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A Qixi Festival gift guide for every kind of lover

If you got it woefully wrong this past February, Qixi Festival — or, Chinese Valentine’s Day! — is perfectly poised for a grand do-over.

A fascination with love — in particular, the forbidden kind; the kind that tethers itself to tales of suffering, overcoming, and, in the final act, tragedy — forms the bedrock of folklore across cultures and tribes. There are no star-crossed lovers without Romeo and Juliet, of course. But there’s also Tristan and Isolde. Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff. Gatsby and Daisy. Layla and Majnun. Zhinhu and Niulang, the protagonists of this particular holiday.

Zhinhu, a goddess progeny, and Niulang, a mortal cowherd, are universes apart. Their love, however, exists beyond temporal realities; it’s a long-distance relationship — for forever. Morbid, really. But if there’s something to be impressed by, it’s their devotion. A love that balances on a bridge of magpies. A love that returns as promised, like clockwork, year after year. A love that’s brazen, unafraid.

Because there’s something otherworldly, something superhuman about a sentiment felt this deeply. This strongly! It’s the ultimate fantasy, to be able to howl ‘Yes! Please, gods, yes!’ to love — not gold; not wealth; not fame; not notoriety, but love — in the face of overwhelming conflict. Villainous debauchery. Death, even. It’s a blind leap into an endless abyss hoping, praying to whatever deity one believes in, that someone will be there waiting. With the porch lights on. A lighthouse in stormy waters. How absolutely terrifying. But also, how wonderful.

Here’s to hoping your love story is not quite as tumultuous as Zhinhu and Niulang’s this Qixi Festival. Or quite as tragic. After all, there’s nothing a gift wrapped in a big bow won’t fix.

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Balenciaga’s Fluffy Hourglass XS Top Handle Bag in Pink (HK$13,900)

Balenciaga’s Hourglass was touted as a bag consumers flocked to in the past year-or-so of pandemic shopping — with good reason! It’s sculptural; it’s sleek. It’s got that coveted staying power. For those a little in love with the model, the brand’s Qixi rendition stands in as a stuffed toy, too, with its pink, fuzzy faux fur. It practically begs for a snuggle!

SHOP HERE

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CLOT x PENTATONIC The Pebble by OTHERWARE in Gold (HK$1,980)

Today, getting caught chowing down with single-use plastic cutlery is tantamount to petty crime. It’s not a good look! What does look pretty incredible is this The Pebble kit designed by PENTATONIC and Pharrell Williams’ i am OTHER, housing reusable chopsticks, a straw, fork, knife and spoon in an ergonomic, pebble-like container. There are two colourways available for purchase at JUICE locations worldwide: Red (HK$680) and Gold (HK$1,980).

Also: remember to tick off ‘No Cutlery’ in that Food Panda order for date night!

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Venchi’s Gelato Pralines

What’s more lovely to receive than a big variety box of chocolates? A filled-to-the-brim box of Venchi’s Gelato Pralines, probably. A hybrid creation consisting of bite-sized scoops of gelato encased within thin chocolate shells, Venchi’s Gelato Pralines are scrummy bursts of chilly, creamy goodness. An ideal summertime snack.

The five flavour profiles to pick from include: tiramisu, hazelnut, vanilla, nougatine and pistachio. For the indecisive, we recommend all of them and one extra, to complete the pack of six.

VISIT LOCATIONS HERE

Fenty Skin’s Buff Ryder Exfoliating Body Scrub (HK$275)

“It’s no secret that I feel most at home on the beaches of Barbados,” says Rihanna. “I’m so inspired by its natural beauty and wanted to create a body scrub that features actual sand like I used to use growing up to get that healthy glow on my body.”

Fenty Skin’s Buff Ryder Exfoliating Body Scrub is yet another way for us mere mortals to get a whiff of new billionaire Rihanna — and in the process, leave the shower with smooth, shiny skin that smells like the tropics. It’s vacation time, baby.

SHOP HERE

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Gucci’s Les Pommes cotton cardigan (HK$12,000)

Billed for the boys, this Gucci cardigan from the brand’s Les Pommes collection is a piece you’d feel no guilt stealing from his closet. What’s his is yours!

Gucci’s Les Pommes collection, released exclusively for Qixi Festival 2021, centres around an adorable heart-and-apple motif that runs through the collection from ready-to-wear to small leather goods. Make it a matching set from top to toe.

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Mr Porter’s Super Mart collection

New to Mr Porter this month, Super Mart is a standalone on-site marketplace featuring the coolest, most hyped-up collectibles and streetwear heroes; in total, 29 brands, of which 12 is all-new to Mr Porter.

Highlights include graphic T-shirts from Better Gift Shop, Polite Worldwide jewellery and limited-edition Medicom novelties available for purchase for the first time outside of the brand’s Japanese pop-up.

SHOP HERE

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Prada Cleo satin bag with appliqués (HK$25,600)

It’s a curious thing, the ‘It’ criteria. Prefaced to a brand, a girl or, in Prada Cleo’s case, a bag, the ‘It’-prefix characterises a collision of very specific cultural pulses; of precise idiosyncrasies that held court in our collective consciousness — for a moment, however brief — that said, “This is great. We like this! We like this a lot.”

A disco ball-ified version of this season’s It-bag, this Cleo sparkles, shines and is exuberantly embellished. To the point of excess! Like carrying a blanket of stars at the crook of your elbow.

SHOP HERE

Nonfiction’s Santal Cream Perfume (HK$490)

New to Sephora Hong Kong, Nonfiction’s five-count range of perfumes each narrates a slice-of-life moment in time. Santal Cream, for example, captures a lovers’ tête-à-tête on a lazy afternoon. Pillow talk smells like sandalwood and vetiver, it seems.

Tread carefully here, though. Scent can be a dangerous path to wander down with no map, no guidance and no compass. Jot down a mini itinerary of base notes you know they love first.

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Miu Miu matelassé nappa leather mini bag (HK$11,200)

The past seasons’ obsession with teeny-tiny bags has launched a whole new category of adorable-but-barely-functional pieces to lust after. What can you put in them? Not much! But how cute.

This mini pouch — crafted in Miu Miu’s signature matelassé leather weave — comes in hot at 17cm, which just holds an iPhone 12 Pro Max (they’re 16.08cm). Look, ma! No hands!

SHOP HERE

Joey Wong
Editor
Constantly in pursuit of a multi-hyphenated career, Joey has written her way through fashion trends, youth culture and luxury retail in New York and Hong Kong. Beyond internet adventures tracking down the perfect vintage find, you can probably catch her sipping on her third oat milk latte of the day in the city’s newest café. She’s currently mourning the loss of TikTok in Hong Kong.