HONG KONG — Choked with incense and a mystical atmosphere, the Man Mo Temple here welcomed two unusual visiting deities last week: fashion superstar Marc Jacobs and supermodel Gisele Bündchen.
"My eyes are burning," the Brazilian bombshell squealed as bell-shaped coils overhead released their pungent smoke.
But Jacobs, his crushing jet lag notwithstanding, had no complaints in the eye department.
"I'm a smoker, so maybe I'm used to it," he quipped.
A fashion shoot in the crumbling 1847 structure was among the whirlwind of activities for Jacobs, in town for 45 hours to help christen Louis Vuitton's new flagship in the Landmark here, the latest megastore to open in this booming Asian city.
But before he set off on a marathon of interviews, a ribbon-cutting and a gala dinner and party, Jacobs performed a tourist ritual: lighting three incense sticks and sticking them in the sand in tandem with a wish.
"I know your wish," Bündchen said. "I'm psychic, don't you know."
Jacobs wouldn't disclose it, instead sharing the incense lore he just learned: "They go for three months," he said, pointing at the massive coils suspended from the ceiling.
Told visitors can alternatively write down their wish and stuff it into a drawer along with a generous cash offering to the gods, both protested.
"Buy a wish?" Jacobs asked rhetorically.
"Wishes should be for free," Bündchen concurred.
Given the number of collections Jacobs has to design in the coming weeks, he just might have wished for time to slow down enough that he might explore and discover this vibrant, fast-moving city.
The Causeway Bay district, heaving with crowds of young shoppers, is a hotbed for the latest streetwear trends. Jacobs' schedule was such that he wasn't able to see the loose, boyish jeans tucked into flat boots, nor the short parkas that are all the rage.
After the photo shoot, he managed a brief pit stop at Plum Blossoms, a gallery on Hollywood Road specializing in contemporary Chinese artists like Zhu Wei. And he said a highlight of his brief trip was a guided tour of the artworks hanging in the China Club, David Tang's swank private club atop an Art Deco tower in Central that is now dwarfed by futuristic glass and steel skyscrapers.
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