Fashion Speak: Overheard in Hong Kong

©Michael Weber; Courtesy the Upper House

The paparazzi-proof lounge where the who's who of the fashion world can speak their minds, unencumbered. 

There is a front-row seat in fashion that few have heard about—and even fewer have been invited to. Every month a crowd of VIPs in Hong Kong ascend to the Sky Lounge at the Upper House, the city’s most discreet five-star hotel. 

On the 49th floor, there are no models, but there is plenty of Champagne. Heiress Annabelle Bond and U.K. consul general Caroline Wilson are said to be among the regulars at the Upper House’s 90-minute discussions with fashion luminaries, who’ve included designers Victoria Beckham and Tom Dixon and blogger Nick Wooster. The only rules: no recordings, no press. “Everyone is talking about who the next speaker will be,” says Federico Tan, the cofounder of Social/Capital, a local branding agency. He says the candid intimacy has upped the hype. Speakers, away from recording devices and big crowds, become more open (and off-message) with personal anecdotes. “When we’re lucky,” says a regular who wants to remain anonymous (and be invited back), “we get a very heated debate.”