It's easy to get tired of the Chinese kitsch in the markets and street stalls. While enticing, how many scarves 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?
At Feine Cashmere, you'll find gorgeous cashmere for mom, dad, and baby. 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. It's worth the money.
Address: 392 Wukang Road, Xuhui Qu
Madame Mao's Dowry offers everything Mao (memorabilia) as well as porcelain, clothing, and soft furnishings. Sizes are teeny tiny, so keep that in mind. She's still got all kinds of fun curios, and you can find Paper Tiger wrapping items there. Dig through piles of black and 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.
Address: 207 Fumin Road, Jingan Qu
Platane offers a funky collection of Chinese-inspired gifts and modern soft furnishings. Included in its offerings are hard-to-find, casual Chinese-inspired porcelain, handmade small bags, gorgeous leather Australian handbags, Luxe guides, and one-of-a-kind home accents.
Address: Two locations: 156 Taikang Road, and its smaller store at 439 Wukang Road near Huai Hai Middle Road
The 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.
Address: 227 Yongjia Road, Xuhui Qu
Suzhou Cobblers sells hand-embroidered slippers, bags, and hand-knitted children's clothing. The specialty item at this store is a line of all-silk, 100-percent hand-sewn slippers. The footwear has vibrant colors and elegant patterns, so you can wear them around the house or for a night out on the town.
Address: Room 101, No. 17, Fuzhou Road, WaiTan, Huangpu Qu
Urban Tribe wares include breezy, baggy tops and long skirts of sumptuous cotton. You can also purchase gorgeous large format matted photos in black and white as well as color, of Tibet, Burma, Vietnam, and Cambodia all taken by the owner's husband. There's also a line of unique silver jewelry including darling mobile-phone accessories, as well as a distinctive line of pottery.
Address: 133 Fuxing West Road
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.
Address: Room 118, No. 3, Lane 210 Taikang Road
Shanghai Tang sells luxurious and fabulous collection of Chinese-inspired clothing, home accessories, and gifts. 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.
Address: There are three shops: 59 Mao Ming Road (between Huai Hai Zhong Road and Changle Road), 15 Xintiandi North Block, Lane 181 Tai Cang Road, and Shangri-La Hotel, 33 Fu Cheng Road, Pudong.
With a variety of Art-Deco inspired boutique for soft furnishings and gifts, X Style is a gift shop that 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.
Address: 1F, Fairmont Peace Hotel, 20 Nanjing East Road