Contemporary Lounge returns home!

Ballantynes has been a force to be reckoned with in the Christchurch rebuild, and the return of the beautiful Contemporary Lounge at 663 Colombo St sets a high benchmark for other retailers.  




The re-opening of the store in its rightful home has been 25 months in the making, and was celebrated in true Contemporary Lounge style. Beautiful models, clothes, cocktails and champagne were the order of the exclusive preview evening, and catering was provided by new café and eatery, ello.

Colin Mathura-Jeffree hosted the celebrations, noting that, “it’s a celebration of resilience, a celebration of the Christchurch of the future”.  


Colin Mathura-Jeffree with Managing director of Ballantynes, Mary Devine


Ballantynes has committed to Christchurch and is embarking on a new mission to create iconic fashion history, as they have done for the past 150 years,  as well as upholding its reputation as the South Island’s place to go for fashion.

Managing director of Ballantynes, Mary Devine, commented that the Lounge’s theme is: “fashion, beauty and food…It’s about the new way of retailing. You have to mix it up”. Ginger Meggs hair salon has also returned from the suburbs, and beauty pop-up events are being planned on an ongoing basis.



Contemporary Lounge provides an environment that one wants to shop in. It’s a relaxing and wide open space that looks fabulous and makes you feel it too. Adding to this atmosphere is the excitement about its return – shopping in a container is novel, but with the plethora of brands Contemporary Lounge is fortunate enough to house, it is impractical.

The earthquakes forced Ballantynes to innovate and renovate, beginning with the cosmetics hall, through to the Fashion Atrium, and now the Contemporary Lounge. Customers can enter through the escalator on Colombo St, or walk in from the Fashion Atrium.

Ted Baker

They’ve completely reorganised the lounge as well, partly due to the exciting Miss Selfridge introduction, but also to tailor the store to customer needs. Men can quickly pop up the escalator into their dedicated section featuring WORLDman, Ted Baker, Ben Sherman and G-Star; while women will likely wander in through the Fashion Atrium.

Miss Selfridge is the most notable new brand for this season, but the inclusion of New Zealand fashion powerhouses Lonely Hearts, Sylvester, Coop Boutique and the breath-taking Karen Walker pop-up reflects the “younger more edgy” relevance the 2013 Contemporary Lounge is focussed on. 


Karen Walker pop-up

I was very impressed by the event and the offerings of the Contemporary Lounge, and the brands they’ve recruited to also commit to Christchurch’s rebuild. If you’re not in Christchurch, it is definitely worth the trip to shop, eat, and maybe even get your hair done.


Get your credit card and shopping buddy ready, and don’t forget to book some extra baggage for your return trip!


– Anny Ma

Images: Dave Richards

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