Bespoke tailoring in Shanghai
In addition to its legendary sights, sounds and food, Shanghai offers a myriad of choices for custom tailoring. Many of the locations below are also easily accessible from your Millennium hotel.
Western suits and shirts
A sharp suit is all about fit and at W.W Chan and Sons Tailor (165D Maoming Nan Road, near Fuxing Road) they don’t cut corners. The process of creating the perfect bespoke suit here can take up to a month, depending on the fabric and chosen style and it will involve at least three fittings. A full suit here will set you back around RMB 10,000 (US$1,615).
On the same leafy stretch of Maoming Road, close to W.W Chan in the old French Concession area, there are several other tailors to choose from (at least four at the last count); each offer a limited selection of fabric at comparatively lower prices and all offer custom-made shirts and ties too.
Further north on Maoming Road, near the Shannxi South Road Station, the tailors seem to be inspired by Savile Row, sporting names like Manchester, David Street and Royal Tailor. Many offer sets for RMB 5,800 (US$900), which include two suits, three shirts and two ties, all ready for collection within 48 hours.
Cheongsam or qipao
A dress that accentuates feminine curves without revealing too much, the cheongsam, or qipao, is the piece of clothing most evocative of Shanghai, in part because of its popularity during the city’s golden age in the early 20th century. Man Loulan, often referred to as M.LL, is a well-known purveyor of this seductive dress and a bearer of the ‘Shanghai Famous Brand’ plaque awarded by the city’s commercial bureau. It has several shopfronts on Changle Road and Maoming Road alongside many of its counterparts, including Shumingzi. The stretch of Changle Road near the Jin Jiang Tower offers a dozen options, all specialising in this elegant, classic dress. Depending on your choice of fabric – smooth or hand-embroidered silk – dresses can take from three days to a month to sew.
Shoes and bags
Now that you are suited, you need to get booted. Mr Billy’s Handmade Shoes, which specialises in men’s shoes, has been featured in numerous shopping guides, a testament to the number of happy customers who have passed through its doors over the past decade.
At Nanchang Road, one of Shanghai’s most storied and charming streets, Solo Per Te, which means only for you in Italian, is where ladies can get stilettos to complement their cheongsams. The shop has a huge range of styles and materials for customers to choose from and an individual shoe mould is made in-store and preserved for future use. Shoes are usually delivered within a month.
For the finishing touch to your outfit, head over to Tianzifang, one of Shanghai’s best known, historical residential compounds, which is now a tourist, shopping and sightseeing hub. Shu (266 Taikang Road, near Ruijin Road), which means tree in Chinese, offers custom-made leather bags that take about a week to produce.