Apr 25, 2011

Zydney Zhop Girl. Sydney Honours the ANZACs.

Australia's first Zara store has now been open for 5 days.  I was reckoning on the novelty factor having worn off for most of Sydney and that the rainy weather today would have deterred everyone else.

Wrong on both counts.  This was the sight that greeted me at 1.18pm this afternoon.  Yes, they are metal barricades. And no, Justin Bieber was not in store.

You know I was doing this primarily for the blog, don't you?  Joining the end of the alligator, barricaded queue.  This is Sydney, after all, and if you don't have to line up, it's not big enough a deal.

This was the first of 5 security men I met in the orderly queue.  At one point, we were told to line up 3 abreast in the barricades.  Which we, the fashionably dressed (except for yours truly, I was counting on my Alexa deflecting from my bad hair and Cotton On hoodie getting me past the doormen) crowd did.

It was quite a spectacle for those not already converted to Zara Australia.

A pipe band taking part in the ANZAC Day formalities was allowed special access through the arcade.  Security obligingly removed some of the barricades to allow them free passage.

Honestly, it was like waiting to get into a nightclub.  I felt 18 and one day old again.

I even got to stand behind the tasseled rope.  The bin to the left was for any food or drink to be deposited before entering the store.  This didn't look like a hip flask and SubZeros stashed in your purse kind of crowd but you can never be too careful these days.

I saw colour, I saw prints, I went nuts.

The rope was lifted and off we went, each person clicked off on the clicker that security was using to monitor numbers inside the store.  3 floors of Zara - women's on the street level, men's upstairs and a combination of casual women's and kids underground.  There was a fair range of stock, not as much as some of the South East Asian megastores but much more than what Gap is currently offering in Australia (in comparison to the range in Gap's US stores).

I felt so sorry for the young girls rostered on today.  It was an impossible task trying to neaten stock and return clothing to its designated area on the floor.  They don't even get penalty rates.  Does anyone in Australia retail get them anymore, I wonder?  Work Choices, you've done bad things to the youngsters working high street fashion retail.  Bad things.

I didn't even brave the changerooms.  The lines were just as bad as the ones to get into the store.  With the added delaying factor of everyone going in with arms full of clothing to try on.

My strategy was to phone a friend instead.  The plan was for Mr SSG to rifle through the second wardobe to find a Zara dress and tell my my size so that I could just pick what I wanted off the rack and pay for it.  The wardrobe was an overwhelming experience for the untrained eye.  Mr SSG read through the labels and couldn't find any Zara.  He gave it a pretty good effort, to be fair.

I chanced it.  Did a quick wave and guess in front of the central mirrors and hot footed it to the cash registers.  Zara will be accepting exchanges and refunds but only after April 27.  It's going to take at least that long for things to settle in store, I reckon.

I needed a Max Brenner dark chocolate mocha to steady my frazzled nerves after being caught up in Zara-mania.

The thing with Zara and I is that I become a different person when I enter one of their stores.  Suddenly, I become fashion forward.  I find myself imbued with a false sense of confidence.  That I can pull of Talitha Getty inspired silk caftan dresses in the middle of winter.  That I will look as effortlessly chic yet edgy as Alexa Chung in a knit dress.  And since I didn't actually try anything on in store, the delusion accompanied me home.  Hence the presence of an afternoon beverage.  I was hosting my own Zara VIP shopping event in the safety of my own home.  With natural lighting and normal mirrors.

Not many people may notice enough differences between these to justify owning them both but I couldn't decide between them.

These 2 knit dresses will get plenty of wear this winter.  The black V neck will be great for more dressy weekend commitments.

It wasn't all fashion mayhem today though.

The CBD was hosting an entire day's program of ANZAC Day events.

It felt like a different era of time seeing so many uniformed service men and women taking a break between events.  Sharing beers of coffees with their mates and families.

For the veterans,  it was a day of memories and pride.  As they chatted to new friends and accepted the honour of the day with quiet grace.


  1. Wonderful day here - we were lucky with the sunshine for the Anzac day parade in the city. Goodness I can't believe the queues at Zara!! Dreading it now a bit here in Melbourne! Well done you though for negotiating and bringing home some loot!! (From Semi-Expat Sarah xx)

  2. My mother, sister and I were the first 3 people in the line- and in the store. 2 hours later, after we had been trampled and pushed to DEATH, we emerged, victorious :)

  3. So rainy and wet today. We spent the day clearing out the house and then Mr K was a super hero and vacuumed.

    Glad you had luck at Zara but it was crazy no? Scary people + inexpensive, on trend clothes = nightmares! I bought a leopard clutch and seriously contemplated another orangey red bag but put it back... The clothes I wasn't so fussed about, mostly because of the current stomach situation... But some of them looked really nice!

  4. Haha! Your account of the queue and crowd control was very funny! I'm amazed at the fuss but looks like you managed to come away with a decent stash for all the chaos of opening day - I love the first dress!

  5. love your dresses. can you tell us how much?

  6. Oh my GOD I LOVE those tunics.. I'm going tunic cray cray at the moment. I've got my eye on a Antik Batik one at the moment... HA! Who am I kidding, I've got my eye on the whole Antik Batik range 24/7.

    Le sigh

    Apparently Zara opens here in June. I'm excited +++

  7. Heavenly Ingredients: the silk dresses are $119.95, the knits $69.95.

    M: don't wait 'til June! Come to Sydney instead!

    SSG xxx

  8. Oh I love your buys :) can't wait til june.
    What crazy shoppers.

  9. thank you! Hope to get in there for a look before too long

  10. SSG, how funny, I tried on both of those dresses yesterday as they are both absolutely stunning, but I had already done considerable Zara damage and thought my mother may kill me if she sighted another blue bag!
    Those line-ups are insane!
    Did you frequent the big Zara in SIngers above Hermes? I thought there were decent line-ups there until I saw poor Sydney. The dresses are very Mai-Tai-Bar-Royal-Hawaiian!!!!

  11. TSSG: get out of town! That particular Zara you speak of in Singapore is excellent. The Hermes store was a bit bare though (what you get for visitng H stores outside of Japan). I was on some crazy no clothes buying trip the last time I was there, unfortunately.

    SSG xxx

  12. I still cant get into Zara! I can't be bothered lining up!

    Monique xx


  13. Wow, congrats on braving the crowd! I went on Saturday only to be put off by queue. I couldn't be bothered lining up. I thought I'd wait until the hype dies down. Great buys, by the way! x

  14. You bought such nice things! You've got me itching to go to our nearest branch. Well done for braving the crowds!

  15. I braved Zara on Thursday night....for those who cannot be bothered lining up, like me, go downstairs and you can walk straight in!

  16. You're a brave girl. So totally worth it - the dresses look fab.

    TDM xx

  17. those silk frocks are the Bomb!!!! Well done you, happy easter x

  18. What are penalty rates?

    "The wardrobe was an overwhelming experience for the untrained eye. Mr SSG read through the labels and couldn't find any Zara. He gave it a pretty good effort, to be fair." --> funny! I can imagine this scene.

  19. Tracy: penalty rates are overtime pay rates that many people in Australia used to get for working on public holidays etc.

    SSG xxx

  20. Interesting bad news: Beijing Watchdog Group Blasts Zara for Failing Apparel Quality Tests

    "Zara’s first stumble occurred with fiber content. Although the label on a pair of men’s trousers disclosed a content of 75 percent cotton, 20 percent wool, and 5 percent terylene (a type of polyester), the fabric tested at 68 percent cotton, 10 percent wool, and 12 percent “other content.” Zara similarly missed the mark on the down content of its jackets in 2009 and 2010—the reality was a respective 9.1 and 18.5 percent lower than the amount stated on the labels.

    "In addition to floundering in color-fastness tests, the trousers also exceeded legal limits of formaldehyde and alkalinity, both of which can irritate skin.

    "A spokesman for Zara China told Xinhua News that the company will fix the incorrect labels, but then he proceeded to finger factories in Morocco for the low-quality articles. More jarringly, he said that the merchandise was “still of high-enough quality for sale in China.” Standards, schmandards?"



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