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Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
50A Concept Store: Upscale Boutique in Zamalek
Seemingly unaffected by either the political or economic climate of the times, the Cairo shopping scene continues to thrive - particularly in Zamalek, where small, unique boutiques are a plenty. 50A Concept Store on Mohamed Mazhar Street has recently joined the ranks, selling largely imported, luxury household and fashion accessories, for a more cosmopolitan customer.
The shop is small but spacious with a variety of immaculate displays; minimalist, contemporary decor and unusual shelving units add a sense of quirkiness to the space. By stocking just 13 hand-picked brands from all around the world, the store holds an air of exclusivity in its products. The men's, women's, children's and home sections blend with one another; with help from the friendly, knowledgeable shop assistant, this made for interesting - as opposed to confusing - browsing.
The women's section boasts a selection of chic accessories including silk scarves from France in various feminine, floral designs (1056LE), funky Italian clutch bags in an array of bright colours (1069LE) and large, faux alligator-skin travel bags (7150LE). Display cases proudly exhibit a range of Spanish, statement jewellery pieces; a chunky sterling silver ring caught our eye and was priced at 1540LE. Pretty Moliabal Milano hair accessories in modish shades of black and white are priced between 50LE and 100LE.
Unisex animal hats - made famous by Paris Hilton - were priced between 300LE and 440LE and come in the form of frogs, cows and bears.
Smart, quality dress shirts for men were priced upwards of 1000LE and contrasted with a range of casual t-shirts printed with obscene images; one featured Mickey Mouse smoking a joint (600LE) - the horror! Casual shoes from the high-end brand Somearethieves feature non-wearing, silent soles (1300LE+) and are quickly becoming a popular must-have on the fashion scene.
All the way from Spain, unusual household accessories included foam chairs and cushions in novelty shapes such as amplifiers, cupcakes, candy and hamburgers (1300LE+). Kitchen essentials included classic teapots, infusers and decanters (400LE+) as well as wrench-shaped salad servers (220LE).
The children's section was the smallest, hosting just a few toys and accessories; notably a paint-it-yourself castle and a farmhouse playhouse (550LE).
One of the walls was decked out with attractive modern cladding which, unusually, the shop also supplies. Acquiring this fresh finish would be pricey though and is sold at 380LE per meter complete with a 90LE installation fee (per meter).
50A Concept Store is just that; an original, collection-based boutique in the heart of Zamalek offering expensive but quality, contemporary products from imported brands to trend-setting big-spenders.
In Cairo’s shopping scene, it’s becoming more and more difficult to come across shops that offer clothes which combine both quality and affordability. It’s also becoming harder and harder to find ones that offer light summer apparel that doesn’t come in the predominant form of crop tops, which are sadly hard to sport in the capital for reasons we’re all aware of.
Vero Moda, located in the evergrowing Cairo Festival City Mall, seems to us a sort of needle in a haystack of endless clothes stores, with its practical combination of pieces that boasted good quality yet came with more or less affordable price tags that wouldn’t make you gasp in pure shock at their sight.
The shop is rather large and rests side by side to its men’s brand, ‘Jack Jones’. With a bright colour scheme of white and beige, contrasted by a little black, the store’s overall design does not distract shoppers from the vibrant pieces on immaculate display.
Our eyes immediately fell on a display of colourful jeggings laid neatly in the middle of the store. Diverting the more smart casual and semi-formal attire section, we spotted a flowy, black, sleeveless chiffon top with delicate silver beading on the neckline (365LE) that we instantly fell in love with. The powder pink, lace-adorned, mini dress (465LE) that our eyes fell upon next, however, was the ultimate showstopper in that section.
Moving on to the ‘Only’, Vero Moda’s more youthful line, we spotted a flow-y maxi skirts (400LE), short-sleeved lace tops (159LE) as well as comfy t-shirts and loose cotton tops. A few generic skinny and straight-legged jeans could also be found, alongside a couple of maxi dresses and loose cardigans.
All along our visit, the sales personnel were always around to offer us assistance with finding a certain piece in our size and even giving us advice about which pieces suited us better, but when not called upon, allowed us to freely roam around the store and shop unperturbed.
All in all, we found Vero Moda to be quite the practical store to hit for some casual, as well as slightly formal attire that is effortlessly chic, simple and quite frankly, light on the wallet. With efficient staff and an overall laid back ambiance, the store offered us a smooth shopping experience.