The new Chanel boutique in Dubai's Mall of the Emirates feels more like the ultimate walk-in wardrobe than a store. The New York architect Peter Marino's interior of mirror-panelled walls and deep carpets has the unmistakable vibe of Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel's Parisian apartment.
Snugly tucked in the corner of the mall's Fashion Dome, the 600-square-metre space has an imposing black marble and white-letter facade. As the weighty, glazed doors swing back, the first thing you'll notice is the smell. Staff vary the fragrance from day to day, picking from Chanel's prodigious catalogue of scents.
The classic Chanel palette of beige, black and white is punctuated by the artworks of Robert Green, side tables by Christophe Côme and lamps by Laurence Montano. The main space is dedicated to handbags. The labyrinthine salons feature haute joaillerie, ready-to-wear pieces and - joy abound - more handbags.
In the unlikely event that you find yourself searching for an assistant, there are plenty of strategically placed iPads to keep you entertained. The tablets are suitably clad in jet-black quilted Chanel jackets.
No sooner had I set my heart on a coral-coloured, caviar-print calf clutch when one of the friendly staff brought it to me - along with a coordinating gusset-zipped purse and wafer-thin cardholder.
Chanel's latest venue in the region is a much-welcome locale for capital commuters and Marina dwellers. It's a surprisingly sensory experience, from the tweed-upholstered sofas to the candles that flicker around the store. Another marked difference from Chanel's flagship boutique in The Dubai Mall is the absence of a queue to enter during peak times.
If you're a fan of the designer Karl Lagerfeld or an admirer of the indomitable Mademoiselle Chanel, I would urge you to take a tour. It's a little piece of the premiere arrondissement in Arabia.
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