Tag Archives: HKCEC

Beauty Spot: Cosmoprof Hong Kong 2011

I had heard of a mystical wonderland called Cosmoprof on other beauty blogs.

This mystical wonderland was a magical place where you could get sneak previews of new nail polish lines, discover secret cool cosmetics brands, get to try products so new they didn’t even have names, hob-nob with the great and the good of the make-up world and generally hang out with other beauty addicts. So I was extremely excited when an invitation to Cosmoprof landed in my letterbox!

Unfortunately, Cosmoprof turned out to be less a Wonderland and more a ‘Wonder what the hell I’m doing here’ land. Although at least I got this awesome visitor pass – yes, ‘Through The Looking Glass Blog’ is famous! Well, sort of.

Just for those not in know, Cosmoprof is a super-huge-massive-enormous beauty trade show that lands in the HKCEC once every year – with numerous other high-profile international destinations too. There are booths and exhibitors for every beauty product and machine you could think of (and probably a few you wish you couldn’t) but really, it’s for brands to find distributors/buyers and for businesses to find products. So quite how bloggers started coming along for the ride I’m not entirely sure!

Luckily, I went along with the gorgeous Georgie, who as a beauty salon owner actually had a valid reason for going. She was great company and her proper business credentials meant that I didn’t feel such a fraud!

Georgie ended up visiting Cosmoprof on all three days that it ran – and may I extend my deepest sympathies to her feet, which are probably bloodied stumps by now. Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I walked so much! The booths were spread over three or four floors, jam-packing each huge stadium-sized room like sardines in a tin (where I saw Kylie a few months before and where my position remained relatively stationary!)… suffice to say, I won’t be doing a fun-run, let alone a marathon, anytime soon! After just a few hours, I was knackered – the things I’ll do for make-up!

I was actually invited to Cosmoprof by the gorgeous Clara of MOR Cosmetics, an Australian brand I had never previously heard of. And, despite everything, I’m SO glad Clara did invite me because MOR Cosmetics are a definite keeper!

I was totally wow-ed by this brand and it was by far the highlight of the day – which had I known when I set out to visit them first thing, I might have planned to end things on a high instead! All of MOR Cosmetics’ products look and smell totally deluxe-ly divine and I wanted them all! They specialise mainly in bath and body care, with a few cute lip products too, but encased in the most beautiful, classical ancient Greek and Roman-inspired packaging.

Just look at this packaging and tell me it isn’t irresistible?! I honestly don’t know if I’d ever be able to rip off that beautiful embossed wrapping paper to use the stuff inside! The scents were just utterly delicious too – Georgie and I really loved the Lychee Flower Soap, whose light fresh fruity scent was near enough edible!

Unfortunately, MOR Cosmetics aren’t yet available in Hong Kong – although that might be a good thing as I’m sure large chunks of my bank balance would disappear into an MOR shaped hole! I think these perfectly-packaged pretties would go down a storm here (they remind me a little of Fresh, which is sold in Lane Crawford) and if you do live somewhere where MOR is available, the gift sets would make absolutely wonderful Christmas presents *hint hint*.

The ladies at MOR were also really lovely and welcoming, which unfortunately cannot be said of most of the booths I visited. I encountered plenty of really interesting and gorgeous products but sadly, once vendors found out that I didn’t have a business to stock, the conversation was over. Could I take photos? No. Could I read the brochure? No. Could I look more closely at the products? Take a guess what the answer was.

I instead took to snapping ninja photos, so excuse the poor quality!

Gosh Cosmetics had a fabulous display of their range – and I was both excited and disappointed to see they had so much that wasn’t available in Hong Kong. They had SO much make-up, much of it looked fabulous and, when I swatched some, the quality seemed good too. They also had a much more extensive range of skincare and body products, which I hope they bring over as all my Gosh experiences have been pretty great so far.

Of course, I had to get a photo of these nail glitters. I’ve read about them somewhere before and think this is such a fun idea! Basically, it’s a pot of dazzle dust that you stick your freshly-painted fingernail into for a glitzy glamorous glittering look! I asked and these WILL be coming to Hong Kong, sometime in 2012, and the price (as with all Gosh stuff) sounded very reasonable indeed!

Australian drugstore brand BYS also had a huge display of their cosmetics, which I pored over happily. Of course, I wasn’t allowed to take photos, but I’d already snapped a few so never mind! They had a massive range of nail polish, which I was salivating over, with some really innovative (and competitively-priced) products. There were tonnes of shatters, of course, but I was more interested in these Colour Change Polishes (which takes me back the days of my mood stone… and even further back to my childhood Barbie whose dress changed colour in different temperatures!) and UV Polishes that glow under UV lights in clubs, which is a totally awesome concept. [And you can just see to the left some very glittery and highly covetable Wonderland Polishes, no doubt inspired by OPI’s sell-out Alice In Wonderland collection.]

Meanwhile, these Animal Instincts palettes were just too pretty not to show you! I did learn that BYS do international shipping, so I’m currently sorting through their enormous online catalogue to sift through what I want!

I also spotted Barielle Nail Polish, which had a few standout colours (Georgie and I were obsessed with Falling Star, a lush sky blue with copper glitter), and Palladio Beauty, whose herbal lipsticks intrigued me – but again both aren’t sold here!

My other major lust moment of the day came with Golden Rose, who have some of their nail polishes in the Colormix vats here (and alas, none of their really cool stuff, like flakies and holos), but nothing else. Well, we are missing out BIG TIME. As you know, I’m obsessed with mineralised baked cosmically awesome eye shadows – and Golden Rose has a whole galaxy of these Terracotta Eyeshadows available! These were a huge range of stunning swirls of marbleised colour, glittery, shimmery, intensely-pigmented, multi-dimensional and super-soft to the touch. I bet they’re a hell of a lot more affordable than the MAC ones I keep being conned into buying!

I also really liked the gorgeous retro packaging of these Coca-Cola cosmetics. These were at the same booth as the Coca-Cola Lip Smackers that are currently available at Sasa/Watsons/Mannings so I’m hopeful these will be brought to HK. The line consisted of lip balms, glosses and body cream – the left is Vanilla Coke, the middle regular Coke and the right Cherry Coke. Vanilla was the one that smelt the most divine, whilst regular was my ultimate favourite packaging. [Note: I have a vested interest in these as my boyfriend is a Coca-Cola fiend and I bought him a framed vintage poster, very similar to these, last Christmas!]

And well, we all love Swarovksi-encrusted nail files and Hello Kitty cuteness, right?! I particularly love Geek Chic HK!

And finally, a few shots to show yow just how random Cosmoprof was. This is a poorly-attended yoga display, happening right in the middle of all the action with absolutely no-one but press paying attention!

And here is a man having a crazy-ass treatment done to his face. At the next stall, there was a woman with a dripping face-mask being (badly!) applied. Georgie and I pondered the purpose of an egg-shaped cocoon, only to walk round and discover a model wearing nothing but a bikini and glum expression slumped inside. No-one talking or interacting with her… too miserable a scene to take a picture of!

So there you have it! Cosmoprof – not quite the mystical wonderland of my wildest dreams but a mix of interesting and exhausting nonetheless! Even if non-one wanted to talk to me!

Cosmoprof Hong Kong 2011, 9-11 November, HKCEC.
Cosmoprof HK 2012 will be held on 14-16 November.

Kylie Minogue: Aphrodite Live @ HKCEC concert review

‘I’m fierce and I’m feeling mighty
I’m a golden girl, I’m an Aphrodite!’

And so with her show opener, Kylie (no surname required) set the agenda for her Aphrodite Live concert in HKCEC.

Fusing elements of Greek mythology with lavish Busby Berkley-style Broadway musical sequences, plus a dusting of trademark Kylie high campery on top (was there a male dancer who ever had a top on?!), Aphrodite Live delivered pure pop spectacle at the highest level. So that’s more costume changes than Kate Middleton on her American tour, high-flying acrobatics from dancers potentially responsible for a world shortage in baby oil, a 90-minute-plus crowd-pleasing set-list, an on-stage replica of the Parthenon and a few butt wiggles every now and then too. Who else could make singing on a golden chariot pulled along by a coterie of half-naked men seem the most normal thing in the world?

Believe it or not, even with fluffy wings on her ears (beat that, Hermes and your winged sandals), descending from a golden Pegasus or being embraced by a dancer whose angel wings put all future hen party efforts to shame, this was actually a scaled-down version of the Aphrodite: Les Folies tour that has been doing the rounds in the rest of the world. But thanks to Kylie’s effervescent stage presence, a rapturous crowd reception and razzle dazzle to spare, you barely noticed the missing much-vaunted ‘splash zone’ or that you couldn’t really see the dancers unless they were cavorting on high wires until the glittering festivities were all over anyway.

The all-star set-list, featuring new tracks from her latest album (the eponymous Aphrodite) plus old favourites and a few surprises too, was almost perfectly-judged. Once Kylie entered the fray wearing a Masters of Ceremony top hat complete with shiny gold basque, the evening truly rocketed up to Olympia – the hypnotic Cupid Boy was followed by a euphoric rendition of Spinning Around, an unabashed call to the dance floor in Get Outta My Way and a whizzingly joyous What Do I Have To Do. Elsewhere, the blissed-out dreamy beats of The One and In My Arms suited the Grecian goddess vibe here far better than they did the anonymous electronic mish-mash of parent album X, whilst there was no doubting the crowd favourite – chants of ‘La La La’ started practically before the opening chords of Can’t Get You Of My Head itself, almost raising the cockroach-roof of HKCEC in true rave-up style.

It’s nice of Kylie to provide an obvious toilet-break moment in the slow-jazz version of Slow (cue nightmares of the similarly-treated never-ending Locomotion from the Showgirl tour), meandering floaty number Everything Is Beautiful was another momentum-killer and Better Than Today probably isn’t a strong enough track for the closing section. However, I was downright smitten with her cover of Eurythmics’ classic There Must Be An Angel, a generously open-hearted version that added a enchanting gospel-feel to one of my favourite songs of all time – and for all those that criticise Kylie’s thin vocals, her trilling here was positively beatific.

An acapella version of If You Don’t Love Me served mainly as a vehicle for the audience to (loudly, continously) declare their undying love for her, and her near-inability to finish the song due to laughter just made it all the more charming. Meanwhile, the request section yielded a rollicking run through The Locomotion and I Should Be So Lucky (complete with reminiscences about bubble perms), whilst her costumes grew all the more insanely dazzling – one dress looked like shiny wrapping paper, another outfit featured a bejewelled swimming cap, another looked like it had claimed the life of an unsuspecting Muppet. Yes, it was a little bit corny, a little bit cheesy, a very big bit camp – but that just made it all so right. And if you can’t enjoy cheesy at a Kylie concert, then when can you?!

A true one-off in a sea of Gagas, Ke$has and Katy Perrys, Aphrodite Live proved exactly why Kylie deserves her place in the pop pantheon. Then again, she never had to prove it in the first place.

Kylie Minogue, Aphrodite: Live concert, Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, 1 July 2011