Although fashion fixtures and A-list celebrities pack the front rows at the biggest, most glamorous shows at fashion week, the most creative attire is often found not on the catwalks or inside the auditoriums but on the streets. Nowhere is this more evident than in the cosmopolitan city of Shanghai, where a vintage Vivienne Westwood frock pairs perfectly with a chic puffer, and neon brights elevate distressed denim to veritable haute couture.
Shanghai Street Style marksthe inaugural volume in an exciting new street style series from Intellect. With an array of up-and-coming young designers like Coko Wan, Nio, and Helen Lee, Shanghai is swiftly cementing its status as a global fashion destinationits first fashion week was in 2011and this book brings together more than one hundred full-color photographs showcasing the remarkable diversity of styles seen on its streets. Alongside the photographs are short pieces of critical commentary by Vicki Karaminas and Toni Johnson-Woods, shedding light on the city’s changing culture and how this is expressed through the clothing choices of ordinary city-dwellers going about their daily routines. The result is a stunning street-level look at the trends shaping Shanghai’s fascinating fashion scene, with interesting echoes of East meets West and old meets new.
Eye-catching, entertaining, and informative, Shanghai Street Style gets at the roots of Shanghai trendsetters’ distinct personal styles, identifying the ideas and important cultural forces behind the trends.
About the Author
Vicki Karaminas is associate professor of fashion studies and associate head of the School of Design at the University of Technology, Sydney in Australia. Toni Johnson-Woods is a senior lecturer in the School of English, Media Studies, and Art History at the University of Queensland, Australia.
Read an Excerpt
Shanghai Street Style
By Toni Johnson-Woods, Vicki Karaminas, Fung Chang
Intellect LtdCopyright © 2013 Intellect ltd
All rights reserved.
Some people choose their shoes like they are dining from a degustation menu; a little bit of this and a little bit of that. What determines their choice includes trends, hype and brand loyalty. But mostly it is about design, taste, style and, of course – striking the hip pocket nerve – cost.
Once worn as functional sportswear but now raised to cult status, the humble sneaker proliferates on the streets of Shanghai from Converse all-Star classics to Vans and the humble Dunlop Volley. Lace-up, Velcro and zips fasten flat-soled, platform-soled, yellow, green, lolly pink, striped and printed, canvas, suede and patent leather sneakers of every brand, colour and shape available. They are worn for function and fashion – with the most original bearing stuffed panda heads as jockeys designed by Jeremy Scott for Adidas. "Sport shoes", "trainers", "joggers", "baskets" and "kicks" are just some of the words that are used to describe this popular shoe. The more fashionable type of sneaker has a 1970s flavour; suede, flat-soled and often worn without a visible sock. Then there's the canvas Converse-style sneaker with its myriad interpretations and permutations. The rapper-style basketball boot with its thick sole and obvious branding is popular, as is the fashion derivation of the sports running sneaker, in current cobalt blue with fluorescent soles. Sneakers can be dressed up or down and worn by urban hipsters on any occasion from bar-hopping to fly-fishing. Paired with blue jeans or dress pants, the sneaker is the quintessential urban shoe (pp. 62–79).
Platform rubber-soled creepers have experienced a resurgence lately in line with 1950s trends that have donned the fashion runways, and on Shanghai streets we found a few great examples – the plain black pair are the dominant norm; inch-thick moulded-rubber soles, with leather uppers and detailed toes, fastening with laces running through silver D-rings. Their tartan sisters, are similarly fastened, but these are trimmed with zipper ends and silver studs. Popular with the badass teddy Boys' subculture whose sartorial style was an adaptation of the Edwardian suit, creepers have hit the streets in a mean way (pp. 80–81).
We didn't know what to call some of the shoe styles that we came across, so we decided to settle on function. Whilst hanging around the fashion "hot spots", we spotted the summer lace-up canvas boots that were sizzling hot in red perforated fabric buckled up with a red strap. The soles of the boots are perhaps the most interesting, in 1970s wooden clog style and attached with metal studs in the same 1970s vein. The blue canvas pair had a 1970s feel – this time referenced by macramé-style soles. These then segued into a boating story, pointed to by the navy canvas and silver-laced eyelets. The cuts outs on both these summer boots are what make them unusual. Matched with any ensemble, these boots are perfect for zipping about town (pp. 82–83).
Women's black wedge-style fashion shoes came in all variations on a theme that has been dominating shoes for some time now – the wedge. All of a comparable height, these shoes fasten in a variety of ways. The strappy leather, silver-buckled, wooden-heeled version displayed a heel shape that is slightly convex at the back. The suede lace-up pair feature a peep-toe and eyelets (pp. 84–87).
After a decade of skyscraper stilettos, the humble platform heel is back again with a vengeance. A sensible choice for schlepping along the cobbled streets of Shanghai where we found some interesting details to update the genre. In tan, the unusual lace-up front and cut-away heel section makes for a great addition to any wardrobe. In natural fabric-covered platform soles, the peep-toe is offset with a bright red plastic bow, a colour theme that is continued with red piping-style trim (pp. 88–91).
If the shoe fits wear it. If you still haven't caught the shoe bug, a closer look at men's feet revealed a passion for fine lace-up flats that smacks of heritage and tradition. These are the type of shoes that scream "assassin", and set the shoe bar high. Old school leather shoelaces and brogue patterning prevailed and dominated this style. The more interesting pairs featured different-coloured perforated patent leather panelling, in combination with macramé detailing and restriped rubber platform soles. These shoes were made for serious walking (pp. 92–99).
There are of course a plethora of different men's boat shoes out there made by all sorts of names, but why deviate from the original by Lacoste that tell a tale of adventure, this time the kind found on the high seas. rubber-soled and laced-up, these men's slide-on shoes were spotted in shades of white, in leather and suede alike (pp. 101–102).
Last but not at all least, the sunny, asymmetrically printed Crocs-style clogs feel like a summer holiday. in white rubber and trimmed with a baby blue design that starts on the left shoe and finishes on the right, these shoes shout "smile" (p. 107).
The number of shoe style choices on the streets of Shanghai is a reminder that no look is complete without the right shoe to make a statement. Shoes are about attitude on the sidewalk.CHAPTER 2
Are you a bag snob? The Shanghainese put a lot of thought into choosing the perfect bag, and that's how it should be. Bags tell us so much about a person's personality, about what they like to do and where they like to go. Teamed up with an outfit, bags are an essential accessory for any city slicker on the move.
Totes are a very current fashion trend amongst the members of the café society in Shanghai. This style of bag reminds us of the purse Mary Poppins pulls everything but the kitchen sink out of when she's singing "A Spoonful of Sugar". Usually large and rectilinear, these bags are designed to be held by the hand running down the side of the leg, or to be carried in the crook of the elbow, leaving hands free to text or carry a cup of coffee. These bags have no shoulder strap, so it is in the way that they are carried that makes them fashionable – this and the detailing. Most typical of the genre are the plain-style maroon leather tote which features silver rings and the black leather tote, which shows straps attached to the outside of the bag and a line design scored into the leather. Another version is in tan, atypical of the genre in its shape, and smacking somehow of the 1970s with its Navaho plaiting and suede finish. This bag teams up well with a slouchy pair of jeans or a Juicy Couture sweater (p. 113).
No one does quilted patent leather quite like Chanel – or studs or perforation, for that matter. Actually, nobody hits that trendy-luxe note quite like Chanel. It's a combination all aspire to and few achieve. These handbags are defined by their chain shoulder straps. In lolly pink quilted patent leather and featuring a silver metal twist clasp fastening, the Chanel-inspired handbag's chain is interwoven with leather to match. The black fabric Prada bag also features a woven chain design, and has quilting stitching detail decorating its surface. The Union Jack bag screams forever Cool Britannia and is printed on natural-coloured leather and is offset by a gold chain to go over the shoulder (pp. 114–117).
What can we say about this classic perfect carry-on bag (p. 118)? This handy carry-all is defined by two sets of strap options; the hand-held strap or the detachable, over-the-shoulder strap. Over the shoulder in black, the following bag, worn with matching black logo t-shirt, is designed using two fabrics – a durable nylon and a textured leather and features bronze zips and buckle details. Also in this section is the black textured leather tote that features the popular studded base – displayed with the shoulder strap attached but not in use. The Anna Sui over-the-shoulder bag features bright heart prints and a self-conscious woven label to advertise its brand. That way, anyone who sees it on your arm will know exactly what a stunner you're carrying. It looks mega expensive paired with a monochromatic black outfit and looks equally chic with a colourful casual outfit. Anna Sui sure does know how to make a status symbol of a bag! A yellow patent leather 1970s style shoulder bag screams retro and is proudly badged Adidas (pp. 119–123).
These are not really shoulder bags, nor are they really totes – so we decided to give them a label of their own under the subheading totes two. These bags mostly have two sets of strap options, however, in this section we can see that their owners decide to carry them by their smaller handles instead of the shoulder option. In two-toned tan and cream, this designer bag features the Prada logo with pride (pp. 124–129).
No one does sexy better than Gucci. The bag sports the Gucci stripe, logo patterning and chain logo, and is trimmed in cream leather. It almost has the feel of a doctor's bag – mostly because of its shape and fastening. The Gucci bag has the shape and feel of an old classic with chic and trendy features like the detachable shoulder strap for crossbody/shoulder carrying and pockets to put all of your essentials. It's large enough for everyday use but won't weigh you down with extra space you don't need. The black textured leather bag with white fabric trim, features metal clips and a two-toned striped strap – giving it that eternal sporty feel. In tan leather, the Céline shopper has the look of one that has been made with great care. Featuring horizontal and vertical zips, this brass-trimmed entity looks like it has been cared for lovingly (pp. 129–131).
A "back to school" vibe has been hitting Shanghai of late, as satchels of every kind populate the streets – sporty, luxury, boating and bookish. In dark brown leather with a neutral woven webbed strap, satchels have been given a heritage-meets-modernity feel. The Louis Vuitton two-toned grey print shouts urban luxury, perfect for statement making on one's way to work – or school, for that matter. Raw-edged sand-coloured suede has that slightly bookish air of Princeton or Oxford. And finally the canvas satchel trimmed with dark brown leather and white stitching looks nautical, especially worn again navy–and-white stripes. Glamour on the high seas. Satchel bags are a great way to add an easy sense of casual chic to an outfit. Rock this season's preppy look by teaming yours with a jersey knit over a collared shirt, or go a little more boho with a pair of skinnies and a tunic top (pp. 132–134).
Duffle bags are rendered fashion items by updating their design details, colours and fabrications and are usually used for travel or sports. The name comes from Duffel, a town in Belgium where the thick cloth used to make the bag originated. Duffle bags are often used by sailors, and are sometimes called sea bags. Pictured in hot pink, trimmed with brown leather and featuring a striped pink shoulder strap, this bag is going places. Also featured in washed back green and trimmed in brown leather, this bag has an unusual buckle position – so that it folds around the wearer's body in an interesting way. This bag screams "have fun – will travel" (pp. 134–135).
Excerpted from Shanghai Street Style by Toni Johnson-Woods, Vicki Karaminas, Fung Chang. Copyright © 2013 Intellect ltd. Excerpted by permission of Intellect Ltd.
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Table of Contents
Foreword: On the Ground in Shanghai—September 2011
Introduction: Shanghai Street Style