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Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt.
Bebe: Super Short Skirts Don’t Work in Cairo
Cairenes searching for a short, flirty dress should head down to Citystars’ Phase 2 and check out Bebe. Another brand under the Fashion International Group umbrella (the mother company that brought us French Connection, Mango and Karen Millen), Bebe caters to the young and outgoing female that likes to party a lot. Expect short skirts, shorter dresses and low-cut tops in viscose, Lycra and shiny fabrics embellished in jewels, ruffles or fluorescent colours. No, Bebe is definitely not for the wallflower.
Though the shop’s display window may be intimidating to some with its super ruched and super short dresses, take the time to step inside and you may find a few pleasing items. Though Bebe does stock a small but respectable collection of tailored jackets and trousers (in grey, black and white for around 1200LE), you’re mainly here for the dresses.
Tapping into last year’s obsession with Herve Leger-type bandage dresses, Bebe has several snugly fit and short dresses with bandage detail or cut out details, including a sweater dress with cut-outs on the sides just under the ribs, which comes in black and a wine red for around 1100LE. For something a little simpler, try their grey sweater dress (800LE), minus the cut-outs but still disturbingly short. Courageous dressers could try their fluorescent yellow ruched tube dress or their colour blocked mesh dress in blue, black and turquoise. For something a little edgier, 80s and Robert Palmer-style, try their black bandage dress with a mesh V-neckline (800LE), which hugs your curves suitably and flaunts your shoulders nicely, though you may have to reconsider the neckline in conservative Cairo.
Fans of trash TV show Keeping Up With The Kardashians will be delighted to find a few dresses by Kim Kardashian in collaboration with Bebe, including a belted wrap dress in sedated olive with slightly padded shoulders and long sleeves, or the black ribbon dress (around 1200LE), which has black curves shaping the dress’s contours over a skin-tone layer.
Party separates are also available in the shop, including one-shoulder tops and embellished tanks in bright purples, turquoises and greens. A few skirts stand out, such as a multi-coloured tulip dress (800LE) and a black leather mini-skirt on sale. For something a little sedated and unflashy, try their silk black jumpsuit (1100LE) or one of their several well-cut pencil skirts.
If none of this makes you batty for Bebe, the shop also has a corner devoted to the label’s accessory line, which includes sky-high platform shoes in elaborate prints like leopard and snakeskin with baubles, beads and chains. The line also features several bags, mostly in black and white, or with chain details. Shoes and bags average around 1100LE, while belts start at the lower end of the spectrum at around 300LE. The shop also includes the Bebe Sport collection for those inclined to workout in terry cloth hot shorts (350LE) and diamante logo t-shirts (around 300LE).
Flashy is definitely the keyword to Bebe’s style, and while most of the shop’s collection is outdated (at least in comparison to the brand’s international website); there are a few items that may suit a night out on the town. Just not this town; most of Bebe’s skirts are so worryingly short, it may be nearly impossible to sit down, bend over or get in or out of your car modestly. Just saying.
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.