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How to Do Shanghai Like a Style Icon

Nevermind the teenybopper K-Pop idols of today, ever wondered how a Golden Era silver screen siren would have explored the Shanghai of yore? Well, we’ve been inspired by the unveiling of the “Always and Forever: Audrey Hepburn” exhibition at Shanghai Exhibition Center to put together an effortlessly stylish day in the ‘Paris of the Orient’. Sashay this way…

First, you’ll need to look the part. Start with that all-important pep and pamper at Urban Retreat, just three treatment suites for muscle-melting, East-meets-West massage, and traditional acupressure. Spa packages have been designed for jetlag, detox or renewal, and can be combined with a soak in an essential oil-infused bath – but we like the Hawaiian Lomi Lomi best.

Now you’re ready to face the world, totter down the road to Shanghai Exhibition Center for the “Always and Forever: Audrey Hepburn” exhibition (runs until Sep), featuring many never before-seen photos. Put together and curated by her son Luca Dotti, chic cinephiles can browse a collection of Hepburn’s personal effects and props used in her films, offering a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the original style icon’s life.

You must be famished! Whip to The Peninsula for a spot of refined afternoon tea in the plush Lobby, where porcelain tiers of picture-pretty cakes and delicate savouries are accompanied by steaming silver teapots, swilling an exotic variety of leaves.

Back in a cab, spin over to Xintiandi for some much-needed retail indulgence. Shanghai’s answer to Covent Garden is a fab melange of food, fashion, bars, and boutiques in a series of beautifully restored buildings – the perfect place to ease yourself into the Shang-shop scene. Start at the Xingye Lu entrance of Xintiandi South Block; in the courtyard is I.T (1-2/F / Hse 7) for global fashionista gear by Acne, Helmut Lang et al, then take the exit leading into the glass mall and look for Glossy (1/F / Hse 6) with Rick Owens, Freitag bags and urban kicks. Next up, on the second floor, is Chinese designer Ma Ke’s arty Exception de Mixmind shelving eco-chic and sustainable knits for women, as well as local talent Ziggy Chen, famed for his ultra-modern renditions of traditional m/w garb. There’s plenty more here, so feel free to continue your wander…

Finish your foray with bubbles and bivalves at elegant Coquille, just a 5-min cab ride away. This shiny, marble-ous, splurge-worthy seafood brasserie, from the culinary team behind beloved Italian Scarpetta, dishes up a cracking selection of Boston lobster, Dungeness crab, oysters, abalone, prawns – the whole sea-bang.

Planning a Shanghai surprise? Don’t forget to pack your LUXE Guide…

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