The sale just started yesterday at Lane Crawford. Get over there before it is too late.
Items are 30% to 50% off. In many cases, this just brings the price down to what it would be at about a 10% discount in the West, but not all of us have time for the trip back.
Unfortunately, my girlfriend wouldn’t let me spend too much time assessing the women’s clothing collections. The shoes on offer are quite nice, if you skip all the cheesy stuff and the rather brutal and strangely geriatric designs of Jil Sander and Dries Van Noten. There was an odd piece – I can’t remember the designer – that looked like a computer chip that wanted to be a samurai. The Miu Miu flats (RMB 1800, after 40% discount) in patent and calfskin are cute and a good shoe – considering the general low quality of women’s footwear – with leather soles and stitching rather than pasting. Hey, I view this from a man’s perspective. I don’t remember the brands, but everything under 1800 seemed to be pasted, rather than stitched. I’m a lover of much of the Alaia line, but there wasn’t too much on sale.
Let’s go to territory I know better. I particularly recommend looking at the men’s shoes, all the more fashion forward brands are on sale and most sizes are still available. They have a well-edited collection. In terms of quality and style this is the best value that can be found in Beijing. There are quite a few goodyear welted, full-grain leather, shoes made in Spain and Italy in the 1500-2500 range, which is not overwhelmingly pricey by international standards. Good for foreigners, size 44 (around a US 11) is available in most sizes, though 45 is rare. Unfortunately, the classic brands such as Santoni, John Lobb, and Church’s are not on sale.
Some of the other shoes are designed exclusively for Lane Crawford, and the quality is very respectable. The styles are fashionable but would not stick out too much in any work place. While not a huge bargain, it is by far the best one you will find in Beijing with such an excellent selection. These are light years beyond the dress shoes in that dreadful little shop – everyone loves it because there’s nothing else – in the Nali Market, which are invariably pasted and in terrible leather. Back to Lane Crawford, steer clear of the well-known designer brands like Paul Smith, Yves Saint Laurent, and Miu Miu; the prices are much higher and the styles are inferior to the Lane Crawford store brands. There are some really kitschy sneakers and sandals from some of those trendy brands like Raf Simons.
Ties are also on sale, and the collection is superior. Big brands like Paul Smith and Vivienne Westwood can be had for around 700 and there are some more beautiful, smaller Italian brand ties for 600 or so. Again, this is the best tie selection in the city. The only other shop that comes close is Aleia, in Oriental Plaza.
The clothes are also on sale, but I can’t really convince myself to spring 1500-3000 for a shirt or trousers. There’s just much less work going into these than a good pair of handmade shoes.
Still find Lane Crawford too dear? If you want an even bigger bargain or would prefer not to pay anything at all, I am selling or giving away a good deal of my work and casual wardrobe because I live in a small hutong residence and need some breathing space. I am a size 40L in suits, a 32 waist, and wear a size 44/US11 shoe. Text me at 13910092410, as much of the free stuff will probably be gone by tonight.