Arts on Main

I’ve blogged about the Maboneng precinct in the Johannesburg city centre before (see here) but it is such a cool place that I am sure you will not mind seeing pictures of it again. With my Capetonian sister in town for Daniel’s birthday party, it was the perfect place to spend some time for a Sunday lunch before she had go to the airport. She took my camera from me and the photographer in her just took over!! She loved every nook and cranny of the area. Predictably, if you ask me since it is one of my favourite places in town!

For more details on the area, see here. Tomorrow I will show you her photos of Market on Main, a wonderful food market inside the Arts on Main buildings.

Image credits: Elanie Fourie

Paris Postcard: Le Printemps

It is Friday and time for a weekly Paris Postcard.

Paris is home to some of the world’s most famous department stores. One of the first such stores in Paris was Printemps, created in 1865. Today the shop is the largest beauty department store in the world with 45,000 square meters of shopping. This shop is responsible for a couple of retail business strategies that we take for granted today. They invented fixed prices, for one. At that stage prices were decided by haggling based on customer appearance. All of a sudden, customers did not have to bargain every time they wanted to buy something; they just paid the set price!

Printemps also pioneered the idea of discount sales to clear out dated stocks and the use of window models to display the latest fashions.

PS. If there is one word that I make my French sister-in-law repeat over and over, it is Printemps. My South African tongue with its guttural g’s and rolling r’s just cannot seem to pronounce it correctly :-)!! To hear the correct pronounciation
, click here

You can visit their website here of like their Facebook page.


We tend to think of Cape Town as the place that does “bohemian” better than any other city in South Africa. Just take Frieda’s for an example (see yesterday’s blog here). Effortless, quirky, retro, hip. Well, to rise to Jo’burg defense for once, she is more than capable of holding her own.

Meet exhibit one: Superella, fashion designer Ella Buter’s store in Mellville (just opposite the Bamboo centre). You are already smiling when you read the handwritten sign that greets you at the door, and inside you step into her fashion world. Her work is described as innovative and eccentric. She is known for excellent craftsmanship.

Ella uses the space as her working studio. So you will easily find her designing something or cutting material right there in the shop. Around her is all her staff behind their sewing machines, in full view of everyone walking in, making her creations. It reminded me of the way I felt when restaurants first opened their kitchens so you could see right into them - it somehow makes you feel connected to the experience by making it real, authentic and unique, seeing what you are going to buy take shape in front of your eyes.

What I absolutely loved about Superella is the way Ella “curates” her store (merchandising just doesn’t explain what she does to the walls of her shop!) It is filled with little objects and photos, creating a sort of a 3D mood board for the clothing collection. Currently the store’s theme is a Winter Country/Farm bumpkin. I cannot wait to see how the shop will look when she changes it to compliment her summer collection. My guess? Very much nice, probably.


Cnr Rustenburg Road 8th & 9th Street 

When in Cape Town ..... Frieda's

With a morning to kill in Cape Town all by myself, I decided to explore Bree Street. I had grand ideas of walking up and down the street, popping into shops, stopping for a coffee or two or three … just chilling, you know, lady-at-leisure-ly. Alas, it was not to be. My day started late when my rental car’s battery did not like the fact that I left the lights on overnight :-). By the time I arrived in Bree street at the bottom of the road, after paying the car guard the parking fee (is it just me, or is it seriously expensive!?), the rain started to drizzle. I popped into Frieda’s for my first cappuccino of the day. Frieda’s is a very bohemian deli in a funky long warehouse-style space decorated with retro furniture (think Formica tables and chairs), old sofas with bits of cloth, vintage display cabinets (I like the old radios!) and funky old South African kitsch. I only had a coffee, so I cannot really comment on the food, but the menu looked good.

By the time I left Frieda’s, the rain went from a drizzle to something that would have daunted Shackleton, I kid you not. The rest of Bree Street will have to wait for the next Cape Town trip…..

You can visit their website here

When in Cape Town ..... Clarke's

During our weekend in Cape Town, we met up with my parents for lunch at a fairly new joint in Bree Street called Clarke’s Bar and Dining Room. They serve traditional American style food with amazing sandwiches, all day breakfasts and salads. I love the interior of the place, especially their funky lights and their great “garden”. All the windows are filled with terracotta pots planted with a big variety of green plants and succulents.

My husband says a man can live off that pork shoulder sandwich for two days! And Dad, thanks for picking up the bill :-)!

You can visit their very interesting website here. Or  visit their Facebook page.

Sunday Editions #26

I loved the way in which this kind of thrown-together corner in my friend Karlien's house ended up forming such a beautiful still life.

Paris Postcard: Hermès

It is Friday already and time for a weekly Paris Postcard. Or perhaps even two today, because the second one is linked to the first.... 

Lutetia was the ancient name for Paris in pre-Roman and Gallo-Roman times. (All very old knowledge if you are an Asterix fan!! Or so my brother tells me.)

Today one of the best known hotels on the left bank is Hotel Lutetia, one of the first ever Art Deco building in Paris, built in 1910.

In the world of luxury brands, there are some names that seem to transcend others; call it über-luxury, if you want. One of the ways in which a brand puts a stake in the ground as being ‘more equal than the rest’ is through its retail spaces. A glass fronted display case in every airport duty free won’t do, oh no. Think Louis Vuitton’s new artificial island in Singapore. Or, a little more understated perhaps, the following…

In the 1930’s the Hotel Lutetia’s swimming pool served as home base for one of Paris’ oldest swimming clubs. It was a place to see and be seen. And it seems nothing has changed in that regard.

In 2005 the pool was classified as a historical monument in Paris, meaning very strict guidelines if you want to renovate the building. And who better than – probably – the most luxurious of all the luxury brands, Hermès, to create a showroom for their products in a space that brings back the 1930’s glorious architecture. The original structure, with its mosaic tiling and wrought ironwork has been preserved, creating an old ambience but made modern with the use of three gigantic woven ash wood huts. The 9m high pod like structures are just a beautiful and perfect home for the new range of Hermès home furnishings.

The rest of the store also houses a beautiful flowershop, a bookstore and tearoom, and all the 
Hermès products, making this probably the chicest of all the luxury brand stores around the world.

Image credit: Nani Kornelius & Neel Potgieter