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Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
Villa Baboushka: Cairo Chic Boutique
If the massive fuchsia doors aren’t enough to indicate that you’re entering an every-women’s paradise; perhaps the fact that every item you see in the store is for sale will spark the pleasure centre of your purse! Along with the myriad of clothes and accessories, furniture, including pieces by Nihal Zaki and artwork from France, Brazil and Argentina are on offer. A dramatically long opaque white chandelier (14970LE) imported from Spain captures the mood of Villa Baboushka perfectly: feminine, a bit quirky and expensive.
Villa Baboushka stocks designers from the well-known and long-coveted to the up-and-coming.You’ll find British labels such as Vivienne Westwood and Maggy London as well as American names like Poleci, Mara Hoffman and Robert Rodriguez. A few local designers are on hand, including Baheya, while Lebanese labels Shorouk, Vanina and Rim Mikdashi’s accessory collections are on display.
The on-trend fashions at Villa Baboushka are great for dressing ladies of any age for any occasion. The twenty-something fashionista can easily slip from daywear to night with one of Baheya’s flirty sundresses (1100LE), slimming Space jeans (1290LE) or a funky G-Lish t-shirt with lace embellishment (1990LE). Mature ladies will find style and grace in Maggy London’s monotone jacquered sheaths (1590LE) – perfect for a formal lunch – and Whatever Whatever’s flowy black dress (1750LE) for an evening out.
An entire room is devoted to shimmery formal wear, which ranges from classy to killer.Think full-length Theia Couture gowns for 5490LE and a barely-there one-shoulder mini dress by Treuse for 2190LE.
Eye-catching accessories are displayed around Villa Baboushka in cubbies and cases, including a black and white snake skin clutch by Tango that is covered with beading (2390LE), and a necklace (1190LE) decked out with vintage charms of ballerinas, ribbons and lockets.
Villa Baboushka’s designs are sure to turn heads; but it’s quite pricey, so watch out that you don’t go overboard.You could find yourself all dressed up with no place to go.
Our basic impression when it comes to fashion trends and hypes is that they mostly end up being uncomfortable and impractical – beauty is pain, right? When kimonos, however, took over the fashion scene this year and became street style must-haves, this admitted shopaholic could do nothing but tear up – true story. Yes – a fashion trend that is equal parts comfy, flattering and en vogue!
Operating through an Instagram account and a Facebook page, Kimono Kraze is a home-grown brand, started by young entrepreneur, Habiba Ahmed, that offers all kinds of ready-to-wear and custom-made kimonos of all lengths and patterns.
We came across its Instagram profile first and scrolled on through the dozens of available kimonos. Our absolute favourite picks include the Lilac Silk Kimono (160LE), the short Teal and Pink Lace Kimonos (150 E), the Fringed Black Lace Kimono (180LE) and the Red Wine Maxi Kimono (200LE).
Thinking of laid back summer days spent by the beach, we opted for the short Teal lace kimono (150LE) and the Maxi Black Lace Kimono (200LE), and direct-messaged them our order. Much to our delight, we got a fast reply confirming the availability of our desired items and we promptly sent our address and phone number to finalise the order.
Said order took exactly 13 days to arrive right to our doorstep for an extra charge of 50LE. There is, of course, still a bit of a stigma attached to online shopping in Egypt – particularly set-ups that operate on social media – but, apart from an almost two-week wait for arrival, we can have few complaints with Kimono Kraze. We also had our doubts about the whole one-size-fits-all concept of the kimonos, but thankfully, they fit us like a glove and were of perfect length.
All in all, shopping with Kimono Kraze proved to be a successful online experience; we got our desired picks without the bother of standing in long queues and stuffy fitting rooms (yes, life is hard), but we’ll definitely be going back for more comfy – or komky, ha-ha – kimonos. In all seriousness, however, Kimono Kraze is a welcome addition to the increasing number of local brands operating online. What happens if and when kimonos go out of style – god forbid – is another question altogether.