Passion Points: Style
Everyone in Hong Kong knows about Bonnie Gokson’s family, one of the city’s most privileged: her sister is well-known fashion designer Joyce Ma, her grandfather was the founder the Wing On department store. But working on a variety of projects in the city’s culinary, shopping and nightlife worlds has made people take note of Gokson herself. Her most recent brainchild is Sevva, a glamorous concept hang-out that is part-restaurant, bar, lounge, pastry shop and designated hot spot. Located on top of the Prince’s Building in Central Hong Kong, the 13,000 square-foot Sevva has inspired, theatrical interiors and lofty views of Victoria Harbour. When Sevva opened, Vogue Living raved: “A glamorous new dining experience is lighting up Hong Kong.” And while the food has received mixed reviews in the foodie blogsphere, style mavens and night owls have embraced Sevva as an exciting new venue for cocktails (for sweet tooths, there also in-house pastry shop Ms B’s Sweets, whose counter sits beneath a huge 1950s chandelier designed originally for the British embassy in Rome). Indagare spoke to Gokson, who is based in Hong Kong but travels frequently, about her newest venture and about her favorite places in the city.
What do you love most about living in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong is dynamic and exciting. Not only is it very efficient both for business and living, but it is also one of the most international cities in the world. You can lose yourself in beautiful nature trails overlooking the sea in different parts of the island and in contrast, find yourself in an absolutely sophisticated world-class shopping mall within an hour’s travel time. And of course, excellent international cuisine can easily be found as well.
What is the concept behind Sevva?
It’s very much part of my lifestyle growing up in Hong Kong. While many restaurants focus on a very predictable ultra hip or designer concepts, I wanted the space to have a warm, refined residential feel, with personality and soul. Sevva focuses on good-quality food served with flair, appropriate music playing throughout the day and fresh flowers and plants that give good energy. Many in our service team come from traditional hotel-training backgrounds, as old-school service is very important to me. The different venues within the penthouse restaurant have the flexibility to be transformed easily and it is a place to enjoy the evenings with everything from blue note Jazz performances to sultry cabaret acts. Of course, we are also lucky to be in Central, the heart of the city.
What are your favorite Hong Kong restaurants?
As much as I love Sevva, I also like many other restaurants depending on the mood of the day. For a big night out, I love the Caprice at the Four Seasons (www.fourseasons.com/hongkong). For an authentic local experience in—literally—a hole in the wall, there’s a place called Fisherman’s One (3/F Bartlock Centre, 3 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay), and they serve excellent Cantonese cuisine there. For a hip scene, try one of the restaurants along Gough Street, followed by Jazz-bar hopping in Soho, from Gekko (LG/F, Ezra Lane Lower Hollywood Road; 852-2537-4680) to Melting Pot (1-5 Elgin Street, SoHo Mid Levels; 852-2559-2777), depending on nights. Then if you want to continue clubbing, dropping by to Dragon-I. And for wowing first-time visitors, the China Club is stunning and popping up to 1 Peking Road, in Tsim Sha Tsui, to the top floor of Aqua (1 Peking Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon; 852-3427-2288) is also awesome for a first-time visitor.
What are your favorite shopping neighborhoods and favorite stores?
My favorite neighborhoods to shop and my favorite stores would be in Central, Causeway Bay and Sham Shui Po. Anything from designer labels of the most current fashion, to beautiful silk cashmere sweaters in the old Peddar Building to odd local finds all around Causeway Bay is fun. One should check out G.O.D. (48 Hollywood Road, Central; 852-2805-1876), short for Goods of Desire, our local homewares and clothing store in Causeway Bay, especially to bring a fun souvenir home. If one is in the creative field, then wandering around the streets in Sham Shui Po would blow your mind. There you will find anything from fabrics galore, to Swarovski crystals, fabulous ribbons and buttons, laceworks to feather boas…such variety!
Who are some of your favorite designers?
I have a list of favorite designers but it really depends on the seasons. At the moment, I love Balmain, Alexander McQueen, Alaiia and bits and pieces found in London High streets.
What should visitors remember to shop for in Hong Kong that is totally unique to the destination?
Depending on what the visitor wants, HK is great for jewelry, watches, electronics, cashmere sweaters, funky street clothing, shoes etc. I suggest they visit G.O.D. as it has a distinctive HK flavor in their designs.
You are considered one of Asia’s premier style icons. How would you describe your own style and whose style do you admire?
In the many years of being in the fashion field, I have learned to edit the way how I put together my clothing and accessories. I am quite flexible and often change my look, but I keep myself simple most of the time. One day, strolling in downtown New York, I can be hip, with cigarette jeans, high platforms and a belted, oversized top and the next, I could be in my body-hugging Herve Leger or Alexander McQueen, teamed with Louboutins in an Uptown venue.
What are some of your favorite destinations and hotels worldwide?
Some of my favorite destinations in the world are Beijing, London, Antwerp, Mumbai and South Africa. Favorite hotels and resorts would be Amanjiwo in Java, Indonesia; Ellerman House in Cape Town, Singita Resorts in South Africa; De Witte Lelie hotel in Antwerp, the Lake Palace in Udaipur, India and Blake’s in London.
Where did you last find a bargain/your latest splurge?
My favorite bargain was a set of Christophe-signed, antique French Champagne glasses. They were said to have been modeled after the breasts of Josephine and were an extremely rare find in an antiques store in Sydney. My latest splurge were custom-made, sterling silver spoons, which come in ten designs, each of them different, with beautiful hand-crafted flowers.
Where do you like to go to get away from it all?
To be amongst beautiful nature. I just visited an awesome rainforest in Tasmania.
Read Indagare’s destination report on Hong Kong
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