Myriad of fashion, crafts to tempt hardy shoppers
The first floor of the store is a temptation to the most resolute shopper.
FOR those with some money left to spend by the time they have finished browsing the ground floor of the store, it is definitely worth braving the ''ferocious-looking'' fu dogs at the entrance to the first floor in pursuit of more bargains.
There is a lot more than women's wear on display, even though this is the main focus of attention. Bright primary colours attract the buyer to the wide variety of underwear that can be purchased.
Apart from Chinese silks, there is a selection of goods from Pierre Cardin, Philippe Charriol and Nina Ricci.
Outer wear is also on show, including a large collection of brightly coloured and ornately decorated cheong sams that sell for as little as $2,500 each.
On the other side of the store, away from the women's underwear, are men's fashions. Goretex coats and jackets offer proof that the visitor needs protection against the cold during winter visits to Beijing or the Great Wall .
Down jackets and warm cotton shirts, made in China, are also on the shelves next to Cashmere sweaters.
Silk scarves, which hang like waterfalls from tall stands, retail for between $35 and $75. Paisley silk dressing gowns, with fleecy interiors, are also available on this floor.
The children's department has the latest styles: shorts and braces in tartan; and dresses, shirts and sweaters with motifs straight out of Disneyland.
Nearby, sunglasses from Moschino, Christian Dior and Dunhill represent the latest in European eye wear designs.
One of the most delightful attractions about CAC compared with other department stores are the other-world fancies that are no longer made in the West but can still be found in China.
For instance, batten lace parasols, linen embroidered toast covers and handkerchiefs, and starched white tablecloths are excellent gifts, or ideal to have in your own home.
Small carved tables and figurines of different types of wood are plentiful and affordable, and delicate bird cages reveal the delights of Oriental craftsmanship.
This is the floor for discovering the unusual side of the artist's work. Pottery that looks like giant pumpkins can be used as storage pots.
A two-metre-high image of a woman, and carved from a single tree trunk, has the feet sculptured so they appear to sympathetically peep from between the roots at the base of the statue.
The wall behind features paper kites of dragon flies and butterflies and giant paper fans.
Other eye-catching bric-a-brac includes lacquer jewellery boxes inlaid with mother-of-pearl flowers that sell for less than $500, and tiny snuff and perfume bottles that are painted on the inside.
The inner surface of the bottles are roughened with a mixture of steel and quartz particles.
A tiny curved brush is then used to paint the interior designs. These must be applied in reverse so they appear correct when viewed from the outside.
What's on display is as much an education and exhibition of skills as the commercial centre of the floor.