Sign in using your account with
Stradivarius: Trendy, Affordable Women's Wear at Citystars
It might seem that this shop is yet another trendy, funky clothing brand targeting young women willing to take fashion risks. Not that we can ever have enough of these shops, but the concept is starting to get tired. However, Stradivarius is a bit different from its counterparts. Located in Cairo’s Citystars, Stradivarius’ mission is to make you feel like a Stradiva (their words, not ours); and quite honestly, who wouldn’t want to feel like that?
Stradivarius is a women’s-only shop filled with very moderately priced clothing, shoes and accessories. The best part about the shop is that a new collection comes in every six weeks; so the shop is always up-to-date on the latest fashion trends.
Stradivarius is in good company on the first floor of Phase 2; Mango, Vero Moda and Dalydress are all in view of the shop. As soon as you step in you are welcomed by the loud beats pumping out of the speakers. The shop is divided into illuminated and dark areas, which give a nice, playful atmosphere but can be distracting if you’re trying to scrutinise the small details in the clothing. The lighting’s other effect is that you want to jump onto the highlighted items because they really stand out from the rest.
Stradivarius has a line of basics tops (99LE), t-shirts (150LE and above), jeans (220LE) and leggings (80LE). The highlights of Stradivarius are the cute dresses and funky shirts. Since it is a Spanish brand, femininity is written all over the designs. Most of the dresses are very short, though.
The collection for the month of May 2011 has a lot of floral designs, animal prints and denim. Most dresses start at around 250LE and reach 500LE. The shop has quite an extensive collection of t-shirts with funky designs and slogans. Though they are very cool, we are not really sure how smart it is to walk around Cairo in a shirt that says ‘I want a Hug’. Most printed shirts cost around 170LE.
If you are looking for knitwear, then Stradivarius is really the place to go with vests starting at 129LE. Jackets start at 260LE, which is a very moderate price compared to other international brands; but then again bear in mind that the 'leather' jackets are faux leather, which is understandable given their low price. Stradivarius uses cotton for most of its designs and apart from the faux leather, most of the items are of good quality.
However, when it comes to the brand’s shoe collection, it’s another story. Though the shoes are moderately priced at around 300LE, most of the designs are of poor quality, especially the high heels. Sneakers start at 460LE and are of better quality, as are the boots, which start at 600LE.
Stradivarius has a small accessories section as well with earrings, necklaces, hats and bracelets on offer. Though the collection is pretty and dainty, it doesn’t differ that much from similar women’s wear brands. The staff is really friendly and leaves you to browse through the shop, though dressing rooms are a bit small and cramped.
If you’re looking for cheap and trendy clothing and don’t mind forfeiting quality for a better price, check out Stradivarius at Citystars.
Even with today’s economic climate, young entrepreneurs continue to venture, opening restaurants, cafes and shops in Cairo. There seems to be never-ending options when it comes to women’s clothing outlets, though many shops seem to spew out the same stuff, leaving little variety in the market.
Well hidden on Mohamed Mazhar Street in Zamalek, Pepper Closet supplies local fashionistas with hand-picked items from a wide range of local and international brands. The boutique occupies a small, organised space and resembles a girly walk-in closet. The merchandise is sourced from both high-street and designer labels and is sold for a fraction of the original price.
The young owner, May Ezz El Din, knows her fashion and is incredibly welcoming; she readily offered to help pick out our perfect outfit and gave her honest opinion during the lengthy trying-on process. Noticing one of the dresses didn't fit quite right, Ezz El Din happily and helpfully recommended a tailor that could fix it up for us.
Each section is very precisely organised, and as we began wading our way through the brimming, colourful clothes rails, we spotted some familiar high-street names, as well as some Parisian brands, the majority of which are unavailable in Egypt. Summer-perfect sheer tops in a range of colours, prints and designs ranged from 110LE to 250LE, whilst neon lace t-shirts by Vila were priced at 220LE. We spotted an Asos sheer cream top adorned with tiny gold skulls for 250LE and a black tank top with chain detailing around the neckline for 180LE. Button-up Atmosphere blouses were 120LE and a pretty, coral cardigan from Bandolera was 250LE.
To complete your top choice, we spotted a shelf neatly stacked with a range of different jeans, leggings and comfy haram pants, including a pair of black and white, striped skinny jeans from Miss Anna (150LE).
Moving to the day dress rail, we found that many of the items could be dressed either up or down depending on the occasion. Maxi, midi and short dresses were aplenty, and were available in a rainbow of colours and materials. We fell for a white Karen Millen sun dress (780LE), which was originally retailing for 1700LE.
If you’re looking for the perfect evening dress, Pepper Closet could be the place to visit. The items start at from as little as 250LE, so you can look a million dollars for just a few LE. Sequin dresses were priced at 450LE whilst an expensive looking, little black dress from Andrea Jovine surprised us at 350LE. As expected, the prices increase depending on their brand name. A long, stunning, emerald green La Blanca dress was being sold at a reduced price of 1700LE (RRP 3000LE). An original black Hervé Léger bandage dress with gold detailing on the front would usually cost 4000LE, but was being sold at 2500LE.
There are numerous shoes and sandals (110LE-180LE+), silk scarves (40LE), sun hats (100LE), swimwear (150LE+), handbags (250LE+), purses and vibrant jewellery items (60LE+) to choose from; some of the top designer handbags have been pre-owned, although you could never tell. A limited edition D&G handbag was priced at 5000LE, while a pair of Christian Dior heels were 1400LE. Some items are also sourced from up-market and unique local designers, including Dokan Baladi, Aya Deena and Dalia Hafez.
The items at Pepper Closet vary greatly, and are often just one-offs; so, not only is there something for everyone and every budget, but you needn’t worry too much about someone else wearing the same thing.