CULTURE

Greece’s largest department store: A new shopping therapy experience

From Bloomingdale’s to Selfridges and the Galeries Lafayette, department-store shopping therapy begins at the window. A string of highly creative displays, dubbed the «Attica Gardens,» marks a new chapter for shopping in Greece. Attica, the country’s largest department store, opened its doors on April 9 at CityLink, the city’s sole listed architectural block, which spreads from Panepistimiou to Voukourestiou, Stadiou and Amerikis streets. Part of an entirely revamped 1930s construction – formerly the Army Pension Fund Building – the new department store covers an area of 25,000 square meters (out of CityLink’s total 65,000 sq.m.) stretching to eight floors and featuring more than 300 shops in a shop, 500 brands as well as a cafe-restaurant. At the newly established, 25-million-euro department store, a lot has to do with capturing the light. Two atriums with escalators as well as granite, mosaics, handmade carpets and wood create a sense of space and clear surfaces. Most importantly, here’s what a modern department store can offer: menswear and womenswear from casual to eveningwear via designer fashion (though no Greek talent appears here), sportswear, footwear, lingerie, travel items, cosmetics, accessories, jewelry, children’s and baby fashion, homewear and gifts. There’s plenty of browsing and choosing: Hip youngsters (and their parents) will enjoy choices by Baby DKNY and Armani Junior, for instance, while women will go for Pringle cashmere, Burberry plaid, Joseph, Just Cavalli, See by Chloe, Paul & Joe and Sport Missoni. For men, the morning-to-evening gamut goes from Givenchy and Cerruti to Quicksilver and Tommy Hilfiger, while cool casual for all includes Versus, Save the Queen, Custo and D&G. On the cosmetics front, choices comprise Molton Brown, Bobbi Brown and Annick Goutal perfumes, while Attica’s Greek brands include Korres, Folli Follie, Anna Maria Mazaraki jewelry and Fleria flowers. The department store offers a number of premium services, including VIP rooms for extra assistance (by appointment, this may involve personal shoppers’ aid), refunds and lockers as well as free-of-charge mending and home delivery. On a daily basis, the forecast is for 8,000 to 10,000 visitors assisted by 700 members of staff (opening hours Mondays to Fridays 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Besides the long list of existing labels, other luxury brands are expected to join CityLink, including outlets by Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Tous (the Spanish jewelry and accessories line is already in operation), Diesel Black Label, Salvatore Ferragamo, Bally, Montblanc, as well as Warner Bros and Tsantilis. Also in the works is a branch of the Holmes Place spa. Eventually, the project will be completed through the renovation of the Pallas and Aliki theaters and the Spyromiliou Arcade. The areas once home to the landmark Zonar’s and Brazilian cafe-restaurants will be maintained – along with various architectural elements intact – though under new management and names. Back at the department store, Attica promises to be a work-in-progress, through constant development. A few suggestions come to mind: finding ways of incorporating the work of Greek designers, wedding-list services, and a few less «safe» choices of brands to create a stronger identity. How far will Attica go? No doubt it has already come a long way.