Shopping in Beijing: Lido/798’s Best Boutiques

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Few of us anticipated the sartorial growth seen in Lido this past year. 798 Art District, meanwhile, has been up-and-coming for awhile, but it wasn't until the opening of Indigo Mall and East Beijing Hotel that the whole surrounding area has taken off. Based on my last visit, I am already confident that Indigo will eventually rival Sanlitun Village, currently Beijing's most popular shopping center (also owned by Swire Properties). The boutiques below have already warranted the neighborhood a list of its own in my "Shopping in Beijing" series (for my first list on Sanlitun, click here), though considering the current pace of development, there may be many new shops to add in coming months.

Loop: I have to make an effort to avoid this shop because I always leave with tons of (expensive) purchases in hand. Loop has another branch in Nali Patio, but their Lido one is more spacious, allowing for a much wider selection. They cut all the tags off their clothes in an effort to remove the emphasis on brand names, but the fashion-savvy can recognize the stunning styles and workmanship of Celine, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Alexander Wang and more. Also in stock: locally-designed jewelry by Gao Yuan, Victoria’s Secret lingerie and Karen Walker sunglasses. Daily 12pm-10pm. Shop A03, 2 Fangyuan Xilu, Chaoyang District. (5208 6011) www.l8pshop.com

LMC: Run by three designers from Hong Kong, LMC set up shop early on in Lido, long before most of the other stores on this list. The clothes are sleek, sophisticated and expensive, targeting a slightly older female clientele. But there are many affordable cashmere sweaters, black dresses and pashmina scarves, as well as jewelry by local designers like Everard + WangDaily 11am-10pm. 2/F, Shop 2, Hairun International Apartment, 2A Jiangtai Lu, Chaoyang District (5135 7184)

Luxbible: This showroom (accompanying its popular e-commerce site) targets a very narrow Chinese market: those who are not just rich, but also have highly discerning taste. Some select pieces by more renowned fashion houses like Lanvin and Valentino can be found here, but Luxbible’s specialty are alternative labels that are classic yet trendy. Daily 11am-8pm. 6 Fangyuan Xilu (inside Lido Park), Chaoyang District (6435 3855) http://shop.luxbible.com 

UCCA Design Store: One of the highlights of 798, the UCCA Design Store – an offshoot of the very popular Ullens Center of Contemporary Arts Gallery as well as the original UCCA Store – showcases local and international options galore, from Zhang Da to Y-3. Books, magazines, clothes, temporary tattoos, art supplies and even bicycles are available here – you can easily pick up an artsy souvenir on the cheap or invest in a Chinese-designed table if you have more to spend. Look out for exclusive collaborations between the shop and local designers. Tue-Sun 10am-6pm. Dashanzi 798 Art District, 4 Jiuxianqiao Lu, Chaoyang District

FEI Space: Surely one of the most stylishly curated boutiques in Beijing, FEI Space stocks a superb selection of the trendiest international brands, from Alexander Wang to Raf Simons, all in a refurbished factory space furnished with nostalgic antique fittings. CC Skye, Henrik Vibskov and Ksubi – names that are otherwise impossible to find in China – are also sold here. And if that all weren’t enticing enough, FEI is also the exclusive China mainland stockist for Topshop and Topman. Tues-Sun 10.30am-5pm. B-01, Dashanzi 798 Art District, 4 Jiuxianqiao Lu, Chaoyang District (5978 9580) www.feilook.com

Water Stone: The only defining feature about this shop’s décor is the giant deer head atop a mannequin at the entrance. Otherwise it is shockingly bare, with bedsheets adorning the walls and racks and racks of clothes haphazardly thrown together along the wall. It is only when you start rifling through them that you will find new and vintage gems by insider brands like Viktor & Rolf, Maison Martin Margiela and Obscur as well as a few local labels, most notably Yang Du. Daily 11am-9pm. Dashanzi 798 Art District, 4 Jiuxianqiao Lu, Chaoyang District (5978 4843) www.waterstone.com.cn