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Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt.
Ego: Designer Clothes Surplus in Heliopolis
Greeted with half a smile and a slight air of suspicion, the shop assistants began following us around the immaculate shop in their spotless suits. We drifted through the ground floor in wonderment, taking mental notes of all the gorgeous designer handbags, pretty clutch bags, purses and stunning high heels on display. On our wish list is a big, beautiful, quality YSL handbag (16,160LE), a glittery Stella McCartney clutch (5,770LE) and a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes (4,740LE) – and that was just from the first section.
Ego also stocks a selection of charming Parisienne 'Bobbies' slip-ons for around a relatively more reasonable price of 1,200LE.
We headed down the stairs into the men's section, appreciating the quality of the formal suits, shirts, trousers and all the add-ons. There is also a large, shiny shoe section, selling everything from casual Armani loafers to classic, leather Hugo Boss brogues.
Upstairs, there are three more floors dedicated to men's wear - mainly casual designer clothes. We noticed an enormous collection of Ralph Lauren garments; jumpers, cardigans, polo shirts, t-shirts and so much more.
Beginning to feel a bit hard done by with the lack of space dedicated to women's clothes, we eventually clambered up to the top floor to find a room full of dresses. As high-end and expensive as these were, we didn't think any of them were special enough to spend several of thousands on, which was confusing given that everything in the men's section seemed so carefully picked.
Turning to leave, the stalking shop assistant informed us that the layout of Ego is deceptive and, much to our excitement, there were in fact three more hidden floors in the basement, overflowing with all the couture outfits a girl could ever dream of. In the middle of it all, we spotted an in house tailor, ready and waiting to attend to any alteration needs.
There's also a limited children's section which stocks, amongst other brands, Baby Armani, tiny Ralph Lauren dresses and mini blazers.
This unique shop offers an agglomeration of designer labels at rather extravagant prices. However, it also offers a pleasant and enjoyable shopping experience which is more likely to boost your ego, rather than damage it.
Wobbling under the weight of ridiculous price tags, many of Cairo’s fashion addicts are now left to choose their battles; either opt for a cheaper version of their favourite, or merely lessen the damage of bankruptcy by disregarding unnecessary items that add up figures to the cheque.
But come what may, one thing a real fashion addict can never dispose of is the final touch of a piece of jewelry, which can do wonders to an outfit. One of the places that saves the hassle of finding what’s both affordable and trendy is I AM – an accessories shop in Mall of Arabia.
Located next to Paul, the little shop has a minimal setting of black and white, letting all the shiny little items do the magic. Displayed next to the entrance is a collection of trendy earrings, including a floral ear cuff (105LE) made of leaf-shaped plastic stones of mint-green and powder-pink. While the first needs nothing but a pierced ear lobe, those who have their ear frame pierced will find a collection of sets to choose from, starting from 90LE.
Though the previous collection offers trend, I AM has other accessories that offer both trend and value through a collection of gold and silver–plated jewellery. From the 925 silver-plated accessories, we liked a pair of hollow triangle earrings (225LE) and a gold-plated necklace, to which a charm in the shape of 3 dots is attached. Bearing in mind that the brand is trying to maintain a certain price range, the pieces of this collection are microscopic, if compared to other collections.
But I AM boasts a decent collection of bags, from which we liked a velvet-embellished tote bag (425LE). Other than that, there’s a limited range of items like scarves and hats, including a tribal-patterned pink and beige scarf (299LE) and a burgundy head turban made of wool (120LE), which can come in handy in the winter.
With such a colourful spectrum of trendy-yet-affordable accessories, I AM is the silver lining to many a fashion addict’s financial woes – when diamonds are unaffordable, I AM’s accessories are a girl’s next best friend.