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By Chris | April 23 2007
When it comes to shopping, don’t let historical communist allusions about the city mislead you.
Today’s Beijing is a cosmopolitan, capitalistic paradise of retail with merchandise just waiting for you to take it all home in your newly purchased Louis Vuitton luggage set. From marbled malls of designer shop fronts to unique high-end local showrooms to contemporary Beijing fashion and concept brands, shopping in the Chinese capital can also be a great way to understand its modern attitude, tastes and lifestyle.
Kathrin von Rechenberg sharpened her scissors at some of Paris’s biggest fashion houses before falling in love with the ancient Chinese material tea silk, a Ming dynasty textile with a marbled gloss that improves with age and a complex production process involving many steps, including sun-drying and being washed in tea.
Kathrin’s signature tea silk wraparounds are just the thing to take home from a magical trip in Beijing. Her collections also feature beautifully shaped jackets and coats, elegant cocktail dresses, and sleek wide-leg trousers that have all developed a devoted following among sophisticated in-the-know ladies around the capital. Give Kathrin von Rechenberg a call and stop by her contemporary courtyard atelier so you can go home with a beautifully wearable, fabulously stylish memento (or two). Showroom visits are by appointment only and all clients are personally fitted for the garments of their choice. You can also pick up selected prêt a porter pieces.
+86 10 6463 1788
Xinyuanxili East Street (yard behind building 12), Chaoyang District
When it comes to shopping, Lane Crawford is undisputedly the belle of the ball.
It is the only retailer in China for many of the world’s most fashionable, style-conscious brands and, as such, it’s the store to go to for anything by Acne, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Comme des Garçons, Helmut Lang, Opening Ceremony, Elizabeth & James or Alexander McQueen. With locations in Hong Kong and Beijing, Lane Crawford is the leading department store in Asia for the hottest, most cutting-edge fashions, offering womenswear, menswear, shoes, accessories, jewelry, cosmetics, and home and lifestyle products. Forget Barneys or Harrods — if you live, breathe and eat fashion, look no further than Lane Crawford, the style authority of the Far East. And for the discerning shopper, their special instore concierge offers a range of services, including exclusive appointments with professional stylists, a porter service, personal shoppers, worldwide shipping of purchases, luxury shoe and handbag repair, a cloak room, mobile phone recharging while you shop, and even fresh flower deliveries.
+86 10 6622 0808
Season Place Shopping Center, 2 Jinchengfang Street, Xicheng District
Classic Italian tailoring at its best, Stefano Ricci offers refined attire and accessories for the discriminating gentleman, as well as a coveted home ware range.
The trademark cufflinks are handmade by master goldsmiths using a host of precious stones, and the luxury leather range includes wallets, footwear, belts, travel bags and handbags for the perfect gift.
+86 10 8532 1756
19-20 South Corridor, St. Regis Hotel, 21 JianGuomenwai Dajie, Chaoyang District
Located in the even hipper Wudaoying Hutong, Dong Liang Studio is the definitive stockist of Beijing’s most of-the-moment fashion designers, including unbearably trendy local design labels Liu2, Vega Wang, JL and Ipa-Nima.
This happening boutique also stocks celebrity collaborations and student collections from the Beijing Fashion Institute. Dong Liang Studio is a great place to go for a quick education in China’s contemporary urban sartorial scene.
+86 10 8404 7648
26 Wudaoying Hutong, Dongcheng District
Redefining home and lifestyle items in Beijing, Chang & Biorck commissions products from some of Sweden’s most prominent designers, creating a distinctive aesthetic blend of Chinese and Scandinavian culture that is also, notably, ecofriendly.
Expect signature patterns, vibrant color and striking forms. Chang & Biorck’s products have won design awards, are stocked in Europe by the prestigious Conran Store and are used in the interior design of several luxury hotels worldwide, among them the Ritz-Carlton and Shangri-la. While you’re in Beijing it’s definitely worth going to visit their original store in person.
+86 10 5208 6039
The Village, Gongti North Road, Sanlitun, Chaoyang District
There is nowhere better to hang out in Beijing than at the Sanlitun Village. Always a great place to start your day or night, think of it as the check-in desk of the Chaoyang District.
The Village is a newly developed shopping and restaurant complex with some great stores and excellent food, bound on all sides by Sanlitun’s famous Bar Street and a collection of cute little malls full of unique local boutiques (the main one is a six-story labyrinth called 3.3, a good spot for kitschy accessories, indie Korean labels and the occasional vintage Louboutins.) Draw a star next to this one on your map when you visit, chances are you’ll be going back.
+86 10 6417 6110
The Village, Gongti North Road, Chaoyang District
Oriental Plaza is one of the largest name brand shopping centers in Beijing, featuring a special family section and exclusive luxury brand section.
This is the place Beijing’s haute couture addicts go to pick out a new outfit or ten.
+86 10 8518 6267
1 East Chang’An Avenue
Located in the heart of the Wangfujing shopping and commercial district, The Peninsula is a hotel complex boasting one of Beijing’s most extravagant shopping arcades.
Here you will find all of the fashion world’s most high-end representatives, including Hermes, Lanvin, Sonia Rykiel, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Emanuel Ungaro. Welcome to the elite shopaholic’s Beijing fantasyland.
+86 10 8516 2888
8 Goldfish Lane, Wangfujing, Dongcheng District
A popular shopping center in Beijing among trendsetters and jetsetters, China World Center carries worldwide designer brands.
Make sure you head to Basement 1, dedicated entirely to luxury world-class shopping and one of the best places in Beijing to pick up the season’s latest ‘it’ bag.
+86 10 6505 2288
1 Jianguomenwai Avenue
The Gianni Versace company was launched in Milan in 1978 with a women’s fashion collection under the name Gianni Versace Donna. In 1996 an agreement with Frank Muller led to the development of a limited edition range of jeweled watches made in Geneva. 1998 saw the foundation of Versace SA, an independent company set up for the production and distribution of all Versace jewelry and watches. In 2007 the first Versace store dedicated entirely to the jewelry and watch collection opened in Rome. The third one opened grandly in Beijing in 2010. To celebrate the ‘Year of The Dragon’, an extraordinary milestone in Chinese culture, Versace presents the Character Dragon Limited Edition China. This watch features a special case, set with a glittering pave of 398 white diamonds. The final touch is a black enamel dial decorated with a silver dragon and Mother of Pearl, giving to this watch an exceptional appeal. Only 30 precious pieces will be on sale from Christmas 2011, dedicated to the Chinese market through Versace boutiques and the most exclusive retailers throughout the country.