The new Yi Ou Lai Shanghai shopping village opened on May 19, next door to the incredible Disney Shanghai, which has its official opening on June 19. Disney might be the emperor of theme parks, but Yi Ou Lai Shanghai is a fashion playground, one fit for monarchs and thrifty style-loving princesses.

La Croisette, Yi Ou Lai Shanghai, at night

La Croisette, Yi Ou Lai Shanghai, at night

Set on 55,000 square meters, the Village comes from Value Retail, who created luxury outlet shopping with Bicester Village in the early 90s. Yi Ou Lai Shanghai has seven wide avenues of shopping arranged in a series of crescents and boulevards on a beautiful lake full of fountains. Restaurants are plentiful and offer Western or Chinese options, some in soaring spaces reminiscent of Manhattan. 

The Village’s architecture is a contemporary expression of Art Deco, a twentieth century design movement devoted to the idea that everything in life should be beautiful, even quotidian items like WCs. At Yi Ou Lai Shanghai this principle has been applied with complete devotion, right down to public bathrooms that are stunning, decorated with intricate mosaics inspired by prominent artists of the Art Deco era, like Georgia O’Keefe.

The shopping at Yi Ou Lai Shanghai offers a rich mix of well known brands complemented by emerging designers, to keep guests guessing about what fashion will do next. Most of the merchandise is from previous seasons, with discounts of up to 75% off, but this does not feel remotely like an outlet.

The gorgeous setting compliments the brands and enhances their reputation for quality. The clothing and accessories are offered as a sampling from the most recent work of fashion’s best and brightest, turning fashion’s contemporary archive into a vibrant, authentic and relevant source of creative self-expression.

In full price malls, the product continues to be big names and their aggressive branding, but at Yi Ou Lai Shanghai, Value Retail has created an environment in which the shopper’s curation of their new look is the end product, and everyone’s individuality has an opportunity to shine beyond the logos and monograms.

The shopper’s journey at Shanghai Village is enriched by YiHAUS, Value Retail’s provocative new innovation platform. The YiHAUS concept explores fashion’s transformation through its convergence with technology and travel. Presenting new materials, ways of communicating and forms of travel, YiHAUS brings this convergence into sharp focus. The platform poses fascinating questions about how we will look and live tomorrow, as futuristic fabrics and digital technologies grow ever closer together.

In the main YiHAUS space, Value Retail have presented a collaboration with Central Saint Martins, arguably the world’s most renowned design school. The partnership brings a rare level of sophistication to China’s discourse about fashion, and will be sure to turn heads.

Visitors to Yi Ou Lai Shanghai may wonder why so much money has been invested to make a place that’s so beautiful. The answer is simple – shoppers in China are increasingly hungry for experiences, for a shopping environment that fills their bags and their minds. Shanghai Village can do both, and if people find time to unplug and make the journey they will discover a unique experience, unlike anything else in China. 

Editor’s note – The Fashionable Truth‘s Daniel Jeffreys participated in the creation of YiHAUS.