Goodbye to Granny pants
2007-07-10 17:02:26 [ Big Normal Small ]     Comment

Having lived and worked in New York in the film industry, Shiny Fang, originally from Taiwan, is no stranger to lingerie. Not that women in the New York film industry have any particular insight on lingerie, but women in New York in general, with its popular boutiques - Victoria's Secret, Pink Pussycats, and Bonne Nuits - know their underwear. Shiny herself came to a point in her life (nearing the big 3-0) and wanted a change. Along with a friend, she set up her own business choosing an unlikely combination: Shanghai and lingerie.

Shiny thinks that underwear is still being "discovered" in China and perceives a gap in the market. I would have to agree with her in that, there seems to be an abundance of 'granny knickers' in Shanghai; in the shops, on the washing lines and, most shockingly, on the people. Her lingerie boutique was opened in January of this year, offering a selection of non-commercial designer brands from the UK and America. By non-commercial I mean, it's not your usual Calvin Klein, Versace or French Connection; she sells labels such as Kenzo and Jimmy Jane, to name but a few. And this is in keeping with her whole concept: to steer clear of the commercialized industry, bulk sales and impersonal marketing of lingerie. Her boutique is intimate, with carefully selected designs and only perhaps two or three sets available of each.

The boutique is in an old fashioned building, on a quiet lane set back from the malls, caf¨¦s and designer shops of West Nanjing Road. I actually got a bit lost looking for it, but when I found it, it was like a little hidden gem. On entering the boutique, or should I say boudoir - yes, the dim and very fabulous lighting and deep purples throughout are that of a boudoir - I was stunned. The carpets are soft on the feet (you have to take your shoes off), the high ceiling with its intricate detail and huge black and crystal chandelier is beautiful and overall there is a very sexy, sultry atmosphere. The attention to details is apparent and Shiny has definitely done nothing by halves. A lot of money has been put into the business and it shows in these details.

Now I don't know about anyone else, but I'm not particularly partial to changing rooms. You know the curtain ones that you can just about stand up in, let alone change. And then the ones that only have a mirror outside, so you have to leave your box, dressed like, well you don't know until you see...yep not my idea of fun. Now the changing room at Lingerie & Me is actually a room. Wow, a huge one at that, with a chez-lounge against the wall, a beautiful dresser and a huge mirror. Shiny wanted to create a space where people felt comfortable and at home trying things on, a place where your partner or friend can sit in with you.

Lingerie & Me is not only the only lingerie boutique in Shanghai, it is in fact on its own in China. She has created a private boutique, where people can come and feel comfortable trying on and buying underwear. Her clients are mainly expats and generally over twenty five, possibly because of the prices. The cheapest thing you can buy sets you back about 680rmb. But those prices come with the label I guess, so if you really want something that bit more special, something not every man and his dog are wearing (and I should hope not!) then this is the place to come. The staff are extremely friendly and speak with you on a very personal level; they are trained to fit you, measure you and can also advise you on what would be best for your shape or what you want. In fact you actually need to know zilch about underwear! Shiny also speaks to her clients about the designers themselves, so they have a better idea of whose creations they are wearing.

This gem, I think, is yet to be truly discovered but I do think it is going to be around for a while. (Once the culture here budges slightly), this boutique will be buzzing. I only hope it manages to keep its charm and secrecy, because a gem is always more pretty when it's hidden.
Lingerie & Me
Address: Room 28, Building No.5, Lane 1173, Nan Jing Xi Lu
Tel: 021-6253 3076

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