Style | Diary of a Somebody

Yann Debelle de Montby

The luxury consultant’s task is to help make the change from ‘made in China’ to ‘created in China’

Yann Debelle de Montby

Image: Derrick Santini

April 27 2011
Yann Debelle de Montby

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

My friend Peggy Huynh Kinh, the highly talented French designer, left for Paris after spending a week in Shanghai. I invited Peggy to come to China for many reasons: she is a quarter Chinese, she has one of the best tastes I know, and China really needs talented people right now. Peggy has worked for some of the best luxury brands in the world and was close to Madame Grès, the legendary French couture designer.

China is changing fast and is looking to build or rebuild some of its old brands. The purpose of my work in this fascinating (and difficult!) market is to help some of those iconic brands to become the future Chinese luxury brands. To try to change “made in China” to “created in China”. I do sincerely believe that we will see many changes in the market and in the image we have of China.

When I have a special guest such as Peggy, it is a great opportunity for me to visit places I have forgotten about or never been to before. So here is my recommended list for anyone coming to Shanghai and who wants to see interesting places and stores:

• Shanghai Tan Shan Sha, 388 Renmin Road: this is the biggest store for all kinds of buttons, embroideries, pearls, threads, etc.

• The wonderful bird and cricket market at 405 Xizang Nan Road, with all kinds of funny crickets’ boxes and cages for sale.

• The flea market on Dongtai Road: it’s quite touristic, but I always manage to find interesting things there.

• The oldest pharmacy in Shanghai at 20 Yuyuan Xin Road, which is quite fascinating.

• Wang De Chuan Fine Chinese Tea at Room 105, Building 5, Lane 123, Xingye Road (+8621-3331 6101).

The weather has changed dramatically in the past 10 days in Shanghai. Almost all the trees are with flowers, which brings a wonderful touch of vivid colour to grey Shanghai. The four banana trees in my garden have woken up from the harsh cold winter and are growing almost daily. They were two feet tall a year and a half ago; now they are over 10 or 15 feet tall!

My last visit today was to a very inspiring place which sells beautifully crafted porcelain designed by Chinese artists and owned by a wonderful Taiwanese gentleman. This is the place where I buy most of my presents when I want to buy some Chinese craftsmanship. Everything is exquisite and actually the prices are very reasonable: Spin Porcelain, 360 Kangding Road, near Shanxi North Road (+8621-6279 2545).

See also

People, Shanghai