The yuletide dusts have barely even settled, yet Hong Kong is already gearing up for the first Lunar New Year festivities of the new decade (feted to commence in 2020 on 25 January). With the arrival of the Spring Festival come the essential culturally inextricable customs: gifting of red pockets (lai see); reunion dinners (tyun lien fan); a dizzying array of salutations (bai leen); and, of course, traditional Chinese attire.
Most Hongkongers will undoubtedly be familiar with conventional examples of Lunar New Year apparel; and though your average tang suit or cheongsam is a more than acceptable party piece, we’ve gone the extra mile to bring you a host of alternatives that are good enough to transcend this month’s festivities. Without further ado, here are five of our favourite CNY approved menswear pieces — bound to bestow joy and good luck in the Year of the Rat.
Gucci baroque equestrian print shirt
Since arriving at Gucci in 2015, Alessandro Michele has concocted intricate animal-motif prints that have earned him widespread plaudits. This Lunar New Year, we recommend taking the Italian designer’s latest equestrian-themed creation for a spin — especially if you ascribe to the horse zodiac. Cut in eye-catching powdery red nylon, this ‘baroque’ shirt shifts betwixt the realms of festive attire and capital F fashion with extreme ease. The mesh lining also imbues it with some much needed sweat-wicking properties, meaning you’ll be able to wear this shirt deep into summer 2020.
HK$9,800 from Matches Fashion.
Nike + Undercover coated twill parka
When designing the latest Nike + Undercover collab, Mr. Jun Takahashi probably didn’t have tai sui (the phenomenon experienced when one lives in conflict with their own Zodiac sign) on the brain; and yet personal harmony is an inexplicable theme of the season. The Japanese streetwear king’s latest Swoosh-backed parka wears its existential musings on its sleeve (or butt, rather). Featuring ‘CHAOS BALANCE’ printing on the chest and vents, this all-over traffic red statement piece provides the wearer with extreme visibility, and has the (un)fortunate side effect of making you catnip for doting aunties.
Approx HK$5,068 from Mr Porter.
Nike ACG React Terra Gobe
We’ll level with you: we want the new React Terra Gobe for the same reasons everyone else does. Namely: they look and feel fantastic. That they come decked out in a CNY approved colourway — what Nike ACG cheekily dubs ‘habanero’ red — is just the icing on the cake. Constructed, as per standard ACG practice, with water repellent ripstop and the latest in ‘React Foam’ technology, the new Terra Gobe is a bold hard-wearing shoe: more than capable of carrying you through the onslaught of fish, sticky rice, and dumplings that seem to be infinite during Spring Festival dinners.
Approx HK$1,215 from END Clothing.
Drake’s red wasp motif tie
Whether it be Dad, a sibling, or your not-so-insignificant other, there’s bound to be at least one bloke in the family who always has an excuse to dress up. For decades, accessories (i.e. socks, ties, and scarves) have been the easiest way for impeccably coiffed gents to signal their CNY fervor; and when it comes to the Nietzschean ideal of such things, Drake’s is the superior purveyor. The London-based menswear brand is acclaimed for its neckwear: a reputation that is immediately justified upon seeing beautifully handmade articles like this waspy (pun intended) silk tie. Take our word for it: this is a worthy back-to-work gift, capable of helping even the grouchiest white collar warrior rediscover their buzz.
HK$1,650 from Drake’s.
Shanghai Tang x Xu Bing cardigan
Under normal circumstances, we’d go right ahead and say that filling this list with classic Chinese garms denotes a certain failure of imagination. That is unless of course said apparel hailed from the Imperial atelier of Shanghai Tang. Sir David’s eponymous chinoiserie-inflected brand (now helmed by daughter Victoria Tang-Owen) has just released this eminently wearable ‘cardigan’: effectively a magua inspired jacket crafted in a blend of cashmere, wool, and silk. The handsome burgundy exterior opens to reveal a lining etched with Chinese artist Xu Bing’s signature ‘square word’ calligraphy: idiosyncratic combinations of Latin words that, taken together, resemble hanzi.
HK$7,280 from Shanghai Tang.