Casablanca’s colorful souks and street markets have survived for hundreds of years. Now that the city is moving headlong into the modern era with a 2,691,000-square-foot shopping center, their fate remains to be seen.
Morocco Mall, which is opening on Dec. 5, is a joint project of AKSAL and Al Jedaie Groups. The shell-shaped shopping center will be one of the 20 largest in the world and represents a $242 million investment.
About 98 percent of the retail space in the Morocco Mall has already been leased, according to a spokeswoman, who said the global average is about 80 percent.
The site of the Morocco Mall borders the Atlantic Ocean on the Casablanca Corniche coast. The mall stretches over 24,700 acres and includes 323,000 square feet of outdoor space and more than 150,000 square feet of landscaped gardens. With 350 shops representing everything from luxury brands to convenience stores, Morocco Mall will offer 600 brands, many of which will be opening a store in Africa for the first time, according a spokeswoman.
The first franchised Galeries Lafayette, a 140,000-square-foot unit on three levels, is said to closely mimic the Boulevard Haussmann flagship in Paris. FNAC, one of the largest sellers of DVDs, CDs, video games and high-tech products, will open a 32,000-square-foot unit and Marjane will unveil the first hypermarket in Morocco, a 70,000-square-foot store. The mall’s brochure said that it’s earned the trust of Inditex Group and luxury groups such as PPR and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, however, it does not say whether those companies have leased space.
In the center of the mall is the Morocco Souk, a seating or lounge area, inspired by the medinas — old, native quarters of North African cities — of Fez and Marrakech.
Like any megamall, Morocco Mall has a bevy of amusements for adults and children: a kids’ playground, IMAX theater, skating rink, fun park with a tropical garden, adventure park, bowling and fitness center, spa, the third-largest musical fountain in the world and a giant aquarium reachable by a panoramic lift. The mall will have 40 restaurants representing a range dining options, from fine dining with views of the sea to coffee shops to a food court. There will also be kiosks throughout the mall.
Since 2007, when construction began, more than 100,000 people have worked on the project. The mall, which will provide 5,000 permanent jobs once it opens, contributed a much-needed boost to the Moroccan economy.
The Morocco Mall, which expects 14 million visitors per year, claims tenants will do twice the amount of sales of a traditional mall.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast