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Mohandiseen, Cairo, Egypt.
Display: Inconspicious Cairo Sex Shop
In a country where sex education is dormant and physical intimacy remains a taboo subject among the larger portion of society, it is both surprising and uplifting to walk into an adult shop that is boldly, yet carefully, situated on Syria Street in Mohandiseen.
Behind the costume-adorned mannequins posing in its windows, Display is a single, dimly lit room that sells everything from lingerie and costumes to board games and bedside toys.
According to its extremely helpful saleswoman, they have 'a very particular clientele'. Although she was uncertain about the prices of much of the items on sale, she readily answered our queries about objects obscured by their Chinese-made packaging.
At first glance, Display seems like a sheepish attempt at a sex shop; a model on a case parading the ubiquitous naughty nurse outfit, a few bottles of body oil and furry handcuffs are readily laid out, making us wary of just how far Display can go.
But a closer look at the merchandise neatly exhibited in a glass drawer at the centre of the shop took this reviewer by surprise. A strawberry-flavoured bra and matching underwear (225LE) are folded into a box in the corner, next to which sits a clap-off bra, which supposedly snaps open with just a clap of the hands. A pair of pasties is tucked in the adjacent corner. Pasties, which are sometimes referred to as breast petals, were made famous by burlesque and the erotic entertainment industry.
The drawer also includes vibrators (375LE), mint and chocolate body paint (130LE), a deck of cards for couples (110LE), peppermint panties and vibrating rings (375LE). Body oils and gels are also on display, with the latter being offered in cherry, bubblegum and strawberry flavours.
Aside from this range of merchandise, Display also offers an extensive set of daring outfits ranging between 300LE and 1000LE. One such outfit is themed 'daisy bug'; a red and black doll-like polka dotted dress with matching stockings, wings and an antenna-inspired headpiece. 'Bad kitty' (890LE) includes ripped leather pants, a matching bustier with straps that tie around the stomach, a black mask and a whip.
Less elaborate but equally suggestive attire between 180LE and 375LE is also on display, including a collection by American lingerie line Dreamgirls.
The second half of the shop is reserved for women’s wear imported exclusively from France and Turkey, including shoes and a myriad range of daytime accessories.
While we were surprised at what Display has to offer, the second section is perhaps a reminder that it is still unsettling for a shop in Egypt to solely sell sexual apparel, even for its owners.
With a newly launched branch in Lebanon Street – not too far from the existing one in Geziret El Arab Street – popular Spanish high-street fashion brand, Mango, has revived its presence on Cairo’s increasingly eclectic shopping scene with a colorful fiesta and a new summer collection for all the fashion gurus out there.
We entered the new spacious two-story venue, completely drawn by how neat and perfectly soothing the summer collection looks; with unified colours in each department skimming and browsing through the items is a breeze.
The first collection we laid eyes on was comprised of red, blue and white colours. A red-patterned jumpsuit with hints of blue (699LE), a cool white shirt with neat blue stripes (499LE) and bestseller jeggings (399LE) available in different shades of blue, were among the items that stood out.
The second collection, comprising of white, beige and black colours, had a sleeveless, dressy blue jumpsuit with a V-cut (699LE); one of the many items that wowed us.
Mango is known to also offer a versatile collection of evening gowns for shoppers, which can only be found in limited branches; a large collection of simple evening gowns – varying between 1,299LE and 1,599LE – can be found in abundance found in the Lebanon Street branch.
The outlet’s second floor is where all the discounted items are, with over 50% and 70% reductions. Cocktail dresses – including a short strapless one we loved – can reach 345LE. The shop also offers a large collection of trousers reaching 145LE each, in addition to shirts and blouses between 199LE to 245LE – prices that will only be available in Mango during discount season.
Overall, Mango’s summer collection boasts a colourful and vibrant look with an edgy, modern twist; it’s a treat for the eyes, but sadly not a treat for the pocket with its prices not affordable for the average shopper.