi-directional retail concept in our very own SoHo. As Henrik Ibsen, 19th-century Norwegian playwright once declared, “A Forest Bird never wants a cage.” And in Forest Bird, you’ll find creative, cutting-edge fashion, handmade jewelry, exquisite homewares and high-quality beauty products. There’s also an eyelash extension counter and an organic gourmet coffee bar (macarons!) downstairs and gallery space upstairs with a rotating roster of top international artists (managed in collaboration with Berlin’s Circleculture Gallery). The list of specially curated designer brands include Rue du Mail from Paris, Antwerp’s Bruno Pieters, Mongrels in Common from Berlin, Sea and Haute Hippie from New York, and Ryohei Tsukamoto and Aquvii from Tokyo. And we love the unisex beauty products from Austria’s Susanne Kaufmann (no chemical preservatives, mineral oil supplements, artificial coloring or scents). 39 Staunton St., Central, 2810-1166. Brother & Sister Downstairs from Gilbert Yeung’s robatayaki hotspot Busy Suzie and Cindy Yeung’s Emperor Jewellery shop on Canton Road lies the siblings’ spacious subterranean fantasy: Brother & Sister. It’s a 2,800 square-foot underground space that oozes modern rock ‘n roll. The invitingly large, plush leather chairs and sofas and the whitewashed accent wall of speakers come via NYC-based Mark Zeff of design consultancy Zeff Design. It’s an ideal place for TST shoppers to relax and recharge, with a slick cocktail bar and a mouth-watering menu of Western fused with Japanese. The vibe here is luxury, street-style: think DL & Co. candles, Aesop and Cowshed bath and body products; eclectic jewellery collections by Justin Davis, Deep Anger, Marielle Byworth and Rock Candy; designer watches from Lip Watch, Nixon, Tiret, Toy watch and U-Boat; sneaker brands including Hong Kong-based Cipher, Dolce & Gabbana, Greedy Genius and Android Homme; and limited edition crossover brands such as cult designer Jeremy Scott for Adidas, Mihara Yasuhiro and Alexander McQueen for Puma. There is also a superb range of rare designer sunglasses including Dita Eyewear and Nathan Jenden, as well as vintage pieces from Guy Laroche and Playboy. Don’t forget the selection of Dragon-i memorabilia such as t-shirts, staff uniforms (!) and CD compilations. B/F, 1881 Heritage, 2A Canton Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 2369-1991, www.brother-n-sister.com . Liger A collaboration between immaculate trendsetter (and wife of Cantopop king Eason Chan) Hilary Tsui and stylist-slash-D-Mop alumni Dorothy Hui, Liger has been the fashionista’s hangout of choice ever since it opened in Causeway Bay last year. And no surprise—the duo are walking stylebooks. Now you can pay a visit the new outlet, which is located in TST’s Silvercord shopping center. If you need to know the latest arrivals, check out their fashion blog/website, which highlights the edgy yet feminine items, such as the “Too Much” geometric lozenge-studded headbands and “Oh My God” high-waisted jumpsuits in fire engine red. For accessories, check out the TATA Baby bags. Straight out of Japan, these bags feature prints of the Hermès Birkin on them. Cute! So influential are the pair that Tsui and Hui’s unique style is known as the “Liger Look”—think a long tunic over leggings, a thick belt around the waist, and (rather incongruously) thick-soled MBT sandals, which are better known for their butt-toning abilities than their fashion credentials. But yep, they’re a key part of the look—so much so that there’s now a waiting list to buy MBTs at Liger. Liger CWB, 1/F, 11 Pak Sha Rd., Causeway Bay, 3483-3948; Liger TST, LG63, Silvercord, 30 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, www.ligerstore.com . VAN D This two-storey shop, right across the street from Forest Bird, takes its name from the notorious Van Diemen’s Land in Australia, where convicts from England stepped directly onto its shores. VAN D is a space where naughty is nice and vice is virtue. It’s a realm of retro-vintage relaxation on Staunton, its interiors brutally stripped back to its existing shell by young Australian architectural designer, Mitchel Squires. There’s also a commitment to going green, so there’s the exposure of a rich brick wall with flashes of concrete, steel, glass and timber. A waterfall of drop vintage bulbs hang from the second level, and a patchwork of recycled Persian rugs are cut individually into tiles and laid to fit a master grid. The ground floor shelves badass brands Sass & Bide and Ksubi, as well as hot eyewear and accessories. Devotees of Havaianas will go loco over the floor to ceiling display of Brazil’s favourite flipflops on the second floor, where you’ll also find design-driven labels Insight and RVCA. 34B Staunton St., Central, 2537-1103. Initial Café Continually endeavoring to divorce fashion from celebrity culture, Initial has long advocated fabulously forlorn shop interiors and carefully edited, quality collections ever since it moved out of the New Territories, evolving from a local label into a retail lifestyle brand that’s continually expanding its sphere of cool. They remain a strong supporter of new fashion talent, bringing in the funkiest shit from foreign designers on the up (charming Petroglyph jewelry, gorgeous hats from Reinhard Plank and Capogiro from Italy, and Maccheronian shoes from Japan). The interior design of their shops also articulates their distinctive style (quirky with a romantic streak) in Hong Kong’s fashion retail scene—think French baroque coupled with Wild West saloon-like ambience in murky white tones and natural beiges and browns. And the café area of their TST flagship (a hipster hangout for quite a while now, terribly hip and Tokyo-like, but comfortably chilled out) hosts a fine mix-and-match collection of vintage furniture, gathered from the travels of the label’s creative director. Some coffee aficionados in Hong Kong claim that their cuppa alone is also worth making a trip for. Indeed, Initial serves their own unique blend of fresh Barbera Classica (since 1870), composed of five varieties of coffee beans—the favorite Neapolitan-style espresso. Shop 2, G/F, 48 Cameron Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 2311-4223.