Hordes fashionably late for store's grand opening
Spanish ambassador Enrique Viguera at Zara Canberra this morning.
While hordes of fashion lovers lined up for hours ahead of Zara's other six store openings in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, a lone schoolgirl, a new mother and the Spanish ambassador to Australia kept a vigil for affordable, high-street fashion in Canberra on Thursday morning.
Scenes at the grand opening of Canberra's first Zara store inside the Canberra Centre were a little more subdued compared with the chaotic scenes from the Spanish fashion retailer's 2011 Australian debut in Sydney.
A steady stream of curious shoppers poured into the fashion chain's newest Australian store, which is modelled on the New York boutique, when doors opened at 9am.
The first punters through the doors.
Spanish ambassador Enrique Viguera and his wife Marta were among the first Canberrans to welcome Zara to the nation's capital.
Mr Viguera said the fashion retailer's arrival was not only a great way to curb homesickness but also a testament to the strength of Spanish business innovation.
Zara's founder Amancio Ortega is now the world's third richest man and profits for the chain increased 27 per cent last year.
Zara opens in Canberra
The grand opening of Zara in the Canberra Centre on Thursday morning. Photo: Colleen Petch
"We are delighted to have Zara here. I believe the plan is to continue the expansion in Australia which is great, but for us it's nice to have a little bit of Spain here in Canberra. It makes us feel more at home," Mr Viguera said.
The ambassador and his wife have been based in Australia for 18 months and are enjoying settling in and exploring their new home town.
Mrs Viguera, dressed in Zara, said she would be a loyal customer at the Canberra store.
The Zara store front.
"He is going back to the office but I'm going to stay and go shopping. I love Zara. It's so beautiful, it makes me feel very proud," Mrs Viguera said.
Fourteen-year-old Izzy Dablo was the envy of her Trinity Christian School classmates as she took the morning off classes to go shopping.
''I went to the Sydney and Melbourne openings so it's about time Canberra got one,'' she said.
''This is a little more relaxed, it's great, more room for me to shop.''
Wet-look leather pants and winter wardrobe staples were the top priorities on her shopping list.
Racks laden with trends first spotted at the recent Milan and Paris Fashion Week shows impressed the women.
Queues for the fitting rooms started early with shoppers clutching armfuls of baroque-inspired prints, quilted jackets, buttery leather and floral pants.
Over in the separate menswear section, a small collective of male shoppers rifled through a selection of coloured suit jackets, pastel-coloured business shirts, military fatigues and acid-wash denim jackets.