Shanghai's revival as the Paris of the east is undisputed: China's cultural centre now offers a wide range of luxury products guaranteed to empty your wallet in no time. Avoid international fashion labels such as Prada and Louis Vuitton, in whose stores prices are much higher than those in London and Hong Kong. Instead, look to the city's emerging designers who have made a name for themselves with an elegant blend of new and old Chinese styles.
Annabel Lee (unit 3, house 3, North Block, Xintiandi, Lane 181, Taicang Road, tel: 86 21 6320 0045; www.annabel-lee.com) is in the heart of Xintiandi, an Old Shanghai-styled redevelopment comprising shops, restaurants, cafes and bars. Tailored linen shirts with jade buttons cost 580 yuan. Silk cushion covers start at 350 yuan and feature chic, modern, Chinese embroidered designs. Soft cashmere scarves lined with silk and edged with small jade stones (480 yuan) are a stylish way to keep the cold at bay.
Also in Xintiandi is Shanghai Trio (unit 5, building 1, Xintiandi, 181 Taicang Road, tel: 86 21 6355 2974), a tiny shop with quirky contemporary clothing, linen and accessories. Established by Frenchwoman Virginie Fournier, its colourful silks and linens are distinct from those on offer elsewhere in the city. Silk-lined, linen kaftan tops with kimono-like sleeves, sell for a reasonable 840 yuan.
Lehman and Qian (119 Ma Dang Lu, Xintiandi, tel: 86 21 6385 1805; www.lehmanqian.com) sells expensive, but exquisite, hand-painted Chinoise wallpaper. Silk panels with traditional Chinese patterns start at 1,250 yuan a square metre.
Another popular revitalised area is Taikang Lu (above left), an industrial zone that now hosts design companies, artists' studios, cafes and shops. The International Artists Factory is home to Danish designer Trina Targett's Jooi (suite 201, Lane 210, Taikang Road, tel: 86 21 6473 6193; www.jooi.com), which offers a range of unusually decorated bags (595 yuan upwards), necklaces of soft suede flowers (120 yuan) and chic clothing.
Nearby, Esydragon (shop 20, Lane 210, Taikang Road, tel: 86 21 6426 4818) is crammed full of colourful Chinese-inspired art and craft items. Hand-painted cups (288 yuan), children's cotton toys (80 yuan) and embroidered coin purses (15 yuan) make this the ideal place for inexpensive souvenirs.
Combine shopping with Shanghai's premier tourist draw, the Bund, at Suzhou Cobblers (room 101, 17 Fuzhou Road, tel: 86 21 6321 7087; www.suzhou-cobblers.com). Denise Huang's hand-embroidered ballet-style shoes, slippers and bags in bright Chinese colours are wearable works of art. Shoes (450 yuan) are hand embroidered with traditional Chinese motifs and come wrapped in a velvet bag.
It is de rigueur that you should return with at least one Chairman Mao memento. For this, go straight to the newly relocated Madame Mao's Dowry (207 Fumin Road, Jin-an, tel: 86 21 5403 3551). The shop is a treasure trove of Mao-era memorabilia (above right), such as 1970s propaganda posters (200 yuan), antique furniture and a wide selection of old photographs. Dedicated shoppers can then claim to have seen some of Shanghai's past without having to trek through the Shanghai Museum.