Saks Fifth Avenue opens its elegant doors to Calgary shoppers in Chinook Centre

There’s been a complete transformation of the space that once served as a Zellers and then an understocked Target as Saks Fifth Avenue finally opens its doors at Chinook Centre.

It’s hard to believe the same two floors were formerly home to inexpensive clothes and cute décor items, such is the makeover to the store.

In their stead, the light and luxe Saks takes on a modern and clean look, with lots of white, mixed metal fixtures and plush carpets, reflecting how this city and its shopping scene have evolved. Punctuating the space is local artwork from the Newzones Gallery of Contemporary Art and Christine Klassen Gallery. The pieces will be featured in the store and window displays for the rest of the month.

This is the first Saks in Canada located outside of Toronto and its arrival has been widely anticipated. (Saks Off Fifth Avenue already has a location here at CrossIron Mills.)

The upper floor of the 115,000-square-foot space is centred on women’s clothing with brands such as Nanette Lepore, Rag & Bone, Smythe and Michael Kors. The main level houses menswear, an extensive selection of designer handbags and accessories, fragrance, beauty products, while individual spaces have been carved out for brands such as Valentino and Givenchy.

Shoe lovers should take note, though, the first floor is also where they’ll find a wide selection of gorgeous footwear from the likes of Manolo Blahnik to Jimmy Choo and more. (The area features a lush carpet for trying on those sky-high heels.)

While the space already makes shopping feel opulent, Saks enhances that with offerings such as a private jewelry viewing space and shopping suites, along with beauty treatment rooms.

And it will become even more of a one-stop shopping experience when a salon and restaurant – Buffo, an Italian spot from the Oliver and Bonacini group – open later this year.

Saks Fifth Avenue officially opens today.

Gwendolyn Richards is a Calgary-based food writer and the author of Pucker: A Cookbook for Citrus Lovers. She regularly contributes to Avenue Magazine, and Westjet magazine. You’ll be able to find her in the Saks Fifth Avenue shoe section.