Last month, I had the pleasure of exploring a few cities in China, which was an unforgettable experience to say the least. To visit a country with such a rich heritage, abundant in a deep respect for art and design, of course got me a little more than excited.
The 9 hour flight to Beijing wasn’t too bad, but that nervous feeling of the airline losing my suitcase before the holiday had settled in. I actually let out an audible sigh of relief when I spotted the luxurious electric blue hardshell of Ted Baker’s “Large Spinner” suitcase on the conveyer belt. Oliver Sweeney’s trusty Taunton Tan weekender was my dearest companion on the flight, with a secret shoe compartment (which ended up being used to store snacks).
I had heard horror stories of Beijing’s incredibly thick smog being so dense, you couldn’t see anything fifty metres in front of you. Fortunately, we had arrived just after the government had stopped traffic for the whole day in honour of the Beijing tennis open, which resulted in most of the smog being lifted. The sun had a natural soft box filter in front of it, making the light perfect for shooting during the day.
First stop- Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, commonly recognised as the setting for the film ‘Hero’, where Jet Li was famously executed by shower of arrows, remember? We were amazed by the sheer size and grandeur of the complex, we (Rebecca Keates and I) travelled through the huge courtyards and imperial grounds, admiring the detail and arduous attention to detail found in every cubic metre of the structures. The bright orange oriental rooftops sheltered the royal blues and greens of the hand painted support beams. My Meuse Eco Yarn from Cote & Ciel bag was a great companion during this exploration, with a spacious compartment for my camera.
Next up- The Great Wall. I’m not going to go into the history of the wall, that’s what Wikipedia is for, however I will say that Rockport’s Boots were honestly my best friend(s) during that hike. I would usually prefer light, breathable trainers over heavy boots in the middle of summer traversing the Great Wall of China, but the super lightweight Adiprene sole at the bottom of the boot and the light materials ended up the perfect choice for the hike. I thought the Great Wall would be difficult to top, but when we zoomed across the city to reach the Summer Palace before the sun set… It was still hard to top. Again, no history lesson in this article, but this was the summer getaway of the Royal family of China, so you can imagine every inch of this area was abundant in artistic detail. Many selfies were taken and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
Overall, Beijing is home to a juxtaposition of beautiful, modern architecture as well as profoundly rich historical sites and structures. Menswear is quite underdeveloped there, but things are certainly shifting in that part of China, so it will be interesting to visit in a few years to check on progression. Next- Part 2: Shanghai!
“Inspiration is contagious”.
Special thanks to Jian You Rong and Rebecca Keates for such a comfortable experience!