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Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt.
Designers on Sale by Beymen: Cairo's Only Label Outlet
The closest that many of us get to high-end fashion labels like Dolce&Gabbana, Lanvin, Armani, Chanel and Prada in Cairo is by pressing our faces against the shop windows of ultra chic boutiques like Hip, Euphoria, Helene and Beymen. While the price tags of 10,000LE upwards can leave some of us dying a little inside, some genius decided to offer us a discounted option by opening an outlet store for Beymen’s off-season items. Voila, Designers on Sale by Beymen, guaranteed to provide some solace for your Balenciaga-sick hearts and bargain-happy pockets.
Located on Horreya Street in Heliopolis just off Nozha Street, the ground-floor shop has a small and limited selection of off-season merchandise. There’s a certain sense of forlorn rejection in the air as you sift through the racks of tank tops, blouses, trousers, skirts, dresses and bags. Perhaps it’s because these items have sat unloved and unwanted on the cooler Beymen’s shelves, or perhaps because some of the items are completely unwearable and more like 80s castoffs than just a few seasons old.
Nonetheless, you need a sharp eye and a willingness to take risks to be able to find a bargain among the racks. Featured items include double-layered tank tops and straight-leg black trousers by Dolce&Gabbana (between 400LE and 800LE), printed and pleated skirts by Sonia Rykiel (around 400LE), in addition to Dior, Chloe and Miu Miu. The centre of the room carries a few swimsuits and cover-ups, but nothing eye-catching. The dress rack did carry a very promising Jil Sander dress in black and grey for under 1000LE (as far as our memory serves us), as well as a rather loud Marc by Marc Jacobs print dress in red, green and yellow (around 1500LE). A knee-length cream Balenciaga dress (around 4000LE) and a Moschino Cheap&Chic black dress with a red bow print (around 1500LE) were both stand out items.
The back of the store features a healthy collection of shoes in sizes from 37 to 41.5, featuring labels such as Louboutins, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu and Jimmy Choo (ranging between 1500LE and 3200LE). Pulling off the selection of disco-heel-high, glittery, brightly coloured and questionable designs requires fashion courage, flair and possibly a healthy dose of insanity.
A few bags line the top of the shelves, notably a Marni black leather bag with a heavy chain handle (3200LE), a YSL shopper bag in blue jeans material, three Fendi purses, and a Miu Miu black satchel with a heavy black chain.
A men’s collection is also available at the back of the store, featuring shirts, trousers, jackets, belts, shoes and caps by labels such as Dior, Armani, Lacoste and Dolce& Gabbana.
The major disadvantage to this store is their size discrepancy: they may only have the item either in one size or in several XS or XL sizes. Furthermore, some of the items may be well over a few seasons old, so if you’re aiming for trendy; this may not be your answer. Nonetheless, keep checking this store regularly for surprise bargain finds, and join their Facebook group, which regularly announces one-day offers on major brands.
Let’s face it; finding good, quality, fashionable clothes for veiled women on the Cairo shopping scene isn’t as easy as one might think. On the one hand, there is a lack of the go-to outlets fashioning clothes for veiled women, then there’s juggling the vicious triangle of size, taste and affordability, on the other hand.
Prude & Style Girl is possibly one of the very few shops trying to break that vicious triangle; as a shop specialising in ‘hijab fashion’ and answering to veiled women’s challenge of finding decent, hip and affordable fashion wear, Prude & Style Girl is a rather unique venue.
As the brainchild of two female entrepreneurs in their early twenties, Prude & Style Girl also offer online shopping via its Facebook page, but our visit to the store in Heliopolis threw up more surprises.
At the time of our visit, the shop was overcrowded - this is a place that has quickly gathered a loyal fan-base - but that didn’t detract from the wide variety of clothes and accessories on offer.
Prude & Style Girl’s summer collection caters for all tastes; there are plain simple sleeveless dresses (200LE) that can be paired with cardigans, long-sleeve dresses with different Indian-inspired and paisley patterns (250 LE) – of which we liked a beige dress with shades of blue, red and green. The shop also boasts a large variety of summer dresses available in vibrant summer colours (200LE); one white dress with blue sleeves (200LE) perfect attire on the beach for veiled ladies, caught our eye.
The shop also has a selection of evening dresses and skirts suitable for many occasions; black and white polka dot dresses (210LE), a light pink V-neck lace dress also (250LE) as well as satin and lace skirts available in different colours (150LE) stood out in particular.
But it’s the cardigans and kimonos that impressed in Prude & Style Girl’s summer collection; the versatile pieces add a hip and trendy dimension to putting an outfit together.
Overall, what impressed us most about Prude & Style Girl is the versatility of its pieces and the sheer options available. Veiled Cairenes often find themselves in despair when it comes to shopping for modern, demure clothing but this is one shop that proves you can have the best of both worlds.