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Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt.
Next: Steadfast Clothing in Citystars, Heliopolis
With the fashion industry becoming more difficult to navigate every season, it's refreshing that there are still shops in Cairo opting to carrying classic items and simple cuts. Internationally acclaimed clothing brand, Next offers such items on level two, phase two of Heliopolis shopping haven, Citystars. Although it all runs into one large shop, there are two separate entrances for both the adult and children's departments.
Stepping directly into the women's section, we were immediately greeted by an overflowing sale rack. Although prices were clearly marked with big, yellow tickets and heavy marker strokes, there was no visible information regarding an overall percentage decrease in price meaning that the discounts seemed somewhat erratic.
Sale items were priced at around 160LE-225LE and included everything from sheer blouses and sequined t-shirts, to jumpers and shapeless dresses. The patterns tended to be a bit awkward and would most likely suit the more mature patron; however, for the more discerning, eye there were a few choice items that would compliment almost any outfit.
Located near the entrance, we headed over to the trouser section. The majority of jeans were skinny and cigarette style, ranging from 325LE-400LE, while colourful yoga and harem pants went for around 225LE-380LE. A cramped corner was dedicated to a plethora of flat shoes and colourful handbags and clutch bags, reduced to around 50% of their original prices (150LE+).
The sock display took up a hefty quarter of the space, with a range of ankle and calf-high socks. A five pack of animal print ankle socks boasted a considerable mark down to 65LE from over 100LE. After a couple of curt, 'no-thank-you-we're-only-looking' responses to the salespeople's anxious advances, we were largely left to shop in peace.
The women's larger, new collection area appeared to be a mismatched jumble of art-deco-inspired t-shirts, ruffled blouses, unusual silk and polyester cardigans, wool jumpers (295LE) and overpriced cotton pyjamas (375LE). Expensive but plain maxi dresses were thrown into the mix (500-1150LE), as were some long, pleated skirts (695LE).
The men's section sits at the back of the store and boasted a variety of items ranging from a fleeced, snugly onsie (275LE) and tracksuit bottoms, to a smart-casual selection of trousers (300LE), polo shirts (240LE), and short-sleeved linen shirts (400LE).
The children's section was easily accessible from between the women's and men's area and stocks items for newborns, toddlers and children up to the age of 10 years. The smaller items were unbearably adorable and upon seeing tiny vests, little chinos, waistcoats with suit ties (375LE), leggings and frilly tutus (200LE), we simply had to evacuate before buying up the entire collection.
Offering a wide selection of modest cuts and bold prints, Next prides itself on modestly stylish, quality garments. If you're willing to spend both time and money, this reliable one-stop shop is sure to provide a few unique items to jazz up any bland outfit.
Since arriving in Egypt, Zara has become somewhat of a staple on the Cairo shopping scene. Ranging from basics to ready-to-wear dresses, you’ll almost certainly find what you’re looking for. Which is why we were dying to check out their Maadi City Centre branch and, more importantly, their highly talked about spring/summer line.
The shop is located directly across from the main entrance, to the right. A grey marble shop-front with a large display window and the logo embossed discreetly next to the entrance, are simple and inviting. The shop is quite spacious, with it's proudcts divifed over two floors.
The women’s section (including TRF) is quite large, taking up the entire ground floor, with the men’s section located on the upper floor. However, we wasted no time focusing on such details and careened straight towards the clothes. And we have to say, we were beyond impressed.
Compared to last season’s less-than-sturdy summer line, this time around, it’s obvious Zara’s going in for the kill. The women’s section offers a huge array of choices, ranging from jeans that span the colour spectrum (259LE), to t-shirts with bold prints and in bright neon colours (200LE). A particularly interesting shift dress (499LE) caught our eye with its unique African-style print, as did a gorgeous, flower-print handkerchief tunic (399 LE) that’s just dying to be worn over a pair of short-shorts, or even one of Zara’s very own light denim cut-offs (299LE).
The men’s section was just as aesthetically and fashionably exciting. Their trouser collection was a whirlwind of choices, from distressed denim skinny jeans with studded pockets (499LE) to slim fit trousers (349 LE) that come in a refreshingly vivid range of colours – from plain grey to pistachio green. The t-shirts were reasonably priced and quite fashion forward. There was a particularly interesting dragon print tank top (169LE) that grabbed our attention, but even the normal printed polo shirts (229LE) were begging to be tried on.
The sales assistants were, surprisingly, very helpful without being too pushy. They gave advice and suggested complementary pieces to any item we had picked out, though paying was a long and slow process, as we had to wait for quite a while before a cashier showed up.
Due to Zara's close proximity to Carrefour, the entrance is usually crowded and the shop itself is brimming with customers. However, we emerged from Zara with light hearts, an even lighter wallet, several shopping bags and an overall pleasantly successful shopping experience. Zara’s new summer collection is one that should definitely not be missed, and one that we predict seeing on almost every fashionista in Cairo this summer.