Saturday, March 15, 2008

Domesticity Retail Roundup: Special NORDIES IS A FREAKING CIRCUS Edition

Picture from (discussion can be found here)

It's been almost a week since I've been to the new Nordstrom's at Ala Moana, and I still can't get over what a freaking circus it still is.

Let's face it: I was in college when Neiman Marcus opened their Ala Moana store, and I could still remember how wowed I was by the whole space. Imagine: wall to wall marble! White butterflies cascading from the ceiling! Every imaginable luxury label on earth! Then, when Macy's took over Liberty House, I wasn't wowed, but it was fine by me - I've always thought of Liberty House as a more relaxed version of an otherwise uppity department store anyway, and I thought Macy's did a good job of maintaining the same vibe Liberty House was working.

But... Nordstrom? Oh. My. Word.

The first thing I noticed when I went inside was how crowded and small it was. Say what you will about what Nordie's looks like on the outside, but the department store proper reminded me way too much of ShoeMart back home in Metro Manila, with more soothing music and less loud intercoms. Every single floor was packed like sardines; every E(spresso)-bar had lines rivalling the scariest rides in Disneyland.

Madness? This... Is... NORDSTROOOOOM!!!!

I tried to take a gander at the shoe section, hoping for the same wide selections that I was used to seeing at Nordstrom Shoes in Ward Center. No such luck; all I could remember were some yellow strappy sandals that were too pointy for my own good.

I tried to wander into the beauty section, also packed to the gills with people getting makeovers. Same brands as elsewhere (Clinique, Lancome, Estee Lauder, Bobbi Brown, etc.), with Chanel taking over some prime real estate and both Kiehl's and Bliss getting counters of their own.

I looked into the Nail Salon and, to my shock and disappointment, found an open space with no doors. Say what you will about the exceptional service those ladies were getting during their mani-pedi, but I did not need to watch them get their cuticles scraped at that moment. Especially not when I'd just gotten my pedi at the nail salon across the street, which I swear was so much bigger than the space Nordies allowed.

I even went into the clothes section, disappointed that I didn't see a more substantial plus size section to rival the one at Macy's. I wasn't too het up about the regular clothes, though - especially after seeing a really nice white blouse from 3.1 Phillip Lim. Unfortunately, said blouse is also not on the Nordie's site, which makes me sad because I wish you could've seen how gauzy and pin-tucked it is. (Closest I have to that blouse is this one, but this is in green and doesn't have the same breezy feel as the one I saw on the rack.)

Then somebody thrust the Ala Moana home fragrance under my nose (thank you, folks at Antica Farmacista!) and all was right with the world.

Really, if I hadn't been in such a rush that afternoon, I would've enjoyed the experience better, but my friend Jones told me that I should go back in there when the novelty has died down, so it wouldn't be so crowded and small when I go in. Jones thought that the selection was not too bad; then again, she's about ten years younger than I am, and she's in the perfect time of her life to get away with some of the designs I saw on the Nordie's floor - not too trendy, but not too boring and stodgy.

My friend Kitty, on the other hand, recommended that I go into some of the newer stores in the same building. I didn't get to see the new Bare Escentuals or Williams Sonoma (moving to a bigger store than their old location across the mall from the Apple Store - Kitty told me they were giving away samples), and I was bummed about missing the new J.Crew store, which was on the ground floor. I did, however, duck into Design Within Reach, which made me yearn for the funky but expensive penthouse-loft apartment that I have yet to move into (preferably after my yet-to-be-scheduled wedding with the heterosexual version of Nate Berkus) with their lovely Bertoia chairs and minimalist couches.

For kicks, I also wandered into Chico's because I know this was going to be the kind of store where my Mom and I can shop together without recrimination or sticker shock. (I thought Kitty might like this store, too, since she's working the same island-lady vibe in her personal style.) All I can remember was a lot of draped jersey and bold prints that would feel right at home here in Hawaii, if not in my own closet. In Chico's defense, however, I will say that their jewelry is worth a look - I wouldn't wear it with the same Chico-style clothing, but I'd definitely rock something like this with a V-neck and jeans.

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