Destination: China: Shanghai
French Concession and Xintiandi
Xintiandi, which means new heaven and earth, is a nine-acre neighborhood of restored brick houses that serves as a Chinese version of South Street Seaport or Faneuil Hall. Its fabricated sense of history disguises what’s essentially an outdoor mall. It’s well done, though, with chic restaurants and shops housed in traditional sikhumen houses. My favorite boutiques follow. Annabel Lee (225 Shanxi South Rd.; 86-21-6445-8218; www.annabel-lee.com) for very pretty purses and silk and linen blouses. Layefe Home (No. 12) for stylish housewares on the ground floor and fashion on the second. Shanghai Trio (181 Taikang Rd.; 86-21-6355-2974) is the atelier of a French expat who pairs European standards with Asian textiles to create unusual bags and scarves. Geow Yong Tea Hong (Unit 1, #25; 86-21-6320-1692; www.geowyongtea.com) for beautifully packaged high-quality teas and teapots. Simply Life (159 Madang Rd.; 86-21-6387-5100; www.simplylife-sh.com) resembles a Chinese Conran Shop on the ground floor, but upstairs you’ll find Asianera hand-painted porcelain plates. Just outside Xintiandi but nearby is a branch of Blue Shanghai White (369 Zizhong Rd.; 86-21-6385-5406; www.blueshanghaiwhite.com), which sells hand-painted china from the ancient capital of Jingdezhen. The Ming-style wooden furniture and trays incorporating porcelain tiles are very attractive. For a custom qipao (classic Chinese dress), there are several boutiques with a great selection of silks and trims just a cab ride away: Tai Mong Tsai Couture (G3, 59 Maoming S. Rd.) and Jinzhiyuye (72 Maoming S. Rd.; 86-21-6431-4398) come highly recommended. Other notable shops in the area: Rouge Baiser (299-2 Fuxing West Rd.; 86-21-6431-8019), where a French designer has enlisted local artisans to create her beautiful embroidered linens and children’s clothes. There’s a Gallic delicacy and sophistication to the styles but the palette is vibrant. Old China Hand Reading Room (27 Shaoxing Rd.; 86-21-6473-2526) is a café carrying a great selection of books on old Shanghai and a pleasant place to linger. Owned by an expat with a great eye, Madame Mao’s Dowry (70 Fuxing West Rd.; 86-21-6437-1255) showcases wonderful antique Chinese furniture (a lacquered Chinese cabinet sells for $1,200), Mao memorabilia, like Mao statues from the ’60s, and modern silk and embroidered clothing and purses by local designers. The assortment is very seductive.
Road to Smarter Shopping
By Andrew Yang Published March 1, 2009 New York Times
“For most locals, Huaihai Road in Shanghai has always been one of the city’s go-to retail and shopping corridors. On this strip, department stores like Isetan and smaller shops like Levis and Miss Sixty and Calvin Klein blend into the streetscape.
Recently, a wave of upscale openings has raised the higher end of the often crowded boulevard, borrowing plenty of DNA from its retail origins….Read more
Among restaurants and stores mentioned:
- Shanghai edition of the members-only Kee Club (86-21-3395-0888)
- a new space for ShanghART (86-21-3395 0808; www.shanghart.com)
- an elaborate Barbie store farther down the street (550 Huaihai Road; www.barbieshanghai.com) with a cafe by chef David Laris
Taikang Lu is a burgeoning shopping area with lots of small boutiques mixed in with artists’ galleries and ad agencies. Take a taxi to 200 Taikang Rd., where an alley contains a number of interesting shops, such as Artique (86-21-6472-7071; www.artiqueshanghai.com) for embroidered linens. Go back out to Taikang Rd. and into Bldg. 200 to Room 409, Boutique Cashmere Lover (86-21-6473-7829), which offers lovely silk and cashmere knit sweaters and throws—from $20 for a baby sweater to $200 for a hand-knit pure cashmere sweater. Go back to Taikang Rd. At No. 3, Lane 210 is Insh (86-21-6466-9581; www.insh.com.cn), where you can find trendy Shanghai fashion that’s perfect for American teenagers who want a T-shirt with a twist.
Head down Lane 200, which is full of shops and galleries. On the right-hand side at Suite 106 is Marion Carsten (86-21-6415-3098; www.marioncarsten.com), an expat jeweler who incorporates semiprecious stones, pearls and carved coral in delicate silver chokers and earrings at reasonable prices. The most interesting pieces mix leather and pearls. In the nearby International Artist Factory building (25 South Shui Cheng Road), is Jooi Design (86-21-6473-6193; www.jooi.com) in Studio 201. Here, an enterprising Danish expat sells exquisite silk embroidered purses and pillows. In the same building, in Studio 501, at Fashion Jian Ping (86-21-6219-1676), you can find cashmere shawls with rabbit trim for $150 and intricately embroidered pashminas. Back outside, continue up the alley; on the left at No. 2 is Layefe (86-21-6466-2624), which sells home furnishings and fashion.
Farther along, La Vie showcases the clothes of a number of local designers but doesn’t seem to keep regular hours. In the courtyard, which has an outdoor café, be sure to check out the shops. IFF features pretty bags; Woo Scarf & Shawl (86-21-6473-8287) specializes in embroidered scarves and shawls at very good prices.
In No. 3, Three for Women carries European brands like Vanessa Bruno and Costume Nationale that you can try on in curious podlike dressing rooms. Two shops of note just off the Bund are Suzhou Cobblers (17 Fuzhou Rd.; 86-21-6321-7087; www.suzhou-cobblers.com), for beautifully embroidered silk shoes and purses, and Blue Shanghai White (17 Fuzhou Rd.; 86-21-6323-0856; www.blueshanghaiwhite.com), described in the Xintiandi section.
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