Slip down a drive way off a busy shopping street in Shanghai and you’ll discover an oasis of classic menswear from England. The Alfred Dunhill store in Shanghai occupies half of the Twin Villas, a beautifully appointed set of buildings that houses both the Dunhill flagship in mainland China and its Richemont owned cousin Vacheron Constantin. The Dunhill outpost is very easily one of the more tastefully arranged shops in the world.
The Dunhill portion of the Twin Villas occupies the first two floors with various rooms representing different categories of finely made goods. Leather bags, travel accoutrements and small items on the ground floor, bespoke tailoring upstairs with the bar and the sportswear rooms. Looking around, it feels like Mayfair for the Shanghai locals (or more specifically, like Bourdon House, Dunhill’s home in London), only without the jet lag. Though, if you fly in to China from New York, Mayfair might be a slightly easier journey.
The store is relaxed with attentive staff who are always nearby, though not too close or pushy. The store also lacks the hustle of the city which is just a few steps away – it is a welcome respite from Shanghai. The city itself is an amazing place, certainly unlike anything I have ever seen. Having never been to China, the trip was an eye opening experience. Dunhill has built a tremendous following in the far east and it was interesting to experience China from a British perspective as a guest of the brand. More on my adventures in the land of China to come.