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What ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Author Kevin Kwan Can’t Live Without

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair, but the hand sanitizer and the electric toothbrush. We asked Kevin Kwan, whose novel Rich People Problems comes out on Tuesday (the third in a series that includes Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend), which items he can’t live without.

Maybe I’m a freak, but I think tea tastes better when it’s made from a teapot versus an electric kettle. I love this one — I have it in black — because it’s so simple and elegant. This company brought enamel to Japan and has been making this teapot since 1926. You put it on your stove and just boil it. I also use it to water plants because it has the perfect spout. I’ll use it for pour-over coffee, but only when my friends come over because I don’t drink coffee myself.

It’s funny: For years and years, I would hop from one skin-care product to another, but I always had little bits of annoying acne here and there. Nothing full-blown, but I would do these expensive cleansers from Europe, and then I was on Accutane and took recommendations from my dermatologists, and it never really went away. Then one day, I was with someone who shall remain unnamed, and she told me she only used Proactiv, and I said, “Isn’t that for people with acne?” And she said, “That’s why I don’t have acne.” And she is one of these beautiful people with the most flawless complexion. That was maybe 17 years ago, and I started using it — and within two weeks, I didn’t have any acne. I haven’t had any problems since — at all. There are times I travel and forget to bring it, and if I don’t use it for more than two days, I break out. My skin is addicted to it.

What can I say? I have one in every color of the rainbow. They’re the staple. They’re so comfortable and so flattering. I’m wearing one right now actually. You can wear it when it’s warm outside, and throw a blazer on and feel dressy. I buy them in bulk — they’re like my version of a Hanes T-shirt. Something about the cotton blend feels so good and cool against the skin. Also, the way it drapes is great. I’m a V-neck kind of guy, too, because I think it’s just a bit dressier.

This is the shower gel I use every day. It comes from Capri, and it’s made by Carthusian monks who’ve been using the same recipe for centuries. It smells like the ocean and reminds me of the island, which is my favorite place in the world and somewhere I go every summer. We’re all so stressed, and taking a shower is a nice meditative moment for me — it’s an everyday luxury to breathe this in.


Because I travel so much these days, this has become my staple. It’s the perfect carry-on size. A lot of times, I have to take small puddle jumpers, and carry-ons can be too big, but this is the perfectly sized duffel made in Rome — the strap length can actually be made to measure and customized to your body so that it hits right above your hip. I’ve had other duffels in the past, and when you’re running to catch a plane, you know how it will uncomfortably keep hitting you? That doesn’t happen at all with this bag. Everywhere I go, people say, “Oh my god, where did you get that?” I like that it’s more distinctive and simple than something with a brand name or insignia. And we don’t have to name those, but you know what I’m talking about. I don’t wear anything with logos or symbols ever. That actually started in middle school when I’d see people in Polo shirts with that little logo. I thought it was so obnoxious.

It’s a little company in Vancouver where they do these hand-knit slippers, and they’re all lined in sheepskin — they’re absolutely amazing. Living in my prewar New York apartment, it gets cold all winter long, so I just slip these on. I bring them to the country and walk around in them outside, so they have really well-worn leather soles. They’re actually good indoors or out! I’ve had the one pair for six years. You actually throw them in the wash every year — it tightens the knit and cleans the skin, and they look brand-new again. It’s the ultimate. I saw them on a really good friend of mine a few years ago, while we were traveling. He wore them hiking, and I asked him what those shoes were. He took them off and told me I had to try them on. I was hooked. It’s like you’re wearing a pillow.

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What Crazy Rich Asians Author Kevin Kwan Can’t Live Without