Fei Space

UK high street giant Topshop comes to Madame Mao's dowry

It’s been a long time coming, but UK high street giant Topshop has finally hit Shanghai. While it’s perhaps not surprising given the brand’s hipper-than-thou credentials, they’ve opened in an unusual space, eschewing a grand flagship store on Huaihai Lu or Nanjing Lu in favour of a guerilla-style approach: their first foray into Shanghai comes via the pop-up version of concept store Fei Space, which recently started a year-long run at Madame Mao’s Dowry.

At first glance, the marriage of a fashion-slash-art boutique from Beijing’s hip 798 district and a high-kitsch memorabilia emporium seems strange, but as store director Linda Johnson explains, Madame Mao’s has always stocked a small amount of clothing – from local brands such as FINCH and He Yan – alongside its more high-profile collection of Maomorabilia. Plus, there’s an element of reciprocity, as Fei Space recently began selling some of Madame Mao’s ceramics.

TopshopWhatever the rationale, we’re not complaining. The refurbished, walk-in-closet-like space now holds a well-edited selection of treasures sourced directly from Topshop’s London flagship store on Oxford Street, including the hugely popular MOTO denim range (high-waisted skinny black jeans, 490RMB), shoes (glitter-toe ballet flats, 350RMB; suede ankle boots, 780RMB) and jersey separates (oversized printed T-shirt, 230RMB).

Some of our favourites for the season include houndstooth corduroy trousers (538RMB) for a warmer, funkier alternative to jeans and the versatile cropped silk vests with punky zip detail (380RMB) – layer up with a chunky cardigan for winter, and wear on their own come summer.

You’ll also find a cross-section of the designer capsule collections for which Topshop is famous, including Dutch designer Michael van der Ham’s richly textured eveningwear and recent Central St Martins’ graduate Simone Rocha (daughter of John Rocha), whose white dress shirts with contrasting-colour net sleeves (1,280RMB) are a fresh twist on a classic.

Fei SpaceTaking up the back rails are pricier select pieces from the cream of the current London-based designer crop – Jonathan Saunders, Marios Schwab and Christopher Rueben, the standout being an electric blue tweed mini-dress (3,600RMB) and matching jacket (3,550RMB) by eccentric British label House of Holland. Accessories come courtesy of various indie jewellery labels – we love Maryam Keyhari’s leather-feather hybrid neckpieces.

Price-wise, there’s a mark-up of around 30 per cent compared to what you’d pay in the UK, but the Western-friendly sizes (UK 6-12 for clothes) and the limited-edition nature of the pieces – Johnson promises an injection of fresh stock every month, depending on demand – is bound to sweeten the pill for fans of British high street fashion.

Selena Schleh

Fei Space @ Madame Mao’s Dowry 207 Fumin Lu, near Julu Lu.
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