Thursday, October 19, 2006

Fashion and Nightlife

The rate that Shanghai has joined the fashion world is amazing to me. The department stores in China look like the inside of Macy's but each section (Elle, Givenchy,etc.) rents space and operates as separate businesses. 3 years ago I would wander the department stores and find wonderful prices on Chinese brand labels-jackets, pants, blouses and cashmere sweaters. 2 years ago, there was an even mix of high end expensive American and Europen labels, with reasonably priced chinese labels. Last year, I found my favorite shopping spots disappearing and the prices of clothing higher than the US. In May of this year, I only bought inexpensive and wonderfully cut slacks. This week, all are gone, replaced by high end labels at incredibly high prices. The fashion scene resembles that of Europe and has far surpassed that of the US. What I find very puzzling though is, "Who is wearing and buying these clothes?" I rarely see anyone purchasing in these stores, and the city appears to be Madison Avenue times 100! My one "fashion girl" sighting was a young lady in boots, skirt and lovely layered top, talking on a cell phone, long hair blowing behind her, and riding a moped! She looked like a Barbie doll among the masses of people on bicycles, and men pushing carts of chickens and lumber.

Our night on the town found us in the newly developed Xintiandi, a yuppy outdoor pedestrian area with modern nightclubs, European-like sidewalk cafes and restaurants, shops and condominiums.
Quite unlike the hustle and bustle of the traffic and noise on the streets surrounding it, it is frequented by tourists, expats and the nouveau riche of Shanghai.


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