Zaara Opens New Island Store in SL — (updated)

I’m running out of group slots, so I haven’t joined the newsgroup for patrons of Zaara Kohime, the owner and designer of Zaara, and therefore didn’t know that she has moved.

In case, poor fashion-driven soul, you haven’t heard of this place, ’tis truly bizarre of you, for Zaara is becoming one of the finest designers in Second Life.  In case you haven’t tired of me crowing about this woman’s work, her dresses are supremely elegant, her textures and colors mouth-watering delicious, her saris the most versatile I’ve seen so far — I’ve yet to wear one to Frank’s Place, but I think it would fit right in with the formal scene there [1] –and her ghagra skirts wonderful to move in!

Zaara kept store in the Tesla sector for a time; but she’s moved and opened up her own island just yesterday (Monday, January 12).  I’m not here to talk about the clothes, though, but about that new island; Zaara worked on it herself, and it’s as much of a gem as her clothes are.  Click on the thumbnails starting on the next page, and follow.

The build doesn’t cover the entire island, which is a nice thing (though perhaps some planting could be done on those areas with low-prim trees and shrubs to give a little parkland to the sim).  The chief building, of course, is the store at the top left.  Most other buildings are façades, or “false stores” that contain textures of wares and no actual merchandise.  One other store does business here, though:  Tesla shoes (next storefront clockwise), and very nice shoes they are, with some high-heel oxfords that come in yummy colors themselves.  The pool in the center contains water plants at this moment; it might be nice to see what the plants will become as the seasons turn.

The construction and decoration of Zaara’s store is similar to what she had back in Tesla, but with more fine wood, and more wall space for the “folk” murals of Indian themes.  (Incidentally, Zaara also brought along the elephants that were outside her old store; you should never leave good friends behind.)  The balconies are also here as well, as is the anteroom or narthex before you get into the store proper.  There is no direct roof access at this store, though, unless you fly up to it.  (Not necessarily a loss.)

Inside, past the anteroom, Zaara once more echoes the theme of the old store, with an open-space plan carrying the merchandise on the walls, surrounding a sunken area with a sculpture in the center, open to the sky.  The dresses are not all crowded into the one region, however; she now has several rooms letting off from the main “salon,” each with its own theme (casual, Western evening gowns, etc.).  You cannot teleport to the second floor in this store — a minor thing, as the stairway in the alcove to the right is wide and, best of all, straight angles [2].  Also in this alcove, by the way, are Zaara’s fantastic pashmina shawls, and her bangles and three Western-style jewelry sets.  Upstairs, of course, are the ethnic costumes — the ghagras and saris.

Overall, there is plenty of room in this new place for Zaara to expand her collection; at the current time, each display vendor has plenty of room to let you focus on it without lots of visual clutter screaming for attention at the corner of your eyes.  The lack of crowding also allows you to enjoy the textures Zaara uses for her walls; the designs, logically, are appropriate to an Indian-themed building, and the colors echo the richness of her palette in her clothing.  Look particularly at the “chair-rail” line in the main rooms, but study the other rooms as well.  Each one has its own character, all the way to the flowers surrounding an excellent divan.  You feel like you’re in India!

Across the pool, you’ll find a more modern building.  (Consider it moving between old and New Delhi).  I’m not sure what is planned for this place, but there is more comfortable seating, an ibrik of Turkish coffee for consumption, and an excellent dance floor with everything from bellydances to a Funky Chicken laid into the menu.  I saw Zaara’s manager doing a bellydance in full silks last night when I was visiting, and Cajsa Lilliehook used that floor as a theme for a recent article of her own in the new region(UPDATE:  This is called the Nasha Lounge, and it definitely appears to be a place for relaxing and socializing.)

Zaara is nothing if not careful about the details.  Take a walk around the remainder of the island.  True, only one other building is open for business (are there plans for new designer showcases or simply some subletting, hmmm?).  But see all the supporting detail scattered about the walls and streets.  I mentioned the false-front stalls earlier.  There are posters of various Hindu deities on the walls in several spots.  Cattle “roam” the streets.  (Actually, they’re prim statues, but….)  There’s even a can of garbage near the stalls; no detail is spared.

The most important secondary building, though, is located behind the big store.  Zaara has built there a lovely little shrine to Ganesha, son of Shiva, the elephant-headed Lord of Obstacles in the Hindu pantheon.  Remember to take off your shoes before you go up the marble steps to admire the statue; you can also ring the bell overhead.  (I would suggest laying in a few appropriate devotional animations for those who are of a mind to offer veneration.)

Drop some lindens on Zaara while you’re there; your wardrobe will thank you.  But take the time to admire the pure artistry of this build as well.  I think you will enjoy.

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[1] — I’d better clear that with Nanceee and Gymmy Sinatra first!

[2] — I’m sorry, but I’m a Midwestern girl, and I like things foursquare to the world.  Besides, I’ve encountered  far too many spiral staircases in world that are a pain to navigate; I fall off more often than make it to the next floor, and end up usually leaving.

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