Retail Squee of the Day: The Zara Media Preview

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This morning, we editors were invited to take a tour of the Zara Seattle flagship store (opening tomorrow) in downtown's Westlake Center -- mere steps from our offices, which I see as being a huge problem for the old pocketbook.

And friends, it's glorious. The store design, the lighting, the clothes, everything.

The media preview began with an overview from Jesus Echevarría, the communications director at Inditex, Zara's parent company, during which he briefed everyone on the strong link between the Spanish retailer's designers and its customers (trends, trends, trends), the amazing speed at which fashions arrive to the store (48 hours after an order is placed) and the emphasis on beauty, clairity, functionality and sustainabilty within its two-level, 8,200-square-foot space.

As a former retail design writer, I appreciated its clean lines and attention to small details, such as textureized walls--a slight nod to high fashion--the incredible sightlines from the moment you enter and its sweeping facades (141-feet-wide on the first floor and 288-feet-wide on the second). The lighting sparkles, the floors are highly polished and the decor fabrics are sumptuous, which gives you a feeling that you're in an extremely refined and well-cared-for space.

Inside, you'll find two floors stocked--but not overly stocked as to appear messy--with women's, men's and kids' fashions. (I was really hoping for a small Zara Home section, but, hey, a girl can dream.) While the collections change regularly, the current crop of women's clothes emphasized embellishments, mixed materials, prints, bright hues such as citrine yellow and some super soft, light-weight cashmere sweaters. For gents, expect to score myriad looks full of studs, slim pants, sophisticated cardis and well-priced leather statement bags from Zara's limited-edition collection.

The fun begins tomorrow, February 13, as Zara swings open its Westlake Center doors to the public. Happy high-style shopping, Seattle.

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