Annabel Lee's two well-located stores sell elegant, hand-embroidered women's fashions, slippers, purses, and household accessories in delicate fabrics and unfussy colors. The Chinese styles and leitmotifssuch as lotus flowers, dragons, and snuff bottlesallude to 19th-century Shanghai backstreets, though the product quality and consumer appeal is unquestionably 21st-century. The store eloquently portrays how traditional Chinese culture was transformed, but not necessarily destroyed, by the introduction of Western culture in the late 19th century.
Open daily 10 am to 10 pm.
207 Fumin Lu
Tel: 86 21 5403 3551
Linda Johnson's shop in the French Concession is tastefully arranged with vintage posters, antique Qing dynasty cabinets, and altar tables mixed with contemporary clothes (look for designer Jooi's dainty evening bags). Prices are high for these Cultural Revolution relics, but everything is so beautifully displayed that you'll find yourself whipping out the credit card for your very own white porcelain Mao bust, although it's unlikely he would have approved of the $10,000 price tag. For those not looking to spend quite so much, perhaps the kitschy fakes at Dongtai Lu Antique Market are a better bet.
China's most celebrated shopping street, Nanjing Lu sweeps across the city center through the heart of the French Concession. Although many retailers have been replaced by luxury shops (or steel and glass office buildings), there's still faded colonial charm in the few 1920s-era buildings that dot the bustling road. Don't miss the vast Shanghai No. 1 Department Store, known as Dai Sun when it opened in 1934. Today it is packed with crowds and brightly packaged, slightly tacky Chinese goods, including clothing, electronics, and cosmetics (800–830 Nanjing Dong Lu; 86-21-6322-3344). In contrast, at the western end of the street, the shiny Plaza 66 houses a bevy of luxury brands, among them Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Hermès. An enormous atrium lights the mall's interior, while a pianist soothes nerves jangled by too much spending (1266 Nanjing Xi Lu; 86-21-6279-0910; www.plaza66.com
Sexy, chic, and casual female Argentinean fashions in two stores that showcase the collections of ten hot Buenos Aires designers: Benedit Bis, Cecilia Gadea, Cora Groppo, Ffiocca, Massone Pini Qüerio, Olive, Pe, Pesqueira, Vero Ivaldi, and Vicki Otero. The beautifully cut, limited-edition garments, purses, and accessories seek to offer new interpretations of Argentina's European immigrant traditions, indigenous arts, and Latin sensibilities. This is the first time this concept has been tried anywhere in the world, and Pampa already has two Shanghai stores, with a third planned.
Open Wednesdays through Mondays 11 am to 8 pm.
8 Century Avenue
Tel: 86 21 6311 5588
Younger sibling to the Hong Kong original—and also designed by Cesar Pelli—this glass-clad twin-towered mall, office, and retail complex also houses the Ritz-Carlton Pudong. The classiest plaza east of the Huangpu River, it is targeted directly at Shanghai's bejeweled brand mavens, so expect glitzy Hermès, Gucci, Prada, Cartier, Tiffany, and an Apple Store. For purchasing respite, there's a second-floor branch of Shanghai's in-demand patisserie and coffee house chain Baker & Spice.—Gary Bowerman
227 Yongjia Lu
Tel: 86 21 6433 8283
Opened by Florence Samson, a French former luxury-brand executive, this stylish tea emporium sells a vast range of Chinese, Asian, and New World teas. Housed in a lovingly restored three-floor French Concession town house, Song Fang features wooden floors and brightly painted 1920s Chinese tea and biscuit tins on the shelves. Tea connoisseurs will find everything from Fujianese oolong to Yunnanese blends and Indian Assam, all stored in aqua-blue pots with Chinese tea-pickers on the logo. There's also a cozy upstairs tearoom.
Open daily 10 am to 7 pm.
Shanghai's fashion-savvy head to this ever-expanding warren of renovated lane houses, a treasure trove of tiny clothing and jewelry boutiques, to find their best threads and accessories. La Vie offers a hodgepodge of local and Hong Kong designers. Helen Lee has made a splash with her unstructured styles and sassy T-shirts at Insh. Look for striking Jooi handbags and home accessories, Tibetan rugs by Torana Carpets, and handpainted Asianera porcelain at a new eco-retail collective called Nest. Shirt Flag's tees, hats, and canvas bags emblazoned with red stars, hammers, sickles, and other Cultural Revolution graphics have developed a cult status among Shanghai's cool kids. Finally, dress up your dining table with ceramics from the Pottery Workshop, which features tableware, vases, and other objects designed by local ceramicists.
The cobblestone streets of Xintiandi, a preserved neighborhood–turned–outdoor mall, are lined with upscale restaurants, bars, and, above all, an abundance of chic stores. The development revamped old stone shikumen town houses, the abundance of expats and Western-style eateries can sometimes make Xintiandi feel like suburban California. Ground yourself with a stop at the on-site minimuseum, which portrays life in a typical shikumen house during the early 20th century. After selecting a souvenir or two from the gift store, head to Shanghai Tang for a wide assortment of China chic, including qipao dresses in bright modern palettes and melamine plates with pop-art renderings of iconic Chinese images. You'll find chinoiserie and unique porcelain sets at Simply Life, which does dishes in swirls of imperial yellow or with painted peonies. For dainty silk accessories and slick pajamas, try Annabel Lee.
Bund 18, 2nd floor
18 Zhongshan Dongyi Lu
Tel: 86 21 6323 8688
Younik, in the Renaissance-pillared Bund 18 building, is a polished second-floor boutique selling ready-to-wear clothes by Korean brand Shion by Choichangho and swish jewelry by fellow Koreans Nouveautes and Taean. Look also for the colorful men's cravats by Nouveautes; assorted bags, purses, and accessories by Shanghai Trio; and modern Scandinavian glassware by Swedish duo Barbro Wesslander and Pia Amsell.
Open daily from 10 am to 10 pm.