Over the last twenty years, Hong Kong fashion retailer I.T has built an empire that spans over thirty brands and includes dozens of locations throughout the city. In order to mark their twentieth birthday on Saturday, the group held I.T XX, the most celebrity-filled event in recent memory. A who’s who of Hong Kong’s fashion, entertainment and nightlife elite turned out for the event. The occasion fetched a purported 1300 RSVPs for a capacity of around 600 guests!
Perhaps the location itself was also a draw. The venue for the celebration was the brand new W Hotel attached to Elements shopping center in West Kowloon. Though attendance traditionally suffers when an event takes place on Kowloon-side, the new neighborhood (built on reclaimed land,) seems to be a strong exception.
Coming from a dinner on Canton Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, I’m probably the only guest to arrive at the venue on foot!
I decided to walk from Harbor City to the W Hotel to take in the view. The West Kowloon neighborhood has some of the most stunning views of Hong Kong’s skyline. I walked alongside a stretch of land that has yet to be developed.
I’ve heard that a museum, an arts center and a large concert hall are among the proposed buildings. Currently it’s simply a big construction zone.
I arrived at the event early at the urging of my friend who told me about the predicted turnout. His advice was good! In order to get to the site of the party – a ballroom on the seventh floor of the hotel, guests needed to take an elevator. As Hong Kong Hustle readers know, elevators are often major bottlenecks at events – especially when guests tend to arrive all at once.
After passing through the reception on the seventh floor, the venue was divided into two parts. A large-ish ballroom and a much smaller VIP room. The ballroom contained two bars and a stage at the far end.
There were banks of seats in both rooms and the ceiling was several stories high. Decorations were minimal but tasteful. A green laser constantly wrote out I.T XX on the side of the ballroom wall.
I spotted one large decoration hanging above the stage. It looked something like an infinity symbol tied in a knot.
Does it make sense to have a VIP room?
As usual, later in the evening, the VIP room was completely packed. It became difficult to move with people standing elbow-to-elbow.
The concept of a VIP room is somewhat off at events these days. With the large turnout in VIP sections, the initial reason for having a VIP area – to cordon off high-profile individuals and control the level of service, ceases to work. Additionally, the cost of setting up a separate VIP area often brings many disadvantages and logistical problems to an event. Aside from diminishing goodwill among attendees; crowd control, bathrooms, entrance points, access to bars, and the view of performances are all complicated by creating a party within a party. It’s burdensome and few recent events have been able to escape issues related to carving up the space.
The smoking section?
One major problem for indoor-only venues, especially hotels, is cigarette smoking. Guests are accustomed to smoking at will in Hong Kong’s clubs and bars. Attending a party at night they seldom can withhold the urge to smoke. As the event wore on, the bathrooms became smokey and I witnessed the hotel security fight a losing battle restraining the guests.
M.C. Gold Mountain, Killa Kela and the band
The entertainment for the night featured d.j. J Cue playing Hip Hop and R&B. He played a good selection of N.Y. Hip Hop songs which he cut back and forth.
The host for the night was M.C. Gold Mountain. The star attraction was Killa Kella, whose performances have wowed (or ‘wahhhed’) audiences in Hong Kong on several previous occasions.
A live band made up of a top local drummer, saxophonist, and M.C. Gold Mountain performed, sometimes joined by Killa Kela.
Although watching a human beat-box performance is part spectacle, (especially considering that they can create and recreate so many different sounds using their mouths,) the deeper layer of appreciation lays in knowing the music they reference within their routines. For example, Killa Kela did a rendition (complete with vocals!) of Donna Summer’s Disco classic, “Love to Love You Baby“. But as one local friend put it to me afterwards, she knew something was there, but she didn’t have the same level of music knowledge to fully get it. Even so, the crowd in the main room did a good job of following along.
The amount of champagne consumed at I.T XX was enormous. Despite the massive turnout, the service was better than usual. If there is something akin to a bottom-less glass of champagne, it could be found at this event. Waiters were attentive and were constantly buzzing around replenishing glasses in both rooms. Perhaps due to this over abundance, the vibe was celebratory and the diverse crowd was in a happier than usual mood.
I decided to head back to Hong Kong Island for a taste of Central’s nightlife at around 1:30 am. The party was still going strong, though it was slightly less crowded than before. One sure sign that it’s been a major event – you bump into people you haven’t seen in years, which was certainly the case on Saturday. Happy twentieth anniversary I.T and congratulations on a great party!
(A quick note: The I.T fashion conglomerate is made up of a bouquet of single-brand stores, multi-brand stores, licensed brands and in-house brands. The signature I.T shops stock a variety of top international designers, while stand-alone shops carry the name of the individual brand. In particular, the group has been successful serving as the local partner for a large number of foreign designers. The I.T portfolio includes: I.T, i.t, 5cm, Anna Sui, A.P.C., Ann Demeulemeester, b+ab, BAPE, Billionaire Boys Club, Beams Boy, Cabane de Zucca, Cacharel, Camper, Carhartt, Chocolate, Comme des Garcons, Double-Park, FCUK, Fingercroxx, F.I.L., Frapbois, Fred Perry, Hoods, Isabel Marant, Izzue, Martin Margiela, Mercibeaucoup, Tsumori Chisato, Underground, Venilla Suite and Vivayou.
For more information about I.T you can check out their website here.)
This was the WORST PARTY ever!
It was SO DISORGANISED!
The organisers should be ashamed of (1) over-inviting by 1,000 people, (2) NIL crowd control or security, (3) no one telling all the people in the line what was going on, (4) not even letting celebs in, it was so embarrassing for them!, (5) the fact that it cost HK$200 for a glass of champagne at the lobby bar, that some guests thought was part of the party, (6) the overall chaos of the party, (7) the horrible rich socialites that came
Wow! You sound angry and it’s even been a few days! You must have had the absolute worst night.
I would have been in the exact same position as you if I hadn’t arrived early. I was there nearly at 10 pm. When I got to the W hotel I had already spotted several groups of my friends hanging out waiting for more friends to arrive before heading up.
I was fortunate because my friend had warned me earlier that it was going to be crowded. I had a very similar experience many years ago going to a party at Aqua. It’s the worst when your name is even on the list and you still can’t get in. (It’s even worse if you’re trying to impress someone and you lose face because you can’t get in!)
There’s not much you can do about elevators because people tend to arrive all at once – fashionably late. The key to smoothing the operation would be to have people on the ground with common sense – which is often lacking! I’ve nearly gotten into physical fights with the security because they occasionally do things the wrong way, such as letting in people who bring their invites, rather than the people who RSVP’d!
Perhaps it would have been more efficient to do the guest check-in downstairs, rather than upstairs at the venue through a single door. The way it was, it would have gotten jammed up with just twenty people arriving at the same time (in reality, it was way more than that.) Plus, if people were waiting for a friend to get them in, or were rejected, they probably just stood around making the space even more congested. It must have been stressful for the people doing the guest list upstairs as well.
If it makes you feel any better, I know there were also some big names that couldn’t make it in. The organizers themselves will confess to you that it was chaos after a certain time of the night, and would probably apologize for it.
Thanks for your feedback.
I arrived at exactly 1030pm and I waited 25mins before I called it quits — and YES, i had been invited by I.T and they rsvp’d for me.
Yes, the organisation was terrible… Actually, it was NON-EXISTENT.
At least at the Undercover party at Adrenaline, those organisers went through the huge lines and shouted out in English and Cantonese, IF YOU ARE NOT ON THE GUEST LIST, PLEASE STEP OUT OF THE LINE AS YOU WILL NOT GET IN.
Props up to them for being professional.