Friday, June 18, 2010

Shopping Hong Kong: G.O.D.

Among my favorite places to go for decor inspiration is a store called G.O.D. in Hong Kong.  G.O.D. has nothing to do with religion, unless you also worship at the altar of American Express; rather, the letters stand for Goods of Desire and happen to be a homophone for the phrase "to live better" in Cantonese (ju ho dee).

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G.O.D. is first and foremost a furnishings store, but in recent years they've become just as well known for creating a housewares, accessories, and clothing line that takes retro icons of colonial Hong Kong and updates them in a poppish, cheeky way.

Longevity Teapot via Pearl River; Mousepad, shorts, and bedding via G.O.D.

For example, I love their new line that is based around the patterns of the "longevity" style of ceramics that was ubiquitous in Hong Kong restaurants when I was a kid.  I've always loved the aesthetics of those old-fashioned bowls and cups: they came in delicious colors like bright canary yellow, turquoise, and pink.  G.O.D. has picked up the patterns and colors and put them onto mousepads, aprons, bedding, and clothing.  I picked up a pair of the yellow boxer shorts today!

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G.O.D. has "remixed" other classic Hong Kong iconography, including the colorful mail boxes of 60s Hong Kong (seen on the messenger bag above); the Hong Kong passport as it looked under colonial rule (now on the notebooks above); the teeming, tottering tenements -- now demolished -- of Yau Ma Tei (seen on the boxers above); and the red, blue, and white bags that Mainland Chinese immigrants once used to tote their belongings (remixed as a totebag above).

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As Hong Kong's old cafes get increasingly squeezed out by Starbucks, KFCs, and McDonalds, for example, it's kind of lovely (albeit in a sad way) that G.O.D. has come out with a line of coasters with images of classic Hong Kong cafe specialties, such as milk tea, lemon Coke, and French toast.  Sure, it's simulacra.  But it captures an illusion of authenticity for which I'm so nostalgic.

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I love the saucy and a tongue-in-cheek vibe of the store.  (Their fashion line, for example, is called "Delay No More," which is a homophone for "motherfucker" in Cantonese!)  But I love more that the store, by remixing the icons of old Hong Kong, has in a way preserved them for prosperity.  Hong Kong loves progress, modernization, speed . . . and in building higher, running faster, getting shinier it's left behind so many beautiful items worth preserving.  G.O.D. captures the nostalgia for the Hong Kong I grew up in, the Hong Kong of dai pai dongs (alleyway cafes), clothesline-heavy three-floor tenements, and green electric streetcars.

Double Happiness Dinnerware via G.O.D.

If you get a chance to visit Hong Kong, you should definitely drop by G.O.D.  I really don't think any other store captures so well the essence of modern Hong Kong: forward and backward-looking, naughty and respectful, East and West.

The G.O.D. in Causeway Bay via NYT

2 comments:

Geek in Heels June 18, 2010 at 8:38 AM  

I just showed this post to my husband who got all nostalgic about his native city. Let me know if you need any restaurant/club/lounge hookups — his friends have exclusive contacts with (and they even own) some of the hottest spots in HK!

Mrs. Hot Cocoa June 18, 2010 at 10:03 AM  

@ Geek in Heels: Awesome! I'm such a nerd though that I pretty much don't leave the house after dinner. It's so embarrassing. Do you guys ever get out to HK?

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