zara melbourne opening

Dear BusiChic, last night I went to the launch of the zara store in Melbourne in the search of all things business chic. This is what I saw:

Me with MiFA Gallery's Mikala Tai sporting "Foxy" necklaces from Melbourne's own Elgar & Lyle

The store

Located in the heart of Bourket Street Mall, between Swanston and Elizabeth streets, the sheer size of the Melbourne store is astounding. Spread over two huge levels and consisting of mens, womens and childrens fashion – it is an opportunity for one-stop-shopping for the whole family. I went with the objective of covering the workwear fashion on offer which I photographed and posted live to the Business Chic Facebook page so that BusiChics could get a sneak peek.  Then I got quite seriously Gruen-transferred which is not just the name of a favourite tv program but according to wikipedia means:

In shopping mall design, the Gruen transfer is the moment when a consumer enters a shopping mall and, surrounded by an intentionally confusing layout, loses track of their original intentions.

As such, I didn’t make it around for the second round of photographing with my proper camera because I became too preoccupied with scouting out pieces for myself!

Trying on a basic shift dress under a work blazer - $89.95 each

The workwear offering

Prices are reasonable for the quality which itself is already better than what we are getting in some highstreet stores. Do note that while there are different ranges within Zara’s offering -(ladies, keep an eye out for the Studio pieces which are the premium range), zara clothing is not built to last which can be frustrating if that is what you are after. However for busy professionals who just want a short-term fashion fix, it does the trick. There were lots of cheerful tops and frocks to update one’s look in a range of colours from brights (pink, green and ocean blue) to neutrals to neon yellow as well as prints like polkadots, stripes and dolce&gabbana-esque stars. Suits and knits were also on offer although here I got the feeling that you get what you pay for. Men’s suits with a jacket for one retailing for $239 and the matching pants for $119 – looked great on the hanger but the fabric seemed quite thin to me, considering they are supposed to be for Winter.

Zara suit for men: blazer $239, pants and shoes $119 each.

Zara’s impressive menswear offering

That said, gents appear to be the biggest winner from the entry of zara. Unfortunately I couldn’t hear my tourguide over the golden tonsils of Adele that were blaring their goodness through the speakers, however from what I saw, zara has menswear covered for work and leisure. There were suede blazers for polished urban wear, suits for the corporate and motorwear- MOTORWEAR! It’s fair to say that Australian men are now catered with styles not seen on these shores and at this pricepoint and quality than ever before. Oh and don’t even get me started on how much colour will be pumped into your wardrobes now in some very smart ways, although I do wonder whether Melbourne men are quite ready for orange turtlenecks! Thoughts?

Colour on offer for Melbourne men.

Zara Accessories

All in all, it was the accessories which won me over.  From the straight-off-the-runway trend of oversized envelope clutches in a range of covetable styles (from leopard print to block colours to textured leathers) to similarly on-trend satchels and duffle bags for the stylish gent – Zara had all bases covered and at price points that will have Witchery, Oroton and Mimco re-thinking their approach. zara has also been clever enough to release limited editions (i.e. only 25 in the world) of some items, which for me is the clincher as Melburnians are known to like *something different*. Check out the Business Chic Facebook page for snaps of some of the limited edition pieces. Shoes were also uber-on-trend and with most of the styles I liked under $200, very affordable for a high-fashion look. There were also lots of ballet flats which Melbourne girls like but I do wonder how long they’ll last for in our wet weather. One thing I didn’t see but need myself are trendy gumboots. I’ll be checking in a month’s time to see whether zara’s Melbourne trendcasting has picked up and delivered on this trend as I’m sure they are something that quite a few Melbourne girls are wanting. 

It was the accessories which won me over. Thanks to Emma Merkas of 30 Dollar Date for having the sense to capture these lovelies.

Industry Reaction on the night

I’ll wrap up by touching on some of the conversations I had on the night. Personally I’ve mixed feelings about zara coming to my hometown so I asked some of those in the industry for their thoughts. First up, nevenka designer, Rosemary Masic. Rosemary is hugely positive about the entry of zara into Melbourne saying that zara’s entry puts Melbourne on the fashion map. She hopes that the general public will become more interested in fashion and is excited that Australian designers will have to lift their game to make customers a better offering. I interpreted this to also mean that with zara imitating international trends at a speed and cost that Australian designers would find near impossible to compete with, they will need to focus on developing their individual styles and signatures which could, most excitingly, lead to a rebirth in Australia fashion. Pat and Greta, owners of local boutique Comeback Kid were also positive, saying that fashion-forward melburnians who know their look, might come to zara for the basics but will keep searching for unique labels to make their look their own. Similarly they believe that zara’s range will lead to a greater awareness of style that will generate greater interest in the Australian fashion industry. Scroll through the slideshow below for some snaps of other stylish attendees: Paige from A Studded Rose Vintage, Jess from What Would Karl Do, celebrity stylist Philip Boon and man-of-all-creative-trades Dean Drieberg.
[slideshow thumbs=on]
A positive vibe at the launch of zara melbourne, what are your thoughts? I’ve started a discussion board here on the Facebook page or simply leave a comment via the link below!


  1. The orange, khaki green and red trench coats and macs are amazing too! I want them so badly. The red trench in wool is the focus for now!

  2. Oh god! The menswear is amazing!! I love all the pop colors! For the double collar shirt in cobalt blue, a blood orange sweater and a few basic tops! I am oging back in two weeks after payday!

    • zara fills in a huge gap in menswear for the stylish gent. I’ve read on however that sizing may be an issue – let us know how you go!

  3. I was there for the tour too. Felt very special being invited!



    I’m so excited to go tomorrow, by all accounts the lines post the opening haven’t been too bad! Fingers crossed for me please!!


    • Hey honey! To be honest, with two drops of clothing A WEEK, there’s going to be more than enough for everybody. So much more! Let us know how you go x

  5. Very interesting. I’ll certainly drop in for a look when the lines die down!!


  6. I agree with most of your sentiments. Thought menswear was the clear standout; particularly the coats, jackets, ties and denim. Never thought I’d have an opinion on childrenswear but it seemed to be good quality at a very reasonable price. As for the ladies stuff; loved the colours but just so much of it didn’t win me over when worn…mostly in regards to fit. Customer service was outstanding though; and Zara will be very hard to beat for basics…my two cents!

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts Caity – I had the same issue with fit. While I loved the colour of the green frock I tried in the image above, it just didn’t sit on me quite right. But I do agree re the customer service – I found all those I spoke with to be helpful, professional and friendly.

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