This morning I had the great pleasure of attending breakfast with some of my esteemed blogging colleagues at Shanghai Tang in London. It was my first experience with the brand, but after a successful morning I can safely say it will not be my last. I arrived promptly at 9:30am this morning as the invitation indicated. The shop is located on Sloane Street in London and I stepped out of my cab a block early to peek into the windows of other designer shops along the street. It was early in the morning and the air still had that grubby “Last night in London” Street smell to it. That was until I got within about 20 feet of Shanghai Tang. The aroma was what would have led me into the store regardless of whether I was having breakfast there are not. The sweet smell of Ginger flower was intoxicating. It wasn’t overwhelming. Rather it was quite calming and peaceful. I knew I was in the right place.
I was led downstairs to a table that was surrounded with familiar and incredibly influential faces. We had Mademoiselle Robot, Bitchbuzz, The Clothes Whisperer, Alex Loves, Simon G, Styleslicker, Disney Roller Girl and Sketchbook(Osman) all sitting around one long black table covered from top to bottom in yummy food. and much needed coffee. Before we dive into the ins and outs of why you should be checking out Shanghai Tang, I’ll just share a few pics to make you drool…and oh I was very bad! I carb loaded like I hadn’t seen a carb ever before in life!
Jocelyn, Shanghai Tang’s International Marketing Director, was on hand to join us for the breakfast and also walk us through the current and forthcoming season for Shanghai Tang. Jocelyn was absolutely lovely. She is the perfect ambassador for the brand as she oozes admiration and respect for the label. She was actually obsessed with the brand before she ever began working with them! That is truly how all companies should be. Hire the fanatics of the brand to preach the shop gospel!
While we sat and ate I couldn’t help but find my eyes wondering around the table. We were surrounded by pieces that were yet to be released for the holiday season. I am praying certain members of my family don’t read this piece as i saw at least a dozen potential Christmas gifts around me!
After breakfast we were given an opportunity to explore the store from top to bottom with Jocelyn. As I rounded the corner from the breakfast table I found some chairs that were decorating the store that I wished I could have in my own front room…
Turn another corner and you are confronted with pajamas that are actually quite famous. Now before I get to that I must first say that if you are going to spoil yourself with relaxing indoor wear, look no further than the silk pajamas at Shanghai Tang. They are absolute heaven and everyone knows silk is incredibly sexy! So looking great and being completely comfortable…how often does that happen? Now on to the celebrity gossip. Apparently Kate Moss can’t live without her Shanghai Tang jam-jams and Chris Noth (AKA Mr Big) wore a pair in Sex and The City 2. Those are pretty fine references for the pieces!
Moving upstairs I was taken aback by the jackets that were on display. I loved the mix of Chinese and Western design in the pieces. The tailoring was impeccable and the fabrics were top notch. Kristin (The Clothes Whisperer) was trying on jacket after jacket and each one looked like something that was tailor made for her.
I feel in love with all of the knits that were in store. I’m a sucker for cashmere, as you problably already know, and I couldn’t stop running my hands over the lovely fabrics and slipping on sweater after sweater. These are sweaters you want to live and die in. Cashmere is the ultimate in luxury and it fits perfectly in the Shanghai Tang portfolio of fabrics.
The store itself was magical with traditional Chinese decoration mixed with an old english feel. Trunks, leather chairs and old cabinets remind you that you are in London but magical lanterns, gorgeous fabrics covered in Chinese symbols and ancient statues transport you to a fair away land.
Many pieces by Shanghai Tang are also easily recognized because of their attention to detail. What struck me over and over again was the gorgeous jade ornamentation. Jocelyn had told us that we would find jade scattered throughout the collection as the Chinese thought that Jade would act as a protective element for them. It is such a simple yet effective touch. It completely transforms a garment. A brown cashmere sweater would look like any other if it were not for the gorgeous draping of fabric centred around the jade element.
Men, don’t think I left you out! It is worth a trip to the store to see the fantastic collection they have for the lads! Again, we see a great attention to detail. Just take a look at the jacket captured below. What a fantastic mandarin collar coat with leather detailing!
And finally, I get to talk about my favourite part of the whole visit…the handbags! I seldom meet a handbag I don’t like. But I very rarely, these days, meet a handbag I can’t live without. I ran into five of those bags today at Shanghai Tang and this will be the reason I am living off ramen noodles for the next two months! The leather was sumptuous, the ornament was perfectly placed and not at all over done and there was not a flaw to be found on one piece.
Each bag was designed in a size that is appropriate for its use. The clutches would fit my blackberry, wallet and compact perfectly. The shoulder bags would carry all that is required for a blogger’s function and the satchels had enough bulk to them to carry you through on a day trip to Paris. They are also classics. An investment in a bag by Shanghai Tang is wise. These are not “it” bags that last all of one month. These are bags that never go out of style and will not be seen on every young girl walking down the street. A woman carrying a Shanghai Tang bag is a woman with superior knowledge and taste!
Overall review of Shanghai Tang on Sloane Street: Love Affair! I’ll be back but my credit cards won’t be happy!
Thank you so much to Shanghai Tang for a wonderful morning.