We recently gave you the lowdown on where to sleep in style in Shanghai, and today we're shining the same spotlight on the city's thriving shopping scene as we unearth the best boutiques, independent designers and one of a kind finds...
Shanghai is famous for its low-priced, high quality silks and other materials, and with the young and newly-wealthy Shanghainese population so passionate about fashion and individual style, industry-watchers are pondering how long it will be before Shanghai overtakes Tokyo as the fashion capital of Asia.
Stores at the heart of this gradual revolution include Raffles Privato in Xintiandi; self-billed as an 'incubator' concept store for the cutting-edge work of graduate fashion designers from the Raffles Design Institute. Similarly hip venues include Style Vader Space (SVS); an edgy menswear outlet selling cool printed t-shirts and colourful jeans, Helen Lee; a boutique housing the eponymous clothing line of one of China's hottest young designers (and owner of already-established brand INSH), and 205 Boutique, which is actually a hub store for several hotly-tipped design concessions including Roomate, a space stocked with affordable, eclectic womenswear run by a group of Korean fashion bloggers.
Raffles Privato: Unit L231, Xintiandi Style, 245 Madang Lu Style Vader Space: 228 Jinxian Lu, by Shanxi Nan Lu Helen Lee: 172 Fumin Lu, near Julu Lu 205 Boutique: 205 Nanchang Lu, near Shaanxi Nan Lu, Luwan district
Shoes and accessories
Foot fetish? Mary Ching is a British-born Chinese designer whose eye-popping shoe designs have made her flagship boutique in upmarket Ferguson Lane a must-visit destination for footwear fanatics - shop here for outrageous platform stilletos and luxury cashmere slippers in a wide range of shades and textures.
Flying Scissors is a homegrown leather accessories brand with a vaguely punk aesthetic specialising in zip-embellished bags and clutches, belts, wallets, leather satchels and overnight holdalls. For vintage glasses (of the reading kind) head straight to tiny Shanghai Code for out-of-production retro eyewear from the 1940s to early 1990s. Alice is a sophisticated jewellery boutique with a modern, duck-egg blue interior and pared-down take on Chinese jade and other semi-precious gems. No clunky, garish items here, just delicate necklaces, brooches and pendants sparingly displayed in gorgeous glass specimen jars.
Mary Ching: Studio 209, Ferguson Lane, 376 Wukang Lu, near Hunan Lu Flying Scissors: Zizhong Lu, 349-1 Shanghai Shanghai Code: Back Door, No.2, Lane 274 Taikang Road Alice: 824 Julu Lu, nr Fumin Lu, Jingan district
Homeware and beauty
Platane Home & Lifestyle have two stores in Shanghai; one in the arty enclave of Tianzifang and the other in the 1930s Normandie Apartments building on elegant Wukang Road. Both stock a well-curated mix of local and imported homeware items, from handpainted crockery and ceramics to cashmere cushions and fancy stationery. Set in the former French Concession, sweet-smelling Eco & More's flagship store stocks an exhaustive range of ecologically-sound lotions and potions for the body and home, including a line of baby care products and luxury scented candles.
Luxury skincare emporium Ban Yan Ka La will leave you feeling equally virtuous - its soaps and shampoos are made from organic herbal ingredients; ranges include Chinese Mulberry, goji berry and lotus seed.
For propaganda poster art and retro framed photos of 1950s China head to the Madame Mao's Dowry store where you'll also be able to pick up kitsch painted enamelware tins and plates for an unusual souvenir.
Platane Home & Lifestyle: 156, Taikang Lu, near Sinan Road & 439 Wukang Lu, near Huai Hai Road Eco & More: Room 412, 570 Yongjia Lu, near Yueyang Lu, Ban Yan Ka La: 1221 Changle Lu, near Wulumuqi Bei Lu Madame Mao's Dowry: 207 Fumin Lu, near Julu Lu, Jingan district Virgin Atlantic operates a daily flight to Shanghai from London Heathrow.
Thanks to photographer Robert S. Donovan for the header shot.
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About the author: MaxineMaxine Sheppard
Maxine is the editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.