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Adventures at Sydney’s New Westfield

As every girl and almost every guy in Sydney knows, this morning Westfield opened its new $1.2 billion shopping centre in Pitt Street. Which is pretty impressive, considering when I went by at 3am this morning, this is what it looked like…

But by the time I finished work and made it to Pitt Street mall at midday, (hey, I started at 3am remember) the cranes, scaffolding, and men in hard hats had disappeared as if by magic, and I had my first glimpse of an entryway that I will no doubt step into many times in the years to come.

My first impression was it’s a little darker inside than I expected. But I was easily distracted by pretty shiny things, including this purple panther in the Mulberry store, and these Swarovski stairs (in the Swarovski store that is, not in the fire exits, but there’s a decadent idea for the next flagship store.)

Unfortunately the rush to open on time had left some stores on the hop. If you didn’t know it was opening day, you could be forgiven for thinking step ladders are the accessory of the season.

The men in hard hats may have disappeared, but their orange shirted cousins could be found working away in a number of stores, putting things up, gluing things down, and generally being very handy.

There were also a few teething problems with the escalators, with some screeching from time to time, while others just plain stopped. Twice I went looking for an escalator only to find security had blocked it off while technicians worked on it, (see if you can guess which one is working in the picture below left) while another time I found the escalator had stopped but centre management hadn’t spotted it yet.

But there’s a clever trick to escalators when they’re not working. You can actually use them like stairs, so I was still able to make it to the next floor to continue my Westfield adventure.

And in the end none of those first day kinks really mattered, because after two years of Pitt Street Mall being a construction zone, and after having to say goodbye to Centrepoint shopping centre, the Imperial Arcade and Skygarden, we finally had the mall back, and a fabulous new shopping centre to boot.

Of the 130 or so stores that opened today my personal favourites are:
  • Diane Von Furstenberg, where the DVF I was wearing was spotted by the lovely chap who flew in from the US to oversee the opening, and where I fell in love with a number of frocks as I sipped bubbles and nibbled chocolates;
  • Ted Baker, which has a fantastic London Underground inspired fit out, with a kind of tea party twist;
  • And the pseudo market area on the bottom floor, where a range of young and funky designers share the open space in the middle of the mall.

There was also a rather fab looking beautician that specialises in waxing, appropriately called The Waxing Divas…


And I rather loved the big balls of jeans hanging from the ceiling in That Store.

Of course, the two I’ve been looking forward to the most, Miu Miu and Zara, are among the 100 or so stores that will open sometime next year in the second wave. Today I was mocked by a range of Coming Soon signs, including…

I mean, come on!

But maybe there is something to be said for this staggered opening thing. We’re told Westfield Sydney is now one of the 10 most expensive shopping centres in the world, so I suppose we should savour it, and keep something up our shopping sleeves to look forward to.

In the meantime I’ve got a few more laps in me before I get bored. Another one tomorrow wouldn’t be too soon, would it?

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  1. i need to get out more..i didnt even know this was down there 🙂 will have to go and have a look ..

  2. i need to get out more..i didnt even know this was down there 🙂 will have to go and have a look ..

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