My story with Monki, the Scandinavian street-style sister brand to H&M, has been a potted one. But, and I’m going to spoil it now for you all, it’s one with a happy ending – completely down to Gloria, their superstar PR in HK.
When it first arrived in Hong Kong, I rolled up to their Mong Kok store excited at the prospect of something new (no Monkis in the UK back then!) – but I was hugely disappointed. Everything was black, baggy and oversized or black, cropped and oversized, there were far too many pairs of leggings for me to process and overall, the whole thing was far too fashion-forward for me. I scuttled back to H&M tail between my legs and vowed never to return.
I then wrote an article criticising Monki and wished Cos, another of H&M sister’s brands, would make the trip to the 852 instead. Enter Gloria, who went to the trouble of finding my email address, messaged me to say that she was sad that my experiences at Monki had been disappointing – but wondered had I been recently, as actually Monki had had a bit of a style makeover. I took a look at the pictures and was amazed. Colour! Non-baggy! Not all leggings!
Then when my far more fashionable friend Iris came to HK, I found myself in Monki, actually shopping – and buying! – an amazing egg-yolk yellow dress which looked so awesome that a Mainlander saw me wearing it in the changing room and immediately ordered her mother to go find it in the store for her. (She looked rubbish in it though, what can you do?!)
And that’s how I found myself at Monki’s Spring/Summer 2012 press preview, a total convert!
Even though it’s still a little gloomy and grey here in Hong Kong, Monki’s Spring/Summer collection absolutely had me in the mood for COLOUR. It’s a delicious delectable range of clothes designed to get you in the mood for summer sunshine stat!
My favourite range of the new season was California Girl, a sorbet dream of peachy pastels, whimsical prints, light fabrics and beachy romances. It housed my absolute favourite item of the day – this gorgeous dress with a truly scrumptious strawberry and blueberry print.
Second favourite was Welcome To The Jungle, a fiesta of tropical prints that channelled Stella McCartney’s fruit prints from previous seasons. Fruity, tribal and totally summer. More about THAT parrot print jumper later!
There was also Nautical But Nice, a pretty self-explanatory theme that I feel we’ve seen very often but which Monki carried off with aplomb here. It’s anchors away with nautical stripes, bright reds and navy blues, and lots of maritime twists. Accessories in particular for this range are rocking – lots of cute bags, knotted belts and jaunty scarves.
Then there was Suprematism, a slickly-cut range of geometric and minimalist tailored nudes. Not my favourite (hence no photos) but a little reminiscent of Cos if you’re desperate!
For me, where Monki stands out this season are its accessories – a sheer wealth of treasures so reasonably-priced that you can afford to stock up and stack ‘em high!
I was obsessed with the printed scarves in particular and ended up with about five on my wish-list. See above!
Shoes were also chunky and eminently wearable looking, whilst I also loved a cheap and cheerful watermelon clutch – which I was delighted to then find in the goodie bag on the way home!
There were models there but, let’s face it, models look great whatever you throw at them. I was far more interested in how the ‘real people’ had styled their outfits. My girl Gloria was looking awesome in her green ensemble – no prizes for guessing what range that jungle-print blouse is from! I really love the brown lattice-belt that pulls everything together.
If I was let loose on Monki’s dressing-up box, I think Sandy’s look would probably be what I’d end up with. I love me some print knitwear, and this parrot-motif black jumper ticks all my boxes (another one that ended up on my wishlist!). Teamed perfectly with a bright complimentary colour-pop mini and a trusty pair of opaque black tights – with hair expertly swished over one shoulder! – put me down for this entire outfit please!
So for Spring/Summer 2012, Monki continues its irrepressible march into my good books! Fun colours and themes, quirky and unusual prints and all at prices that mean my wallet still has plenty of room to splurge on nail polish every other week – Monki here I come!
Monki, Shop L1/29-31, Langham Place, 8 Argyle Street, Mong Kok, Hong Kong, 3585 8026