2023 in review: The triumphs, losses and what lies ahead

What a year 2023 has been! David Ho looks at the past 12 months in the rearview mirror

Photo: Art Basel

It’s hard to believe that it was only earlier this year that Hong Kong finally did away with its border restrictions and mask mandates. But once it did, the city roared back to life. It was art and parties galore this year, starting when Art Basel and Art Central came back for their post-pandemic runs in the first quarter. The art fever continued through the year, especially in October when the Digital Art Fair, Fine Art Asia, Ink Asia, and a host of other art events took place that month. For next year, the art event calendar is likely to follow the same cycle but on a much bigger scale.

Photo: Belmond

Revenge travel also became a thing. Best believe we clocked in the airline miles as soon as we could to see the world from beyond a Zoom call. From checking out art installations in top hotels to luxuriating in countryside castles, we crammed in as much as we could in as many destinations as possible, near and far. With hospitality groups like Belmond laying out ambitious expansion plans, you bet 2024 is going to be full of places to go and reasons to explore.

Photo: Dior

We were all watching with bated breath as Everything Everywhere All at Once swept up the wins at award shows leading up to the 95th Academy Awards. Michelle Yeoh made us all proud when she finally won the Oscar for best actress, becoming the first Asian to do so.

Photo: Instagram @barbiethemovie

Speaking of films, this summer was all about your favourite childhood icons as Barbie The Movie and Disney’s The Little Mermaid hit the big screen. Given Barbie‘s billion-dollar success at the box office, we are expecting to see many more legacy toys get the big screen treatment over the next few years.

Photo: Getty Images

We are also glad that the strikes in Hollywood by writers and actors have now been resolved. There were no lack of brilliant shows on the TV screen this year and we want to see the stars of shows like Beef on Netflix get their dues during awards season next year.

In music, Beyoncé’s Renaissance continued as her album of the same title won big and broke records at the Grammy awards. Her subsequent tour and movie has only further solidified her status as the Queen Bey. Other music girlies we love also got their dues in other ways. In her first year as a free woman after a 13-year conservatorship, Britney Spears took a break from spinning around on Instagram to finally share her truth in the memoir – The Woman in Me. Besides the juicy and scathing revelations of former beaus, the sobering accounts of her treatment under the conservatorship outlined in the book served as a mirror to examine the way society treats women and mental health.

Along the way, we also had to say farewell to some of our most beloved stars. CoCo Lee’s untimely passing had us reflecting on her trailblazing time on this plane, and many stars also shared their tributes to the much beloved singer. Other famous passings that shook us were Matthew Perry from Friends, Tina Turner, Sinead O’Connor, Angus Cloud of Euphoria, and many more.

Photo: Calvin Klein

On a brighter note, the stars of this region see their stocks rise higher than ever. Korean celebrities continued snapping up all the endorsement deals from major luxury brands, and we also saw many more Thai stars becoming faces for the big fashion maisons. We dove into the star making machinery of Thailand’s boys love phenomena, which has produced some of the country’s biggest stars. This year, Win Metawin became a Prada ambassador in January, while his 2gether co-star Bright Vachirawit Chivaaree became the face (and body) for Calvin Klein. We have good reason to believe more Thai stars will be taking their place as ambassadors for huge fashion brands in the near future.

Photo: Louis Vuitton

In terms of fashion, Hong Kong was all abuzz when Louis Vuitton decided to debut its pre-fall menswear collection for 2024 by Pharrell Williams in Hong Kong. That was easily the event of the year for many in the Fragrant Harbour, generating as much excitement as the Lagerfeld-themed Met Gala.

With Hong Kong to serve as the runway for Dior’s menswear pre-fall show in the first quarter of 2024, marking the maison’s return to the city for a show after eight years, more excitement is already in store for us.

Also see: BODW speakers on ways to achieve sustainability in luxury fashion

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