China’s second city dazzles with old-world mystique and a futuristic skyline, a place where past, present and future collide to create a cosmopolitan metropolis that is at the forefront of art, design and fashion. We have partnered with Quintessentially Lifestyle to curate the top 10 boutiques in Shanghai that have helped it become the shopping capital it is today.
Shang Xia (main image)
Stepping into the original Shang Xia store is like stepping into a brilliant-white cave, where the hustle and bustle of the city slips away as soon as you take a sip of the tea you are offered upon entry. Inspired by traditional Chinese crafts, each item of clothing, furniture, artwork and jewellery on display exudes a contemporary elegance of design. Whilst it is not cheap, every piece from this Hermès-backed brand is a sound investment to be coveted forever.
Qiu Hao is arguably one of Shanghai’s, if not China’s, most avant garde fashion figures, whose cutting-edge designs play with texture and proportion in a way that is both conceptual and commercial. Think Maison Martin Margiela-inspired garments that are infused with a subtle Chinese philosophy and favoured by local fashionistas and stylists looking for a remedy to the routinely feminine styles.
Where What Who
The worlds of music and fashion collide at Where What Who, an independent boutique that showcases designs from designers Bono and Denise Tang. A rock and roll spirit runs through their veins and into their clothes, as Jimi Hendrix and Debbie Harry’s iconic looks of the 60s and 70s are re-imaging in contemporary and very wearable garments.
Youthful and contemporary, Helen Lee presents clean, wearable fashion that evokes the energy of the city that it comes from. A neutral, muted palette pervades both the boutique and collection, which is elevated through a quality of craftsmanship and attention to detail. Ideal office-to-evening transition wear.
Designer Christine Lau blends retro elements and cuts with original prints to create a fun, feminine brand that appeals to those that approach fashion from a playful angle. Chictopia’s popularity emerges from its wearability and quirky elegance.
Xinlelu is one of Shanghai’s premier independent multi-brand boutique that enjoys both an online and offline presence. It boasts two physical locations in Shanghai, a showroom in the French Concession and a boutique in Jing’An, both of which succeed in bridging the gap between luxury and fast fashion, presenting a carefully edited selection of emerging designers including Hong Kong favourite Tangram, Singaporean label Iabel Aijek and French-Shanghai brand Markise.
Alter Concept Store
Offering a solution to what it sees as the homogenisation of major luxury brands, Alter curates edgy and innovative designers and presents them within its stunning M.C. Escher-inspired space that plays with perspective and perception. Staff are friendly and knowledgeable, a welcome surprise from a fashion forward boutique, and the space is ideal for browsing pieces from designers including Thakoon, Jason Wu and Simone Rocha.
Beijing-based fashion and design retailer Triple Major set up shop in Shanghai in 2012 on the historic publishing street of Shaoxing Road. Bringing its individual brand of multi-label curation, the Shanghai boutique occupies all four floors of its building, offering discerning fashionistas a spectacular choice from some of the best local and international designers, including Annitian, BLESS, Boundless and more, as well as homeware and lifestyle products.
Lolo Love Vintage
The queen of Shanghai’s vintage scene, Lolo Love Vintage now boasts three locations around the city. Our favourite is the largest, housed in a former art gallery and whose vast space is bedecked with crystal chandeliers and an unrivalled range of vintage wares that spans the 20s to the 80s. Our advice is to set aside an hour or two to really have a rummage and unearth those vintage gems.
The Wedding by La Vie
Award-winning Shanghai-based designer Ji Cheng effortlessly fuses Chinese elements with western designs and her brand, La Vie by Ji Cheng has shown at Singapore International Fashion Week and China Fashion Week. At The Wedding by La Vie, as the name suggests, she showcases beautiful and bespoke wedding and party gowns ideal for the sartorially savvy, independent woman.
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