19 December, 2011

Frock up! Sassy’s Guide to Buying and Renting Evening Dresses in Hong Kong

19 December, 2011

Much as we love H&M – and my oh my, do we LOVE H&M – there are some things our favourite fast fashion store just can’t deliver. It can sometimes seem like great quality, beautifully designed evening dresses to rent or buy (and with hemlines designed for fully-grown women!) are in short supply in Hong Kong… but we’ve scooped out the most gorgeous for your eyes only! Give us a twirl!

Designers and department stores

Lane Crawford
Times Square, Pacific Place, ifc mall, Canton Road, Hong Kong (full locations here)
Harvey Nichols The Landmark, Pacific Place, Hong Kong (full locations here)
The Swank Harbour City, Pacific Place, Hong Kong (full locations here)
New World Tower, Harbour City, Lee Gardens, Pacific Place, Hong Kong (full locations here)

Every designer you can think of… you name it, they’ve have got it! You’ll be spoilt for choice with swanky evening gowns at these department stores – although your wallet might not thank you for it later! Find edgier designers at Joyce, most of the big names at Lane Crawford or Harvey Nicks, whilst The Swank has some interesting European brands exclusive to Hong Kong.

Citygate Outlets 20 Tat Tung Road, Tung Chung, Lantau, Hong Kong, 2109 2933
Horizon Plaza
2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau, Hong Kong

Feeling lucky? Well, you might just snag a bargain here! Filled with great discount outlet stores that are well worth a rummage, our top picks are Max Mara (in both malls), Diane Von Furstenburg (Citygate) and the Joyce and Lane Crawford warehouses (Horizon Plaza) – plus a Prada outlet that’s just 10 minutes away!

The High Street

Shop 1098A, Podium Level One, ifc mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong
If it’s good enough for the Duchess of Cambridge, then it’s good enough for us! Gorgeous classy quality dresses that aren’t eye-wateringly expensive… and fit for a princess to boot!

Karen Millen 1/F Central Building, 3 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2530 2092; Shop 1058, Elements, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon Station, Hong Kong, 2196 8282
This British High Street favourite is an easy choice for beautiful and versatile evening gowns and cocktail dresses in all the latest styles.

Ted Baker
Shop 147, 1/F Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong, 2918 9609; New Town Plaza, Unit 388, Sha Tin, Hong Kong, 2601 4208
We love Ted Baker’s quirky prints and gorgeous fabrics and they always have a few lovely evening dresses in each season.

BCBGMAXAZRIA Shop 1064, 1/F Elements, Kowloon Station, Hong Kong, 2196 8217; Shop 2343, 2/F, Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, 2118 3508
A celebrity red carpet favourite, BCBGMAXAZRIA has an extensive range of evening gowns and cocktails dresses in lots of eye-catching and different colours and designs.

CENTRAL/CENTRAL 1/F Central Building, 3 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2480 2888
The latest addition to our shopping itineraries, Central/Central boasts several mid-end labels under one roof (including Karen Millen, Anne Klein New York and shoes from Steve Madden and Nine West) – plus a luxurious VIP lounging area!

Shanghai Tang Pacific Place, Times Square, 1881 Heritage, Elements (see full locations here)
For tradition with a twist, look no further than Shaghai Tang’s immaculate tailoring and quality design. They’re especially good if you’re looking for beautiful but contemporary qi pao or Chinese prints.

The Internet

Topshop.com Free international delivery for orders over £75
If you thought Topshop was all short skirts and sequinned hotpants, think again! They have some fashion-forward but still stunning evening dresses, especially in their Dress Up Topshop, Unique and Limited Edition Collections. Look out for amazing designer collaborations throughout the year too; hint hint: Mary Katrantzou and David Koma, coming your way soon!

ASOS.com Free international delivery
Sifting through ASOS’s endless pages of clothes, clothes and more clothes must be every fashionista’s guilty pleasure! With almost 2000 dresses on their site at the moment, there’s bound to be something perfect for your evening do! Look out for great British brands like Jaegar, Whistles, Coast and Oasis, which aren’t available in HK – but we wish they were!

Shopbop.com Free international delivery
Too many amazing brands and too many amazing evening dresses to count – Matthew Williamson, Temperley London, Reem Acra, Doo.Ri… plus stylist to the stars, Rachel Zoe’s own line! We die!

Net-a-porter.com £20 international delivery
Two words. Victoria Beckham. You’re heading there already, right?!

Saks.com International shipping available; costs vary
More amazing designer brands but a few clicks away! Our favourites for sexy stunning evening gowns are Antonio Berardi, diffusion line ML Monique Lhuillier and Jason Wu (if it’s good enough for the First Lady, it’s good enough for us!).



We’re sure you don’t need any encouragement to take a wander around Central’s many fabulous and individual fashion boutiques! They do tend to come and go quickly – and if you’ve found a good one, write down the address ASAP, as they also seem to disappear whenever you want to look for them again! Look carefully and you may even find a few ripped out designer labels here and there too…

We particularly recommend the ever-changing designer dresses at Buttonhole (56-60B Peel Street, Soho, Hong Kong), “cut-out label” mecca Brand Boutique (41 Hollywood Road, Soho, Hong Kong) and Forest Bird (39 Staunton Street, and you can even get a cake and cup of coffee with your new frock too!) – but it’s worth just wondering along Hollywood Road and Staunton Street in general… then just attacking every single little side-street you come across! After all, you never know where you’ll find your next gem!

Fang Fong Projects 69A Peel Street, Central, Hong Kong, 3105 5557
Gorgeous vintage fabrics mixed with fab modern fashion! They also have some fantastic more traditional Chinese styles… but the best bit is that if you spot a dress you like that isn’t in your size, they can make it for you – in only about two weeks! We’re sold!

Laforet 24-26 East Point Road
Island Beverly
1 Great Street, George Street

Tonnes of tiny shops crammed into not nearly enough space, these more ‘local’ malls often house some great finds, if you’re prepared to put in the legwork! There will probably only be one of each design and only in one size (and you might spot the odd defect or loose thread too), but at these prices, who cares?! I once found a current season Ted Baker dress in Island Beverley, for about one tenth of the price. Enough said.

Olivia Couture Shop 1 G/F Bartlock Centre, 3 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 2838 6636
Beautiful romantic evening gowns from home-grown designer Florinda Ho; you can also book special consultations for custom-made dresses too.

Ranee K G/F, 25 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2108 4068
One of HK’s favourite local designers, Ranee designs classically beautiful evening gowns, often with a touch of tradition to them too. She also makes qipaos proper if that floats your boat and you can get whole gowns custom-made to your own designs too.

Kanchan Couture 2/F, 108-110 Wellington St., Central, Hong Kong, 2117 1782
Kanchan Panjabi designs gorgeous couture evening gowns with a twist of Indian inspiration, featuring authentic Indian textiles and beautiful prints designed by Kanch herself. You can either opt for Kanchan’s Couture Collection, designed and fitted from scratch, or the Demi-Couture line, which can be purchased from their Wellington Street branch – and don’t worry, you won’t be the victim of ‘she’s wearing the same dress as me syndrome!’, as only one of each size in each design is made! So if you’re looking for vibrant colours, exciting shapes and cutting-edge designs, head here!

Belier Design
Room 1302, Skyline Commercial Centre, 71-77 Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, 2869 9030
Belier Design is the brainchild of local-born Vien Lee, who trained in Paris, and with an emphasis on quality fabrics, including European laces, embroidered Shanghai silk and two-tone Thai silk. Lee has created a range of fresh, modern and elegant evening gowns, cocktail dresses and qi paos with a vintage twist that would be perfect for any black tie do.

Causeway Bay 

Celebrities Couture 5/F Coasia Plaza, 498 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay, 2838 1160
With a selection of long and short black tie and cocktail dresses, Celebrities Couture has some of the same stock you will see in the Soho boutiques but some original pieces too, but most importantly a calm environment in which to try them on and spacious changing rooms with ample mirrors! Opening hours: Mon – Sun 12:30-9pm.

I’d also recommend checking out some of the independent boutiques in Happy Valley and on Queen’s Road East in Wan Chai – you never know where you might find that next bargain!


Have a wardrobe full of stuff yet still don’t have anything to wear?! Don’t fancy splashing out just for your beautiful dress to sit gathering dust until the end of time? Try renting a dress insead!

Pedder Building 12 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong
In the depths of Pedder Building lurks a whole cavalcade of shops offering discount evening and cocktails dresses to rent – so if nothing in Soho tickles your fancy (or appeases your wallet), try a wander round here instead! Like the mall shops in Causeway Bay, check carefully for defects (or make sure you’re happy to live with them!) as many of these are seconds or surplus stock.  Unfortunately, due to Abercrombie & Fitch taking over the site, many of these are already closing down so get there while you can! We’d heard good things in particular about Sparkles, which has now moved to 502 Pacific House, 20 Queens Road Central, Hong Kong (2524299).

Golden Plaza Prince Edward
The one-stop shop… well, mall… for most local brides, a trip to Golden Plaza is an experience to be remembered! Expect to see lots of bright colours and crazy designs (hint: too much here is never enough!) but most of the shops here do offer custom-made services for ridiculously reasonable prices, so you can tone things down to your tastes too. They specialise in reasonable rental packages for evening dresses (and will make you wonder why you ever want to fork out for owning a dress outright again!), with alteration services also available. It might be an idea to take a Cantonese speaker to make you feel a little more comfortable – many of the shop-owners will speak some English, but for the more intricate details (and when it comes to our wardrobe, the devil is in the detail!), having a native speaker around may prove handy. And remember, Kowloon will ALWAYS be cheaper than Central!

Wedding shops Kimberley Road & Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Similar to Golden Plaza, dozens of little local wedding shops, with in-house tailors, are clustered around this area. Most of their dresses can be rented as well as bought – and it’s worth enquiring to see a book of all their designs, as the racks merely house the most popular outfits.

The Dressing Room
7/F Sea Bird House, 22-28 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2234 9688 (by appointment only)
The Dressing Room’s stunning evening gowns in striking colours and designs are available both for sale and for rent – and at very reasonable prices, if we do say so ourselves! A made-to-order evening gown costs $6000 to buy, or you can choose one to rent for $4000; both prices include any alterations necessary too. If you’re a busy social butterfly, you should definitely consider The Dressing Room’s fantastic packages, where you get a discount with each further gown you rent. We reckon this is a real find!

LMR Weddings
2/F, Blissful Building, 243-247 Des Voeux Road, Central, Hong Kong, 2851 4827 (by appointment only)
Don’t worry – it’s not just wedding dresses! LMR Weddings also sells a beautiful range of exquisite evening dresses from both in-house and European designers, including Rosa Clara, Pronovias, St Patrick and La Sposa. Rental packages for evening dresses start from $2500.

9/F Galuxe Building, 8 On Lan Street, Central, Hong Kong, 3488 0978
Mariée carries a divine selection of evening gowns, which you can either buy or rent – and you can even get a gown entirely custom-made thanks to their talented team of in-house designers! Rental price for evening gowns starts from $2380 and includes all alterations… and even matching accessories (and we love a woman who knows how to match her accessories!). We’re particularly loving their latest It’s My Party collection by Pronovias, which will have you red-carpet ready and striking your best Hollywood superstar pose – for only $2980 to rent!

The Wedding Shop 4/F, On Lan Centre, 11-15 On Lan Street, Central, 2537 0322
Our top pick for evening dresses here has to be Jenny Packham, who specialises in romance, femininity and sparkles but without over-doing it – need I mention that Kate Middleton is a fan?! The Wedding Shop stocks all the latest ready-to-wear collections from Packham, plus evening gowns and accessories from a range of other designers, with rental packages available.

Since the trend in HK is to rent rather than buy your wedding dress (and with some weddings requiring up to five costume changes, who can blame them?!), many wedding dress boutiques here will also carry a selection of evening gowns available for rental too. These are scattered liberally throughout Central and Soho so go for a hunt around – but, in addition to the ones listed above, here are a few more to get you going!

  • Commix Workshop Room 504, 5/F, Cheong Tai Commercial Building, 60-66 Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan, 6851 0748 (by appointment only)
  • Athena Valorus Room 1402, 14/F., Double Building, 22 Stanley Street, Central, 2111 3700
  • Noel Chu 1102 Wellington Place, 2-8 Wellington Street, Central, 2380 6381
  • Scent Of Bride 3/F, 2 Queen Victoria Street, Central, 6112 4002

Get it made!

If you’ve got the time (and the Visa!), head north of the border to Shenzhen, where you will find a shopper’s paradise for cheap fashion – and cheap custom-made dresses too! I’ve never been myself, but apparently the mall in question practically greets you as soon as you hop across… ok, why haven’t I been yet?!

If you want to make like Maggie Cheung in In The Mood For Love, another great Sassy recommendation is Efushop.com. They do tailor-made qipao and cheongsam customised and made-to-order to all your specifications – you choose the style, the fabric, the length of the leg slits and even the buttons! Just make sure you take your measurements accurately and honestly, it’s just as good as having it done in person. Service is speedy and prices are fantastic – and having ordered a tailor-made qipao for my graduation, I speak from experience! They also do a small range of customisable evening dresses too.

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