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Mohandiseen, Cairo, Egypt.
Accessorize: Always Cute, Often Pricey
Whenever there’s an Accessorize in sight in Cairo, our eyes can’t help but wander over to ogle what colourful, tropical and floral designs they’re offering lately. Always carrying the most adorable bags and jewellery of the season, Accessorize is also unfortunately overpriced, given that their adorable bags are mostly cotton cloth and pleather, and sell for around £65 in the UK, around 420LE here.
The British accessories brand was born out of the Monsoon ‘ethnic’ clothing store in the early 80s, when they began to sell accessories that were so popular; they decided to dedicate a separate store to them in London’s Covent Garden piazza in 1984.
Now Accessorize has over 240 stores in the UK and 600 stores worldwide. The label’s Mohandiseen branch is absolutely tiny, taking up a chip of a corner on Lebanon Street. Nonetheless, the store manages to pack a decent selection of jewellery, bags, and scarves as well as flip flops into the little space.
Arranged by colour, the jewellery is definitely funky, original and too cute at fairly reasonable prices. Delicate leaf pendants were 90LE, chunky oversized colourful bead necklaces were about 140LE, and chandelier earrings were 100LE– which were on the pricier side since we’ve bought silver for less and they looked like they wouldn’t hold up for more than a week. Scarves too were about 90LE, and standard flip flops about 140LE
We also noticed that their stock was less than fresh: despite carrying items from their newest collection, we also spotted frameless sunglasses that are at least three years old, and turquoise stud earrings from last summer’s collection. The pricing is actually quite impressive though, considering that most international brands carry a hefty import charge swallowed by the consumer, when doing the conversion their stock here is actually sometimes cheaper than it is in the UK.
Accessorize’s current collection is inspired by the vibrant colours, prints and embroidery of Mexico, and vibrant, printed, and embroidered they all are, though not looking too different from their usual fare, and in fact quite similar to the beautiful 2009 summer collection– which is certainly not a bad thing.
Neatly arranged displays are packed with an array of weird and wonderful home accessories – from novelty lipstick shaped pens (45LE) to whacky alarm clocks constructed from mechanical gears (995LE) – you’re never far from something unique.
For the more macho types, there are mugs with pistol handles (190LE+), along with shot glasses of a similar design (155LE/box of 4). A gun shaped candle holder is 195LE and power-plant shaped ashtrays, complete with a chimney to release any smoke costs 160LE.
Chocolate bar shaped calculators cost 75LE and fruit jackets – literally zip-up jackets to prevent fruit from bruising – are 110LE each. Flip-flop shaped fly squatters were priced at 95LE.
Large clocks appearing to be made from brown cardboard were priced from 195LE to 230LE, depending on the size. White vases realistically impersonating crumbled paper bags cost from 270LE to 480LE.