Through its four years at Dubai Festival City, Robinsons was the place to be for fashionistas and anyone wanting a look and feel of the good things money can buy. Image Credit: Instagram Robinsons

Dubai: Lamenting about the closure of a high-end retail store during a pandemic might seem crass, indulgent, and a tad soulless.

But here’s the thing. For a self-titled shopaholic who couldn’t afford most of what Robinsons stocked, the store was emblematic of all things aspirational and fantastical. My first date with Robinsons was a smashing success.

A soon-to-be British bride and three bridesmaids – an Indian, an American, and a Southeast Asian – with three different body types and skin tones were on the hunt for a classy gown. We all had different ideas on what constituted that perfect bridesmaid gown. The Indian in me wanted something bright, pink, and arresting, while the others were rooting for a subdued palette like dull blue and rose gold.

Bonding over dresses

We didn’t agree on much right way, but we didn't let our claws show. But the next few hours were spent getting to know every rack of Robinsons and playing dress-up at their plush changing rooms.

For those few hours spent scavenging on gowns, the three of us -- who didn’t know each other very well except for their bond with the radiant soon-to-be bride -- learned an awful lot about each other.

We didn’t become soul sisters by the end of our shopping sojourn at Robinsons, but we were on the road to becoming shopping sisters, thanks to the copious hours we clocked at this high-end retail chain.

Dubai Festival City NYE fireworks
Robinsons occupied a prominent spot at the expanded Dubai Festival City. And made upscale shopping a compelling experience at the mall. Image Credit: Supplied


Just like how we three women were a portrait of diversity, the store also offered a lush stock of designers from around the globe. Apart from the usual designer brand suspects such as Ted Baker, Jenny Packham, and Carolina Herrara, there were designers whose names we weren’t familiar with but who caught our attention, nonetheless.

Retail brands such as Robinsons had this amazing quality of shepherding brands and stocking wares that we wouldn’t otherwise give a try under one roof.

And we did not get any disapproving glances from shop assistants for herding together near the dressing area and chatting loudly about first-world problems. But it’s the end of a shopping era, as we know it.

A deep void

The closure of Robinsons may not affect many, but for a shopaholic, its absence will leave a void. While I experienced sticker shock at some of their gorgeous stuff, the memories of hunting for that perfect bridesmaid dress remains priceless. For those wondering, we zeroed down on a powder blue gown first spotted at Robinsons.

Fortunately, the marriage that we were bridesmaids has lasted more than Robinsons and has seen a happier ending. But Robinsons, you will be missed.

PS: Another standout section at Robinsons was the kitchen section stocked with the most gorgeous pots and pans, and nudged me towards cooking. How do you justify spending a crazy amount on pretty pots if you don't bother to cook with them?