The new-look shopping mall is well worth the ticket to Ryde
A flurry of shoppers lined up at the relaunch of North Ryde’s Macquarie Centre to be the first to experience Sydney’s largest new suburban shopping precinct. Macquarie's $440-million redevelopment is one of the most significant renovations in the city’s recent retail landscape, featuring 100 new retail outlets and the first new David Jones store to open in Sydney in seven years. The main drawcard for many of those shoppers was, of course, the arrival of Swedish retail giant H&M, which chose the centre as the location for its first local store. But it’s not just international brands inside; Aussie designers Alice McCall, Gorman, Willow, Sass & Bide and Zimmermann are all there, too. Time Out slipped on its mall-rat slacks to explore the new offerings over the bridge.
The big guns!
If you’re not familiar with the hype, H&M is Europe’s answer to fast-fashion looks at ridiculously cheap prices. And Sydney’s first taste of the brand – which has collaborated with the likes of Viktor & Rolf, Alexander Wang and Stella McCartney – will not disappoint. Alongside rails of polyester dresses priced at $4.95 each, there are catwalk-worthy designs that come with a heftier tag – usually above $100. It’s a simple and straightforward reminder that you get what you pay for, but with H&M there’s no competition when it comes to shopping for basics. What’s fun about this store is that it’s tempting, and affordable, to experiment with new styles. Not sure about those jungle-print leggings? For $14.95, we’ll give ’em a whirl.
Japanese store UNIQLO fills an entire corner of the mall with tables of meticulously folded polo shirts in every colour of the rainbow and rows of norm-core crew necks and cardigans. For the launch of the brand’s two new Sydney stores this year, the low-cost basics brand employed Aussie ambassadors including singer-songwriter Gossling, fashion blogger Margaret Zhang, Puberty Blues actor Claudia Karvan and Bondi lifeguard Hoppo to model everything from 100 per cent linen shirts to jersey jackets in the store’s classic cuts. The Macquarie Centre store also stocks limited-run collections from guest designers like Vera Bradley, Sprz NY inspired by MoMA collections – including Andy Warhol designs – and Scandinavian designer Linda Larson, who is popular in Japan for her childlike animal prints.
With more room to breathe than its locations in the city, here Zara is better able to play to its strengths as a mid-range fashion store. There is an extensive men’s range on the second level, with tailored suiting, bold tropical swimwear prints and high concept fashion for more adventurous gentleman shoppers. The Spanish retailer is more expensive than its Scandinavian neighbour, so its current range of pleated dresses, silk playsuits and colour-popping pants are a perfect fit for sipping cocktails on a hot summer evening at Opera Bar. Make a beeline for the brand’s Trafaluc collection: here you’ll find embellished accessories and dramatic jumpsuits for jaw-dropping party looks.
Level one is where Australian designers shine. Alice McCall’s bright white boutique showcases the brand’s new season collection including white lace crop shorts and tops, long floaty jumpsuits and voluminous twill bubble dresses. This year the brand is celebrating its tenth year at the cornerstone of local fashion design.
The colourful collections at Gorman have us wanting to wear fish‘n’chips bikini prints with lobster bucket hats and gold sparkle sandals to the beach. The medium-sized boutique is stocked with the brand’s summer 2014 collections, along with pieces from its vivid collaboration with Kate Kosek and the super-cute Home Time range, which was designed by Connie Lichti and features ceramic cat wall hangings.
Tucked away is an industrial-looking pop-up store for designer Josh Goot. The temporary space is a monochrome vision of cotton shirtdresses and tea dresses. The collection is very limited, but the georgette grid-lined pieces and luxury tailoring deserve to be admired up close and off the hanger.
Sass & Bide is where to go for embellished silk tees and polished brass accessories. The Macquarie Centre store also boasts the most impressive changing rooms with floor-to-ceiling glass doors and heavy white drapes for the modest. Check out the loose-fit tank tops made from 100 per cent silk.
If your budget is upwards of $1000 for an outfit, head to the Scanlan Theodore store. The boutique hugs one corner of the centre, displaying the brand’s theatrical beaded gowns, feathered jackets and organza sweaters. The label is over 25 years old and it’s become synonymous with elegant and modern styles.
In prime position, Zimmermann sticks out from the crowd with its own cave. The Aussie sister duo opted for a closed-in frontage that entices customers to enter the privacy of the fashion boutique and try on the light, folk-story crochet tops and embroidered summer dresses.
Keep an eye out for new retailers opening up shop later this year…
Californian retailer Forever 21 is due to open in December and Victoria’s Secret is opening a sexy beauty and accessories store at the centre. Eyewear store Bailey Nelson, which started out in Bondi, is opening up a large boutique and sleepwear specialist Peter Alexander has a spot marked next to Myer on the second level.
|Venue name:||Macquarie Centre|
Cnr Waterloo Rd & Herring Rds
|Opening hours:||Mon-Wed, Fri 9am-5.30pm; Thu 9am-9pm; Sat 9am-5pm; Sun 10am-4pm|