Zara opens at Chadstone with fans but little fanfare

Spanish fashion retailer Zara opened its fourth Australian store at Chadstone this morning.

Absent were the overnight queues that stretched around city blocks for the opening of stores in Sydney and Melbourne last year.

The Chadstone store is based on Zara's new store in New York. It's light, spacious, well-lit and solves the elbow-to-elbow problem Zara shoppers usually have.

Window collections for Chadstone include exclusive womenswear, menswear, teen fashion and children's wear.

Stylist Iyan Difuntorum was one of 30-odd media given tours before the store's official opening at 9.30am.

"I love all the embellishments," he said of the womenswear, "and the way they've played with the whole crochet thing. I've got a couple of shoots coming up and can definitely use all that."

Typical among the bullseye fashion pieces he was flicking through were a pale Chanel-style fully sequined jacket for just $119 and silver strapped sandals with a raw leather back feature for $69.95. Both could belong in a high-end designer store.

By 9.30am, Zara's stalwarts, alerted via social media about the Chadstone opening because the stores don't advertise, materialised and swarmed into the store.

"I'm so excited," said Murrumbeena mum Rita Kurek. "I love Zara for the quality, the price and because it's not made in China. I'm buying several dresses today."

She shopped on, clutching four tailored dresses and a spring coat, each no more expensive than $119.

Zara is part of the Spanish conglomerate Inditex, which appears impervious to any global economic crisis. It has more than 5600 stores worldwide, operated under 10 different fashion brands. There are about 1600 Zara stores in 84 countries.

Inditex's net sales rose by 15 per cent to 3.4 billion euros in the first quarter this year and it is continuing to expand.

Inditex manufactures in Spain, Brazil, Turkey and other low-cost manufacturing countries in Asia.

Zara is one of several international fast-fashion retailers establishing footholds in Australia. Others are Topshop/Topman and Gap, with Swedish retailer H&M, Japanese retailer Uniqlo, Forever 21 and Abercrombie and Fitch were also reportedly scouting for sites.

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