Don't be surprised when you hear seasoned travelers (and shoppers) refer to Shanghai as the "Paris of the East." While the two cities have many differences, they have much in common on the fashion front; Shanghai (like the City of Light) is a shopper’s paradise. As China's style capital, Shanghai is home to a population of insatiable shopping addicts—and the fashion landscape is primed to cater to their favorite pastime. This bustling metropolis has become one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, with all the luxury brands you are already familiar with...and then some. Expect streets lined with luxury labels, boisterous plazas, colorful open-air markets, glitzy malls and trendy unique boutiques.
The endless luxury offerings make sense once you consider the stats: more than half of the world's retail development resides in China, with 35 million square feet currently under construction in Shanghai alone. Major roads like Huaihai Road and West Nanjing Road are lined with shiny new malls—which are home to glittering flagships for key labels like Prada, Chanel and the like. Boutique luxury brands to love—like Isabel Marant and Victoria Beckham—fill the racks in department stores like Lane Crawford. In addition, expect to find edgy international shops, like 10 Corso Como and Dong Liang, curating a completely unique retail experience for their demanding clientele.
If you're heading to Shanghai, sharpen up your bargaining skills and increase your credit card limit. Warning: You may need to buy some additional suitcases at the end of your trip. Here, our expert tips to shopping this complex and exciting retail Mecca.
Located in the heart of the city, this is one of Shanghai’s busiest and trendiest shopping and entertainment epicenters. Built in 1997, it retains the antique walls, tiles and exterior of the Shikumen housing of old Shanghai. Its interior, on the other hand, embodies a totally different world–packed with international galleries, bars, cafes, boutiques and theme restaurants. Check out global fashion brand Shanghai Tang(Unit 15, Xintiandi North Blk, Lane 181 Taicang Road) featuring exquisite apparel for men, women and children, along with home furnishings and novelty gift items with a colorful nod to Chinese culture. The flagship store of home-grown label Simply Life(Unit 101, 159 Madang Road) stocks pan-Asian furniture and housewares, including an exclusive range of hand-painted, fine bone china from luxury local brand Asianera.
Fresh local labels hang out at the Xintiandi Style concept mall (245 Madang Road), which is a great spot to scout local cutting-edge designs from brands like Uma Wang (womenswear), Heirloom (leather goods), Oshadai (home décor) and Peaches John (a playful Japanese lingerie label).
Insider tip: There is a world-famous Din Tai Fung (Unit 11A, 2/F, New World Plaza South Section, Lane 123 Xingye Road) located in Xintiandi where you can eat delicious dumplings and refuel for more shopping. Be sure to try the classic pork xiaolongbao dumplings during your visit–they’re not to be missed.