Inside Hong Kong Tatler: 9 Former Editors Tell All
September 7, 2017 | BY Hong Kong Tatler
From missing gowns to drunk puppies, find out what really goes on behind the 'zines
Hong Kong Tatler was founded 40 years ago and it has been covering the life and times of our vibrant society in Hong Kong—half of that period under colonial rule, half under Chinese sovereignty.
We caught up with some of our former editors, who shared their most memorable stories from their days working for Hong Kong Tatler.
The Missing Versace Gown
Style Editor, 2005 – 2008
The Asia’s Most Stylish shoots were always an adventure to produce. In 2006, a fresh-off-the-runway Versace gown got lost at the InterContinental Hong Kong. To this day, we still have no clue where it went.
The following year, the airline lost the luggage of one of the ladies for the Asia’s Most Stylish shoot and it was filled with couture. We had to scramble to find her something to wear at the last minute. But it all worked out in the end. The lifelong friendships that I made on these shoots have had an incredible impact on my life and career.
The Asia's Most Stylish Dream Team
Group Editor-In-Chief, 2001 – 2006
Global Events Marketing Director, 2002 – 2006
Initiating and organising the very first Asia’s Most Stylish and getting all the regions involved was incredible. I have such good memories of working with the Tatler team, and it was always wonderful at the end of each month to see all our hard work come to fruition. I loved working with Sean Fitzpatrick, Rachel Plecas, Andrew Glenn (my favourite editor of all time), Peter Cheung and Blue Carreon, to name just a few.
Glamour Of The Past
Deputy Editor 1990 – 1992
Managing Editor 1992 – 1998
A photographer was sent to shoot me at the Star Ferry for a story in the Telegraph in 1997—an iconic choice, but not exactly high society. He quoted an unnamed expat saying: “Six or seven years ago, a ball meant long cocktails, dinner, a big-name entertainer and then wild dancing till dawn. Now it’s speeches naming Chinese benefactors, a seriously big bucks charity auction and everyone home by 11.30”.
By that time the British had long taken a back seat at balls and parties, a fact underscored when we scoured the society pages of back issues to compile the magazine’s 20th anniversary special in March 1997.
The Mamma-Mia Feast
Features Writer/ Editor 2014 – 2017
So many good memories! One of my fondest is dining with cashmere baron Brunello Cucinelli at his home in Umbria for the article Portrait of a Paladino (September 2016).
Brunello’s tiny granddaughter, Vittoria, played waitress while he regaled us with whimsical—sometimes ribald—tales of his youth. He also schooled me in classical philosophy. I remember leaving our dinner enamoured of his indefatigable positivity and warmth. Closer to home, letting loose with my fellow editors at the Tatler Ball is top of the list. The dresses. The music. The people. And those late-night snacks. Oh gosh, yes.
Animals Meet Fashion
Fashion Editor, 2008 – 2013
The Salon de Ning cover shoot with animal-lover Sharon Kwok-Pong for October 2011 springs to mind. We decided to shoot her in Cartier jewels with members of her quirky pet collection, including a chameleon and a (half-) domesticated exotic cat. The combination of the eclectic location, large diamonds, security guards, high fashion and wild animals certainly made for a unique shooting experience.
A Day In A Moving Office
Managing Editor 2011 – 2013
Rolls-Royce invited me to travel to the Côte d’Azur to test-drive the new Phantom II before it was released, and I stayed at the Cap Estel, where the Kennedys and Hollywood stars would stay when they came to visit Princess Grace of Monaco. The hotel is on a peninsula below a small cliff, and on the day of the test drive I found myself driving the lead car of a 12-strong convoy of new Phantom II’s up the tightest, steepest, zigzaggiest driveway you can imagine, from the hotel to the coastal road.
Given that each car was worth HK$6 million, I thought it best not to mention that the last time I had been behind the wheel I had driven a rental car into a ditch in Tuscany (it wasn’t my fault, but that’s another story.) My driving must have made the grade, however, as the test drive went off without a hitch and later that evening they gave me a go behind the wheel of a one-million-euro J Craft speedboat, which I gunned through the coastal waters at top speed as the sun set. Not a bad day at the office…
They Fed My Puppy Champagne?
Regional Features Editor, 2010 – 2014
I smuggled my golden retriever into Tatler Towers during a Christmas bash. Colleagues saw fit to feed him champagne. Poor puppy ran into a glass door and was hungover for days.
Another great memory is the closing dinner of El Bulli in August 2011, when 50 chefs led by Ferran Adrià cooked 50 courses for 50 guests. My evening included an encounter with designer Marc Newson, who insisted I share his scent sachet, and drinking vintage Dom from the bottle with the winemaker. It was the perfect Tatler weekend.
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The Power Tai Tai's
Associate Social Editor, 1997-1999
In the late ‘90s, the “ball circuit” was so active that I was in a tuxedo almost five times a week attending a black-tie event. I was so young and it was just such a great way to be exposed to the colourful group of people that make up Hong Kong society. Everyone was so unique.
I fondly remember a group of women whom I affectionately named the “Power Tai Tai's.” They were the ‘must haves’ at any event. They were the women who made an event successful… or not. True style influencers, they were always dressed impeccably in the most amazing gowns, dresses, jewellery and accessories, with perfect hair and make-up everywhere they went.
The local Chinese newspapers dedicated pages to that group, reporting what they wore, where they bought it, which event they attended and how they dictated glamour and style in Hong Kong. They were the influencers of that era, and I think that period inspired me a lot to pursue my career in luxury and fashion.
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Mei Mei Song
Online Editor, 2011-2013
We decided to do a circus-themed shoot for the fashion issue, which was a lot of fun as we had the luxury of designing a set for the shoot. A lot of preparation was done for this, I had made sure everything was all prepped and we were ready to go the next day.
At 6pm, as I was about to get off work I recall our photographer Sean Lee Davies, who was shooting this, called me because he had a eureka moment: "Mei Mei, we need a rabbit! We need lots of rabbits!" I remember telling him how absurd it was especially as call time was 8:30am the next day and I wasn’t sure where we would find a rabbit at that hour. I informed editor-in-chief Sean Fitzpatrick, hoping he would agree how absurd the idea was, only to discover he was on board and found it wildly ingenious.
I then proceeded to ring basically all the pet stores within a three-kilometre radius from the office, asking if any pet shop owner had a rabbit and would lend me a rabbit or sell it to me with a return policy. It was quite impossible and most of the pet shop owners thought I was joking!
Fortunately using Facebook, I managed to persuade a friend's friend to bring her pet bunny to Chai Wan the next morning. I still recall having to feed the bunny, shooting with a bunny running around the set to create the illusion of multiple bunnies in different directions, losing the bunny, and eventually finding it! Looking back now, it was hilarious!
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