Just one street back from the parade of luxury brands along Huaihai Road, Nanchang Lu retains an air of antiquated chic from its early 20th-century French Concession days. Lined with overarching French plane trees and Art Deco lane houses, the friendly neighborhood is home to antique dealers, fruit sellers, and traditional medicine clinics. Fitting nicely into the eclectic mix are several funky boutiques that are starting to give Huaihai Road a run for its fashionista money.
By Amy Fabris-Shi
Photography by Eric Dang
This new concept store may look like another hole-in-the-wall fashion outlet, but venture inside and discover three hip boutiques in one. Rifle the racks of cute casuals from Scandinavian label Frances-P, then continue into the sunlit backroom where Roommate stocks an eclectic mix of imports from Japan and Korea, plus a well-priced bespoke men’s shirt service. Ascend the creaky wooden stairs to I Prefer from Taiwan for one-off bohemian dresses crafted from hand-dyed silks and batik (205 Nanchang Lu; 86-21/3424-0336).
Near the intersection with Xiangyang Lu, the namesake boutique of Taiwanese fashion diva Chloe Chen is a one-stop shop for playful party outfits in retro fabrics. Complete your look with statement jewels and vintage hairpieces displayed in antique cabinets, and don’t forget the bright heels and ankle boots from Chen’s shoe label (174 Xiangyang Nanlu; 86-21/ 5465-7275; chloechen.com).
Pop Classic Sneakers
PCS stocks a covetable collection of vintage Chinese footwear. Affable young owner Jacob Wang is keen to keep China’s plimsoll past alive. Along with cult sneaker brand Feiyue, you can find canvas Warrior sneakers favored by Chinese hipsters in the 1980s. Ospop models, inspired by migrant workers’ olive-green Jiefang Xie pumps, are available in a reengineered utilitarian palette of cement, brick, and tobacco. China’s 3,000-year-old cotton kung-fu slippers also make a stylish comeback in the K-Fu range, with hand-sewn soles and fashionable stripes or polka-dot designs (130 Nanchang Lu; 86/138-1757-1942).
Le Goût du Temps
Tiptoe carefully through the stash of trinkets, homewares, and clothing in this endearing little bazaar. The owner sits in a corner knitting colorful coin purses with fancy clasps, which can be found tucked away on shelves throughout the store (134 Nanchang Lu; 86-21/6402-0411).
Young Indonesian designer Sean William Salim is one of the street’s rising stars. Having grown up in Singapore and graduated from New York’s Parsons School of Design, Salim chose Shanghai as the base for his indie menswear brand S2VS. Now sold in more than 30 stores worldwide, his petite flagship boutique occupies the enclosed garden courtyard of a heritage residence. S2VS’s preppy looks feature sharp tailoring and edgy details like wooden buttons and flashes of color sewn into pockets and collars. Price tags at a fraction of those in the New York store are an added draw (172 Nanchang Lu; 86/138-1671-2631; s2vs.com).
Originally appeared in the October/November 2011 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Nanchang’s New Groove”)