My thing for Beijing started during the 2008 Summer Olympics. The Bird's Nest! The Water Cube! Since China opened to foreign markets in the late '70s, worlds have collided East and West, old and new. Beijingers (19 million and counting) are abandoning the dusty brands of yore in favor of newfound luxury. (Alexander McQueen and Dior recently opened flagships here.) Still, they take the whole "beauty from within" thing literally. Traditional Chinese medicine says that our internal energy or qi controls how we look. Got acne? Graying hair? Heat your qi up, cool it down, massage it, and you're fixed! Before the West wins the capital city over entirely, I set out to uncover its glorious origins.
Mao's sweet crib, the Forbidden City.