Opened late last year on an unassuming stretch of Taiyuan Lu, the strangely-titled concept store OOAK (‘One Of A Kind’) has been quietly making waves in Shanghai’s still-nascent indie jewellery scene. Squashed into a skinny three-storey lanehouse, the look and feel is pure Dover Street Market: think reclaimed wooden shelves, whitewashed brick walls adorned with McQueen skull prints and faded Persian carpets laid artfully over scrubbed pine floors.
On the ground floor, glass-fronted display cases hold dainty yet edgy pieces from a 20-strong stable of some of the hippest London-based accessories designers: founders Alice Xu and Clare Yu religiously do the twice-yearly rounds at London, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks to gather their carefully-curated selection, which runs the gamut from more affordable trend-led pieces such as EA Burns’s fun fluorescent leather offcuts (from 280RMB) up to Lara Bohinc’s exquisite, blow-the-budget palladium and diamond line, topping out at 5,750RMB.
We’re most excited about their mid-priced costume jewellery that fills Shanghai’s hitherto yawning chasm between Taobao tat and fine jewellery – not least due to the minimal mark-ups (around 20-30 per cent). Firmly established Vogue darlings such as beloved Brit label Alex Monroe, whose bumblebees, acorns and feathers have adorned many a celeb neck, and Lei Van Kash sit side by side with lesser-known, but no less covetable, offerings from Gothic specialist Violet Darkling and Ros Millar, who casts her one-of-a-kind organic shapes in carved cuttlefish-bone moulds.
If you like your jewellery pretty but with a bit of an edge, be sure to check out Smith/Grey’s latest collection, ‘I Can’t Seem To Get Rid Of The Horses’. Starting from 980RMB, the collection features faintly disturbing Equus undertones – think ponies split in half across a pair of earrings or rearing back on themselves to form rings. Meanwhile, the meticulously-crafted ‘Citizens’ range by Central St Martins College graduate Kyle Hopkins is populated with sinister little mannikins (‘Square People’ pendant necklace pictured inset).
Although the jewellery is the main draw here, it’s also worth venturing up the narrow staircase to a well-edited selection of clothing including the latest collections from TBA, House of Holland, Antipodium and Liz Black, with McQueen’s signature skull-print scarves winding through the rungs of a nearby ladder. Local talent comes in the form of graphic-printed hessian cushions (150RMB) by Fandio and prettily-packaged scented candles by Suzhou-based M&Sense, which make nice gifts. Best of all, Rihanna’s favourite swimwear brand, We Are Handsome, is due to land in store this month.