A RETAIL ROUND-UP OF THE CITY’S LOVELIEST
BOUTIQUES AND BRANDS
Shopping in this massive city can be overwhelming. Many readers have asked me for a shortlist of my favorite stores and best boutiques in Shanghai. So here I present to you the Shanghai Shopping Guide. It’s not quite finished. In fact, it never will be. This page is proudly a work in progress which I will continually edit into da bombest local shopping guide EVER. I hope this first draft will help you get a better sense of where to score cool fashion for a range of prices in Shanghai. And please let me know if you think I am missing any worthy stores. Here we go,in no particular order…
So freaking amazing. This well-edited boutique housed in a three storey immaculately converted lane house exclusively carries the best of Chinese designers. You must go see it, not just to shop, but to gain an appreciation for the magic that’s happening in China’s design community. It finally gives local talent the proper showcasing it deserves. Prices are upmarket. 184 Fumin Lu, by Changle Lu 富民路184号
Spectacular spectacles and shweeet shades at this so-cool-it-hurts shop. If you’re prone to losing your sunglasses, then maybe you should steer clear of Coterie, which specializes in the fancier side of the eyewear spectrum – Karen Walker, Dita, Lunettes Kollektion, Elizabeth & James and Thom Browne are just a few names in Coterie’s well-edited selection. Fine art for your face! Read the SSF post about Coterie here. RMB1,500-3,500 for a pair. 741-9 Julu Lu by Fumin Lu (5403 8608, www.coterie.cn)
Roommate reminds me of the posh studio of an impossibly cool it-girl with an envy-inducing wardrobe. Racks are filled with colorful, trendy colors imported from Korea. Think pastel blazers, whimsical jewelry, printed dresses and polka dot tops. These clothes run a little bit small (again, they’re from Korea), so taller girls with big butts and broad shoulders should bear that in mind. But that doesn’t mean you can’t leave with an adorable purse or fuzzy sweater. The store is run by a team of super sweet Korean stylists. Check out the post I did on Roommate. You also read their monthly e-zine, a real treat! Prices are about RMB400 up to RMB2,000. No.3, 205 Nanchang Lu, by Maoming Nan Lu 近茂名南路 南昌路205弄3号, 近瑞金二路(3424 0336, www.hee-j.com)
Started by two freakishly chic French girls, Olivia and Margaux, Bubble-Mood works like this. Each season, they create three capsule collections around three different themes (capturing different moods, hence bubble mood). The clothes epitomize that effortless Parisian cool style and are excellent quality. Prices are a bit expensive, RMB700 up to RMB3,000.Make an appointment in their showroom, Room 107, Building 1, 183 Wulumuqi Nan Lu乌鲁木齐南路183号1号楼107室 (www.bubble-mood.com)
For girls who don’t want to grow up, this is the boutique to find those funky pieces you’re craving to jazz up your closet. Merchandise is a sugary sweet mix of accessories (bling neclackes), party frocks (lime green bandage dresses) and cool daywear (brightly printed pajama style pants). Most of it comes from Hong Kong and South Korea. It’s playful, edgy (and a little overpriced… but you’re really getting unique stuff here). Read SSF’s post about C. Lee’s owner Eva here. Prices are RMB1,000 upward for clothes and accessories start at RMB300. 167 Xinle Lu, by Donghu Lu (directly across from Big Movie DVD store). 新乐路196号, 近东湖路 (5405 0668)
Also on Xinle Lu, EVA runs a slightly shady business, but I guess I shouldn’t pry where they get their real* designer clothes – contemporary womenswear brands like Rebecca Taylor, Marc Jacobs, Vanessa Bruno, Sonia Rykiel, Alice + Oliva, Philip Lim… shall I continue? These dresses (RMB800-1,400) are totally legit (ignoring that the clothing tags are slashed), says a friend who works in clothing manufacturing (Rebecca Taylor is her client). These clothes are ‘third shift‘ – made in the same factory with the same materials by the same workers, but just shadily sold out the back door. At EVA, I appreciate how the shop girls don’t hover or give me dirty looks when I beeline it for the sale rack, where I score great deals, like a rad (definitely real!) Rick Owens vest for RMB280. 88 Xinle Lu, by Xiangyang Lu 新乐路88号, 近襄阳路 (6415 2603)
Lolo Love Vintage
A retro fantasy-world, a candyland for the closet-crazed. After moving shop several times around Shanghai, Lolo Love Vintage has finally nestled into an antique lanehouse, spruced up with quirk via cacti, bambi statues and tchockies galore. Lolo traverses across the US and Europe to handpick only the most-worthy preworn items for her romantic store, a temple to all things fashion. Think lace wedding dresses, antique silk slips, razzle dazzle 80s getups and enough bodacious costume baubles to make your Barbie’s head spin off. All of the fabulousness comes a relatively steep price though. But chances are, the piece is so unique, it’s worth the splurge. Read more on Lolo Love Vintage here. // 2 Yongfu Lu, by Wuyuan Lu永福路2号, 近五原路 (6433 9987)
Another one for the dapper dudes out there. Here you can pay pretty pennies for the best of indie American and European brands like Opening Ceremony, Shiply & Halmos, Band of Outsiders and Surface to Air. This handsome shop features a keen edit of cool, all exquisitely merchandized and on display to tempt Shanghai’s most style-savvy gents. Keep an eye out for regular end of season sales, which offers generous discounts on the goods. // 777 Julu Lu, by Fumin Lu 巨鹿路777号, 近富民路 (5403 9869)
George Chen is one of my favorite local designers. Three Society is his menswear line, but he just started designing a line for women. Ladies, if you don’t mind borrowing from the boys, his slim trousers and interesting buttondowns are great handsome-chic investments. Prices are fair for quality, RMB500-RMB2,500. Click for a previous post I did about Three Society. 157 JinXian Lu, by Maoming Lu 进贤路157号，近茂名路
There are two TIPS stores on Nanchang Lu. One brand new, one seven-year old original. The new one is bigger, shinier and more expensive. It’s latest multi-brand buyer boutique in Shanghai, specializing in avant-garde streetwear. The store aspires to become Shanghai’s very own I.T or Joyce, showcasing mega-expensive, edgy cult labels from around the world, including Korea’s how and what, Germany’s Bless and Denmark’s Barbara Igongini. It’s really pricey, so this might be more of a place to browse than buy. 260 Nanchang Lu, by Ruijin Lu 南昌路260号，近瑞金路
I really love the funky little original TIPS that stocks interesting printed t-shirts made from gorgeous silk-cotton jersey. Softest tees ever. Don’t miss out on their sales, where you can score said tees for 50% off (RMB150). The rest of the store is devoted to their own line, Impulse, designed in Hong Kong. There is one annoying thing about this store: the sales chicks follow you like hawks (even more so than usual). 280 Nanchang Lu, by Maoming Nan Lu 南昌路280号, 近茂名南路(6467 4131)
By the way, this is the hipper-than-thou owner of TIPS, Yinjia.
Another great menswear store that features modern preppy staples with an urban twist. S2VS is the invention of Parson’s graduate and Jakarta-born New Yorker Sean William Salim, who believes that “menswear has to be absolutely down to earth and timeless.” Following that mantra, S2VS’s inventory has classic pieces with an all-American aesthetic punctuated by subtle touches of trends gathered from Europe. A dress shirt with his signature wooden buttons goes for around RMB480. 172 Nanchang Lu, by Sinan Lu 南昌路172号, 近思南路 (138 1714 5759, www.s2vs.com)
Philip Le Bac
Designer cashmere at wholesale prices. This place is almost too good to be true. See my gushing post here. They just opened their first retail store near the JW Marriott hotel in People’s Square. 273 Huangpi Bei Lu, by Nanjing Xi Lu 黄陂北路273号, 近南京西路 (5301 9279)
Beautiful scarves, mittens, blankets and hats spun from super soft yak down handmade with heirloom quality. Shokay yak down derives its unique origins from the mountainous Himalayan regions of Western China. Their fibers are hand-combed from the yaks that dwell there, whose ancient existences continue to serve as a life source for the Tibetan herders. (www.shokay.com)
William the Beekeeper
In this compact little store you can find a good selection of vintage and WBK’s own brand, Kaileeni, which features lovely feminine pieces like long flowy frocks and tight, backless dresses. WBK hosts Shanghai’s famous closet swaps that grow more popular each month. I also love WBK because it sells indie labels like Finch and Snoozer Loser, one of my favorite brands in Shanghai. Snoozer Loser is the brainchild of Sonia Tay, who dreams up whimsical prints which her team then silk-screen prints onto linen and cotton tunics, tops and dresses. Check out a post I’ve done on William the Beekeeper’s shop girl here. Here, here and here are some posts I’ve done about Snoozer Loser. 84 Fenyang Lu, by Fuxing Lu 汾阳路84号, 近复兴路 (www.williamthebeekeeper.com)
Yanye Handmade Shoes
This is my go-to place for custom-made shoes. The manager, who speaks perfect English and gives excellent customer service, tells me that Yanye makes 80 pairs of shoes per week. It goes without saying, they know what they’re doing. Men’s brogues run about RMB1,400 and women’s ankle boots, like the ones I got made here, will cost about RMB1,200, depending on how nice you are. 1363 Fuxing Zhong Lu, by Baoqing Lu 复兴中路1363号，近宝庆路(131 6270 5506)
Last but certainly not least is every female expat’s guilty shopping pleasure. We shop here like how you would shop at TJ Maxx: with very low expectations and the energy to browse, browse, browse. Star Places are all around town, and each of them look exactly the same: nondescript. With a glass façade, insane-asylum white walls and metals racks overstuffed with the cheapest clothes from Korean, Japanese and Chinese factories, you can sometimes find a real score. I just got an amazing vest made of burgundy ostrich feathers with a rabbit trim for RMB400. Cash only.
Last year, I wrote this about Star Place for the magazine… French girls might well burn us with their Esses after we reveal where they indulge their guilty pleasure for cheap and chic fashion: Star Place. Already popular among local Shanghainese, these nondescript stores with no signage can be easily overlooked. Once you’ve scouted one out, the fashion hunt continues inside: one must thoroughly sort through a sea of some horrendously tacky threads to score unique finds like funky knits and floral dresses imported from Korea and Hong Kong. Quality is quite good for the prices ranging from RMB50 to 400, so it’s easy to get carried away. Gold sequin vest for RMB150? Why not indeed? Instead of stocking your entire wardrobe with Star Place fixings, follow the fashion cues of posh Parisians who carefully select trendier items to go with understated classics. Now that you’ve got the scoop, next time Chloe or Claire vaguely responds to your inquiry about a lovely blouse with, “Oh, it’s just from some a leettle shop,” you’ll know exactly where she got it.
My favorite Star Place is on the corner of Fuxing Lu and Xiangyang Nan Lu… But here are a few others in downtown Shanghai….
64 Xinle Lu, near Xiangyang Bei Lu. 新乐路64号, 襄阳北路
1 Baoqing Lu, near Huaihai Zhong Lu. 宝庆路1号，近淮海中路
340 Nanchang Lu, near Maoming Nan Lu. 南昌路340号, 近茂名南路
251 Zhaojiabang Lu, near Shaanxi Nan Lu. 肇嘉浜路251号， 近陕西南路