Shanghai Social Diary: Shanghai Girls Uncensored

Certain Shanghai girls are known for snagging sugar daddies to finance a lavish lifestyle, though the ultimate goal is marriage and children with an affluent man. At her wedding, only an extravagant wardrobe will do, including gowns like this one by designer Tsai Meiyue.

I recently returned from another fall season in Shanghai—that exotic, endlessly fascinating, and ever-changing city. I’ve compiled the best of the stories and pictures I gathered about social life and travels in China in diary form, and I’ll be posting them from time to time. Here’s another:


Shanghai was abuzz over Shanghai Girls Uncensored and Unsentimental: How to Marry Up and Stay There, a book by Korean-American author Mina Choi Hanbury-Tenison. As the New York City of China, Shanghai is unlike the rest of the country, and so are its women.

According to Mina, Shanghai girls have a reputation for being divas—opportunistic and materialistic, high maintenance, and focused on upward mobility, primarily through marriage. You’ll be trampled if you’re in their way, whether they’re zeroing in on a promotion, a man, or your man. Mina’s book represents the first time that one of these formidable specimens has talked on the record.

Shanghai Girls Uncensored and Unsentimental—the cover design is as eye-catching as its title.

Author Mina Choi Hanbury-Tenison.

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San Francisco Social Diary: A Masked Ball, a Ballet Luncheon, and the SF Fall Antiques Show

The unmasking of Pamela Joyner and Fred Giuffrida’s palatial 1909 home.


Nearly 300 from San Francisco, New York, and Silicon Valley gathered for a masked ball benefiting the Landmine Survivors Network (LSN) at the home of Pamela Joyner and her husband Fred Giuffrida. LSN was a co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Prize for Peace and raised more than $200,000 on this evening.

Giuffrida and Joyner, board co-chair and board member respectively of LSN held the event to raise awareness of the internationally recognized charity that assists individuals and communities affected by violent conflict to recover from trauma and reclaim their lives.

The Joyner-Giuffrida fundraiser also served to “unmask” their 1909 four-story home on Presidio Terrace, recently renovated by architect Dan Phipps, bringing it back to its former glamour.

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Los Angeles Social Diary: Chanel’s New Flagship

Rodeo Drive and the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.


Chanel unveiled its newly redesigned flagship store in Beverly Hills, and for the opening partnered with P.S. Arts, the Los Angeles-based organization that raises funds for arts education in public schools.

The evening’s chairs were: Maria Bell (who chaired The National Arts Awards in NYC in October), Rachel Bilson, Susan Casden, Kristin Davis, Zooey Deschanel, Ginnifer Goodwin, Kelly Fisher Katz, Kate Mara, Robin McMonigle, Carolyn Powers, Carla Sands, Elizabeth Stewart, Kerry Washington, and Candie Weitz.

Internationally acclaimed New York-based architect Peter Marino designed this smashing Chanel Boutique, the new focus on Rodeo Drive, dubbed the Madison Avenue of Beverly Hills by some.

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San Francisco Social Diary: Vivienne Westwood at the De Young Museum and the SF Decorator Showcase

A view of San Francisco Bay from the terrace of the Decorator Showcase.


I knew I was in for a jolly good time when I arrived at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park and an empty champagne bottle rested between the paws of the Egyptian Sphinx out front.

The invitation stated it perfectly. “Come celebrate Vivienne Westwood – a designer who has shocked, amused, and impressed us for over 30 years!”

I heard the museum wanted to draw a hipper, younger crowd so it became the sole U.S. importer of this Victoria and Albert Museum exhibit, joining Australia, Shanghai, Taipei, Tokyo, Dusseldorf, and Bangkok.

Of course, Westwood drew a crowd, with her bright copper hair set off by her grey and black frock. She’s the notorious Queen of Punk, the one who created such a stir, and a new fashion genre for that matter, with her designs for The Sex Pistols, the British Punk Rockers of the 1970s.

That evening, a Dance Party followed the VIP reception. Hot lighting, abundant bars – plenty were seen drinking those triple sized martinis – and DJ Shissla’s music mix kept the joint jumping into the wee hours.

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San Francisco Social Diary: Winter Fashion Events

Panoramic view east toward Treasure Island and Bay Bridge.


Seems like every week is Fashion Week in San Francisco. The newly expanded Louis Vuitton Maison opened in Union Square with a private dinner hosted by LV Chairman and CEO Yves Carcelle and LV North America President and CEO Daniel Lalonde.

Did you know that Louis Vuitton luxury brand, a member of LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) since 1987, boasts 367 stores in 55 countries?

Yves Carcelle confided that the new store, the largest in the US, “definitely will has some surprises for our customers.”

The unique “Maison” concept has been immensely successful in Paris, Hong Kong, Taipei and New York with the marrying of “luxury, leisure, art and culture.”

The fashion savvy guests list included Mayor Gavin Newsom, former Mayor Willie Brown, Vanessa Getty, Kimberly Bini in from LA, California artist Shell Cardon and hubby Craig, a media and entertainment lawyer, and Hooman, DJ for Alice radio.

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San Francisco Social Diary: Fashion Week and Berkeley’s Bancroft Library Salutes Joan Didion

San Francisco Design Center scene of opening night couture show.


San Francisco Fashion Week kicked off its third year with the Spring 2006 collections in the Galleria Atrium at the San Francisco Design Center.

Created and produced by New York transplant Erika Gessin of Mystery Girl Productions, the five days of 18 runway shows spotlighted established fashion designers, along with young up-and-comers.

According to Erika, “San Francisco is full of people who are innovative, creative, and have a distinct style that reflects an irreverent yet intelligent vibe.”

The shows were formerly held in the Palace of Fine Arts and the W Hotel, but the surging popularity of SF’s Fashion Week demanded a newer, and more importantly, larger venue. For the first time, the Galleria allowed a 40-foot-long runway so the models were able to really strut their stuff.

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San Francisco Social Diary: Oscar de la Renta’s Fashion Show at Lake Tahoe

Thunderbird on Lake Tahoe — A ‘Rat Pack’ Favorite.

Oscar de la Renta’s Fashion Show at Lake Tahoe

For generations old-guard San Franciscans have summered at Lake Tahoe in the picturesque Sierra Nevada. The sapphire blue lake, one of the largest and deepest alpine lakes in North America, measures 22 miles long and 12 miles wide. With its split personality — a third is in Nevada, the other two thirds is in California — the area boasts something for everyone.

The lure of the Lake is its old-fashioned charm of outdoor life and family fun: swimming, boating, water skiing — in wetsuits because its cold — fishing, camping, picnicking, house partying, hiking or just lazing on the beach.

But if that’s too quiet, the Nevada side offers exciting excursions to sample casino life that plays 24/7. You just might get lucky and win enough to pay for your trip.

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