1) The first thing to note about Ion Orchard is its immense size, the huge crowds and its hopelessly misleading signs. For example, the escalators jump from level 2 to level 4, missing out completely on level 3. It’s one big mess if you don’t know your way around but don’t get frazzled. Just look for the floor directory to help you navigate your way around, and here’s the coolest bit — it’s a touch-screen (yes, we dig cheap thrills), so you can even shop by genre.
2) There are so many great shops but so little time — we make it simpler for you by singling out a few perennial favourites.
– Topshop: The new flagship store here boosts a far wider selection than all the other outlets. The boys will not be disappointed by the range of apparel (hats included) and as for the girls, there’s a shoe “closet” and a whole line of outfits not available in the other outlets.
– Uniqlo: The one-stop shop for all things comfy and chic. Let the creative juices run free and pick out multi-colored tanks, tees and vest for a funky mix-and-match ensemble.
– Metrox: The multi-label boutique carries casual wear such as retro/vintage garbs from the label Worn Free and glam-rock jeans from True Religion, a cult favourite especially among celebrities.
– T.M.Lewin: This one’s for the dudes — T.M. Lewin helps you look your spiffy best for the corporate world with its range of suits, shirts, ties and accessories. As they say, clothes maketh the man.
3) Recharge by grabbing a bite at basement 4, where you can have your fill from the giant food haven “Food Opera”, which houses over 20 food outlets offering Chinese, Japanese and Italian cuisine, among others. There’s also the popular Marmalade Pantry, a classy café-cum-restaurant favored by those with deeper pockets. Or make a beeline for the new Burger King outlet, where the booths come with individualized speaker systems for you to plug in your iPod for a personalized sound zone.
4) And just for the fun of it (we did tell you we love cheap thrills) … go seek out the V.I.P. toilets located on the top four floors where the more high-end shops are. Specially built to service the needs of dignitaries and celebrities, the toilet bowls come with functions that give new meaning to the term “sitting on the throne”.
5) People watch. The hundreds of people milling around the vicinity are fascinating to watch — what’s unique about the crowd at ION Orchard is that the rich and the wannabe-rich mingle shoulder-to-shoulder.
Our verdict is this: ION Orchard is the summation of the best retail therapy on Orchard Road, with familiar favorites tucked under one roof alongside chi-chi brands like Vivienne Tam, Christian Lacroix and Dsquared2, which will definitely up the couture factor of our local shopping scene.