The lone international brand named after Shanghai has finally arrived in the city itself. Shanghai Tang launches its first store, at 59 Maoming Nanlu, from this month.
The name, Shanghai Tang, translates into English as "The Bund", the historic embarkment in Shanghai fabled for its European architecture and known as the birthplace of 1930s glamour.
Raphael le Masne de Chermont, chairman of Shanghai Tang, explained how the name was inspired by the Shanghai of the 1930s whose charm competed with that of London and Paris.
Shanghai Tang's products combine traditional Chinese design and motifs with tongue-in-cheek humour and a contemporary sensibility. The result is a vibrant and witty fusion of "East meets West".
For this season, autumn/winter 2003, the theme of the designs is the "Miao Hinterland", inspired by the Miao nationality's traditional costumes. Colourful embroidery, glamorous ornamentation on the sleeves and deep blue colour takes the leading roles in the collection.
Long black dupioni silk coats embroidered with cloud patterns combined with fringed red scarves, suede shirt-jackets with leather trim, topstitched cotton coats with wide red floral-printed borders belted with peony-printed silk and velvet scarves, denim coats trimmed with ribbons and sequins with welt seams - all these pieces reflect a meeting of East and West.
For men, the Tang jackets are the most prominent items in the line. The Tang jacket resulted from the evolution of two traditional Chinese garments, both first worn during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). By the 1940s, what we now know as the Tang jacket became prevalent for all classes in China. Compared with the ancient style, the sleeves had become longer and wider, sometimes boasting detachable white cuffs. Patch pockets were added and the number of frog buttons became standard at seven. This jacket was worn with matching pants.
Shanghai Tang continues and innovates the tradition of the Tang jacket by offering this iconic garment in an unprecedented array of fabrics and unexpected, vibrant colour combinations.
(Shanghai Star September 25, 2003)