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Best of Shanghai's Unique Shops

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It's easy to get tired of the Chinese kitsch in the markets and street stalls, while enticing, how many pashminas and silk pajamas can one person have? Even after you've bought Christmas presents for your family for the next three years, you might feel unfulfilled in your shopping endeavors in Shanghai. You may still be looking for that something-special, something not just any tourist to Shanghai would pick up. Rest easy, stop by any one of these unique stores and find items that no one else back home will have, and all will covet. What more could you ask of a souvenir?

1. Feine Cashmere

Logo courtesy of Feine Cashmere. All rights reserved.
  • Description: gorgeous cashmere for mom, dad and baby
  • Address: 2 locations: in Puxi, 392 Wu Kang Road, Shanghai (near Huai Hai Middle Road) | 武康路392号(近淮海中路); and Pudong, Kerry Parkside, L219B, 1378 Hua Mu Road, 花木路1378号浦东嘉里城L219B
  • Opening hours: daily Puxi 10am-8pm; Pudong 10am-10pm
  • Comments: you'll find your size and color in Feine. Prices are on the expensive side but nothing like what you'd pay at home. Keep in mind, you're paying for very high-quality cashmere, not big-box store quality. Take it from me, I've had Feine sweaters for years and they don't pill like expensive brands you'll find in major department stores at home. It's worth the money.

2. Harvest Studio

  • Description: Hand-embroidered clothing and soft-furnishings by Miao tribeswomen.
  • Address: Room 118, No. 3, Lane 210 Taikang Road
  • Opening hours: daily 9am-6pm
  • Comments: The Miao tribe is famous for their intricate embroidery and hand-crafted silver ornaments that decorate their traditional dress - clothing that may take a woman many years to complete. The store helps support the ancient tradition; you'll likely see a few of the beautiful long-haired Miao women busily embroidering as you browse their collection.

3. Madame Mao's Dowry

© 2007 Sara Naumann, licensed to About.com, Inc.
  • Description: Everything Mao (memorabilia) as well as porcelain, clothing and soft furnishings.
  • Address: 207 Fumin Road, near Julu Road
  • Comments: These days Madame Mao does a lot more clothing. Sizes are teeny tiny so keep that in mind. She's still got all kinds of fun curios and you can find my favorite Paper Tiger wrapping items there. Dig through piles of black & white photography of China's past, Cultural Revolution propaganda posters and original note cards made with old Chinese ads. There's a line of revolutionary-inspired enamelware with modern slogans that might make your kitchen table rather unique.

4. Platane

© Photo courtesy of Platane, Shanghai.
  • Description: Funky collection of Chinese-inspired gifts and modern soft furnishings.
  • Address: 2 locations: 156 Taikang Road | 田子坊泰康路156号(近似南路); smaller store 439 Wukang Road near Huai Hai Middle Road | 武康路439号, 近淮海中路
  • Opening hours: Open Tue-Sat: 11am-7pm; Sun: 12-7pm
  • Comments: Platane offers original, hard to find, casual Chinese-inspired porcelain, fun girlie gifts such as hand-made small bags as well as gorgeous leather Australian handbags, Luxe guides and one-of-a-kind home accents.

5. Shanghai Tang

  • Description: Luxurious and fabulous collection of Chinese-inspired clothing, home accessories and gifts.
  • Address: 1) 59 Mao Ming Road (between Huai Hai Zhong Road and Changle Road); 2) 15 Xintiandi North Block, Lane 181 Tai Cang Road; 3) Shangri-La Hotel, 33 Fu Cheng Road, Pudong.
  • Opening hours: daily 10am-10pm
  • Comments: With bargains to be found at so many shops and markets, it's difficult to stomach the price tags at Shanghai Tang. That said, you won't find more beautiful designs, quality gifts and darling kids' things. If there's a special gift you need to bring home from Shanghai, Shanghai Tang is worth a stop.

6. Shanghai Trio

Shanghai Trio logo owned by Shanghai Trio. All rights reserved.
  • Description: A small silk bag for every need.
  • Address: 1) Unit 5, House 1, North Block, Xintiandi, Lane 181 Taicang Road; 2) Workshop/Showroom at No. 6, Lane 37 Fuxing Xi Road
  • Opening hours: 1) daily 10am-10pm; 2) M-F 10am-6pm
  • Comments: A perfect spot to pick up last minute gifts, Shanghai Trio's designs use traditional cotton and silk fabrics for the modern need such as a cell-phone case or jewelry bag. There's also an adorable line of children's things and funky jewelry.

7. Song Fang Maison de thé

© 2007 Sara Naumann, licensed to About.com, Inc.
  • Description: Chinese & French teas displayed beautifully with expert staff to explain it all to you.
  • Address: 227 Yongjia Road near Shaanxi Nan Road, 021-6433-8283
  • Opening Hours: Daily 10am-7pm
  • Comments: Gorgeous French owner of the salon has hand-selected the finest teas from France and China (with the help of a Chinese expert) and has them ready to quaff upstairs in one of the two lovely tea rooms or downstairs at the sales counter. Experts behind the counter can explain the intricacies of the different teas with the same effect as a sommelier. If nothing else, buy the originally designed tins to keep loose tea fresh at home.

8. Spin

  • Description: Original porcelain for dinner tables or decoration.
  • Address: 360 Kangding Road, near Shanxi Bei Road |康定路360号, 近陕西北路
  • Opening hours: daily 11am-9:30pm
  • Comments: Spin's range of ceramics are designed in Shanghai but created in JingDeZhen, China's ceramics capital. Find distinctive and decorative objects such as platters and vases. Pieces are packaged meticulously in wooden boxes and are uniquely Chinese. If you're unsure, stop into Shintori, at 803 Julu Road, to see how this fabulous Japanese restaurant uses Spin's porcelain.

9. Suzhou Cobblers

Suzhou Cobblers logo owned by Suzhou Cobblers. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
  • Description: Hand-embroidered slippers, bags and hand-knitted children's clothing.
  • Address: Room 101, No. 17, Fuzhou Road
  • Opening hours: daily 10am-6:30pm
  • Comments: I take all my visitors to the Bund and we all stop by Suzhou Cobblers for a few minutes. The boys head across to Three on the Bund for a beer and the girls fall in love with several pairs of gorgeous silk slippers embroidered with whimsical Chinese motifs.

10. Urban Tribe

© 2006 Sara Naumann, licensed to About.com, Inc.
  • Description: Original clothing and jewelry designs, photography and a lovely café in the back.
  • Address: 133 Fuxing West Road
  • Opening hours: daily 9:30am-10pm
  • Comments: Urban Tribe–ware includes breezy, baggy tops and long skirts of sumptuous cotton, gorgeous large format matted photos in black & white, as well as color, of Tibet, Burma, Vietnam and Cambodia, taken by the owner's husband, a line of unique silver jewelry including darling mobile-phone accessories, as well as a distinctive line of pottery.

11. X Style

  • Description: Art-Deco inspired boutique for soft furnishings and gifts.
  • Address: 1F, Fairmont Peace Hotel, 20 Nanjing East Road, Shanghai | 和平饭店 上海市南京东路20号
  • Opening hours: daily 10am-10pm
  • Comments: This gorgeous gift shop stocks unusual curios, locally-sourced art and unique books. You'll be able to find something here that you will not find in any other market or shop.
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