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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.
Fashion-conscious ladies often find a hard time locating shops in Cairo that offer high-quality fashion at moderate prices. Unless you are willing to drop a week's pay on a single clothing item that looks somewhat decent, Cairo is not the best destination for fashion-seekers.
La Blanca is one of those shops that offers a lot of modish women's clothes. But like all things nice, they come at an oh-so-high price. We were smitten with an über-trendy black coat, but, we all but had a minor heart attack when we caught sight of the hefty price tag; the 1175LE coat, we decided, was not that stylish anyway.
With a sinking heart, we started looking around the shop for more affordable items. A plethora of leggings starting at 80LE were found everywhere around the shop. Said leggings were available in a variety of colours, including bright orange, black, brown and grey. The shop also offers a collection of skirts; a knee-length pleather skirt was available for 240LE and a black pencil skirt sold for 195LE.
While most shops organise clothes either by colour or function, we couldn't pinpoint a particular pattern for organising the clothes at La Blanca, which made for a slightly uncomfortable shopping experience.
The sales attendants don't hover around; they let you do your own thing and are helpful enough when approached for assistance, but they mostly let you shop in peace.
Although many items were overpriced, La Blanca had a few discounted items as well. A plain white blouse sold for 195LE instead of 425LE, a black and white jersey dress sold for 295LE instead of 375LE, and a knee-length strapless dress with a front zipper was priced at 295LE instead of 445LE.
La Blanca also had a collection of blazers, though quite limited. A black blazer (495LE) made of leather and velvet looked as if it were seamed together using leftover fabric.
The shop also had a varied collection of accessories, purses, scarves and belts. A basic, simple black handbag sold for 295LE and belts started at 150LE. A pair of beige boots was priced at 300LE, but they looked a little too worn-out and shabby.
A short flight of stairs tucked behind the cashier will take you to the shop's second floor where the evening attire is located. La Blanca's collection of evening dresses mostly consisted of knee-length, strapless gowns.
A glittery golden and black dress was priced at 395LE, while a leopard print asymmetrical dress sold for 345LE. A silver sequined jacket (575LE) and a strapless glittery green blouse (195LE) were also available.
What we like best about La Blanca's evening gowns is that they tend to stick to the simpler side of things. Without too many embellishments, sequins or glitter, La Blanca's dresses would cost you more than 300LE, but they offer good value-for-money.
Although La Blanca might not be your first stop when on the lookout for quality, affordable fashion, it never hurts to give it a browse anyway.