Once a juncture of the East and West, before communist ideals washed out the opulence and prosperity of old world Shanghai in the early 20th century, Shanghai was a gorgeous tapestry of the Orient and the West, with their ideals and aesthetics reflected in everything fro art to architecture, from food to trade.
Today, Shanghai Tang purveys that nostalgia of the old Shanghai. The one glorious in the 20s and 30s, of languid ladies drawing a slim trail of smoke from ornate cigarette holders, sipping wine in a Jazz venue in a demure yet incredibly provocative Qi Pao, of learned business men in glasses donning impeccably tailored Cheong Sam suits with neatly slicked side parts.
Shanghai Tang, literally meaning the store/hall of Shanghai, brings this old Oriental sentimentality back to the sartorial scene, bringing the famed Chinese tailoring and finely spun fabrics (And yes, silk!) to the table currently occupied by English bespoke, and the recurring dreams of the diligent Americana.
For Spring/Summer, Shanghai Tang drew influences from traditional Chinese motifs and garments, then imposed them onto silhouettes we are familiar with-- the Bermuda shorts, denim, and button down dress shirts. The pickling process of fusing elements from two worlds together goes vice versa. This season, Shanghai Tang continues to do what it does best-- immaculate tailoring with a boundless sense of creativity in combining the best of two worlds into one. As usual, Shanghai Tang's strong suit and differentiation point not only lies in its Oriental aesthetics, but in its outerwear and suiting.
Monochromatic and muted with a sense of sophistication, car coats, pea coats and jackets take the shape of traditional Chinese garments-- the "Mao" Jacket retains its traditional Chinese shape, but are given a new English twist in plaid; in a similar tale, the Cheong Sam jacket is reworked in Herringbone wool and comes with a detachable collar strap. Some jackets feature a gorgeous lining printed with the map of old Shanghai, which unveils itself when cuffs are rolled up-- and it also truly shows that luxury lies in the small details whether they are visible or not. Another stand out piece is the Moleskin Long Coat, perfect for any winter, and is quite a nice change from trench coats and the double breasted pea coats rampant about town.
Of course, gorgeous printed floral shirts are making their way back, replacing tried and tired plaid and stripe variations. As for bottoms, denim and colored corduroy take center stage, bringing a playful pop of color into the otherwise slightly mature, taciturn palette. These pieces, since are pretty much hybrids of the East and West, they do work quite seamlessly with any wardrobe and existing sports jackets or blazers. Check out the look book, and stay tuned for them as they will be hitting stores bit by bit starting August.