Now that all the hype has settled, let’s talk about Orchard Road’s newest shopping mall baby, Scotts Square. The shopping centre was supposed to be completed last year when owner Wheelock Properties announced the demolition of then-Scotts Shopping Centre in 2007. Waiting one year longer proved to be worth it, judging by the glitz its replacement has bestowed upon a largely dowdy-looking Scotts Road. I still think Far East Plaza needs a facelift, but that’s just me whining.

This baby (I’m sorry, I love calling malls as babies) is 4 storeys high counting the basement, stacked with more than 25 shopping and dining options including Michael Kors’ first Singapore boutique, Wild Honey’s second outlet and multi-label boutique CODA Co. which stocks some exciting emerging designers. However, you and I know that our coffers aren’t exactly lined with gold dust. If you’ve been with us from the start (thanks for being loyal!), you know we overhear a lot of things. While walking on the red carpet outside Scotts Square’s grand opening, I overheard an auntie saying this:

“Wah, new shopping mall ah? Very atas leh. Confirm expensive.”

(Or something along those lines lah.)

So, in an attempt to make the commoner in you not too left out, we set out on a mission: to find the cheapest stuff to get in a luxury mall. Granted, you could very well click your heels/sneakers/choice of footwear and take a hike to Far East Plaza, but here’s us saying you don’t need to be intimidated by Scotts Square’s glitzy exterior. Once you traverse the shops, you’ll start to realise that maybe the commoner in you does have a panache for affordable luxe. Here we go.

codaco

Once you step into CODA Co. (Level 2), you’ll realise that it’s not just another a multi-label boutique. (Stick with me; feeling the atmosphere will fulfill your cheapo trip.) There is a sense of change in the store – a new way of looking at fashion. It’s out with staid gowns and cream-coloured A-line frocks and in with asymmetrical tees, sheer-panel shirts and a sizable dose of print and colour. CODA Co. also stocked plenty of brands that showcased at trade show Blueprint last year, and you can definitely expect the store to snap more brands up this year.

To our pleasant surprise, our goodie bag contained a grey crew neck tee with owl motifs which happened to be the cheapest item they sold there. (Hey, some brands don’t even give away free stuff, so yeah.) Average prices run into the high 3-figure sums, but I bet the gowns there cost a leg, a hand and your accumulated credit debt.

tilamarch

We heard our friends at Fever Avenue raving about bags and accessories brand Tila March (Level 2), so we had to drop by for a peek at their boutique. We understand all the gushing now: their Zelig canvas bags are every bit functional and stylish without screaming “I’m a tai-tai who has an addiction with Birkins”. Signature pointed fastener flap notwithstanding, the label is considerably less OTT than most accessories brands out there, which is great if you don’t want to be a target of Singapore’s next robbery case. One advice though: don’t unbutton the sides of the zipper fasteners, lest your Zelig wants to look like a canvas Céline Boston.

However, we had to search a bit to find their cheap buy. Alas, hidden in a nook next to the counter, we spotted a row of wallets looking suspiciously nondescript. One of those wallets is a normal-sized double-compartment zipped leather wallet (we forgot to ask what type of leather) which looks pretty decent when you’re taking it out of your bag to buy your cheapo kopi siew dai. Jokes aside, here’s hoping Tila March gets into Singapore consciousness quick because bags needn’t be flashy to make a statement.

onpedder

On Pedder reminds me of a boudoir for a burlesque team of 50, but it looks much classier. Props to the visual merchandisers and interior designers for transforming the store into a walk-in wardrobe complete with vanity tables, transparent boxed shelves and such. Once the drama of the store sets in, you’ll be amazed by the fashion-forward accessories in store from labels such as Alexander McQueen, Nicholas Kirkwood, Mary Katrantzou and Charlotte Olympia. (Singapore jewellery label By Invite Only will feel right at home in this store. Just saying.)

Our cheap buy came from the accessories section. (As if you could find an affordable luxury bag – I could be wrong so if you know of one, hit us up!) Displayed alongside diamond-encrusted skulls and bejeweled iPhone cases with the cross sign, a five-skull leather bracelet can easily jazz up a black-on-black get-up or add kitsch to a mismatched outfit. On Pedder’s second boutique in Scotts Square also claims to stock brands exclusive only to the store. We demand they also stock the raspberry-chocolate muffins in the goodie bags. Those were the sex.

amyjames

Hey look – it’s grunge luxe! (No, Harley-Davidson doesn’t count.) Bread & Butter touts itself as the quintessential boutique to go to for luxury & lifestyle denim labels such as True Religion (name-dropped on The Black Eyed Peas’ song ‘My Humps), 7 for All Mankind, Evisu and Affliction. They also have a celeb wall exclusive to the Scotts Square outlet that has, well, celebs wearing denims they stock. We loved the pop-culture spin except some pictures were, erm, quite low-res. Pixellated ScarJo tits are just a huge no-no. (Don’t ask why I said that.)

After a couple of stores, we knew that hidden nooks were where we could find our cheap buy. After spotting a grunge Amy James graphic tee for $100, lo and behold, a couple of jean labels displayed in front of the store were on sale for the same price too! (Sale’s probably over though.) Tee and jeans for $200? Now, that’s affordable casual luxe.

michaelkors

Of course, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to traverse Michael Kors‘ eponymous boutique after missing the grand opening a few months back. The sales lady told me she wasn’t aware there was a grand opening going on at that day. It’s ok lah, we love a good surprise. I bet she thought the red carpet was a permanent fixture to ‘angkat bola’ the socialites and tyconns walking through the doors after opening day. Hope she managed to grab some free nosh though in the midst of her toilet break.

Oh, where were we, yes Michael Kors! We were spotting for trinkets and leather bracelets but they were more expensive than a pair of jelly sandals at the bottom shelf going for $100. To be very honest, they looked like the $5 jelly sandals at your nearest pasar malam but prestige pricing always delivers. Besides, the MK chrome logo attached to the sandal strap ensures that you’re not to be trifled around with the next time you decide to catch some sun at the Marina Bay Sands Skypark.

I hope you’ve now found some confidence that looks can be deceiving and all you need is a keen eye and a nose for spotting deals to feel comfortable in any mall. Now, go forth, my brethren. Scotts Square awaits you.

P.S. If you were somehow offended by this post, smile. The world is not a depressing place. :)

Additional reporting and attempts at witty tweets by contributing curator Constance Lim