Y memories of Milpark’s 44 Stanley go in stages. Late nights at Colour Bar in my university years, the more sophisticated coffee meetings at Salvation Café in my early freelancing days, many hours spent preening at Wyatt Hairdressing or shopping at fashion gems such as Guillotine and more recently, lazy Sundays lounging at the Stanley Beer Yard.
These days the many olive and leopard trees dotting the centre’s two open courtyards, which I remember as saplings at its inception in 2003, have grown well beyond the height of the buildings themselves, lending a beautiful softness to the urban design, fashion and lifestyle destination.
On my most recent visit I was impressed to find a host of new stores, both brands I know and love and talent that was new to me. We started off the morning at Chocoloza, a café where you can buy exquisite chocolates made on site and enjoy a variety of decadent cocoa drinks.
Some of the retail highlights from our subsequent few hours of browsing were Pichulik jewellery and Mungo linen, whose dedicated new stores make their goods accessible to Joburgers. Odrin is a fantastic menswear store boasting classic wardrobe staples, while Mr Vinyl, as the name implies, ticks all the boxes for music aficionados, in a cool, comfortable setting.
Colony Design is no newcomer to 44 Stanley, but as well as their leather accessories, they now showcase an incredibly sleek wooden furniture range. Storm in a Teacup is packed with goods from teeny wooden spoons to beautiful ceramic cups and huge Swazi clay pots, and is the perfect spot to pick up a reasonably priced gift. A personal favourite had to be custom shirtmaker Five8ths, which, after cutting a unique paper pattern for you, creates the most incredible shirts and shirt dresses using exquisite fabrics such as cotton and linen blends from Japan.
Finally, fans of Andrea Burgener’s The Leopard Food Company will be delighted to know she’s soon opening a new kitchen and food shop in the centre, which will offer takeaway meals and charcuterie products.
Nostalgia aside, I think what I enjoy most about 44 Stanley is the lack of bright lighting and general chaos synonymous with malls. You can enjoy a relaxed meal, do your shopping in a curated outdoor space where everything is good quality and original, and take advantage of the beauty facilities such as Wyatt Hairdresser or Polish Nail Spa.
Whatever you choose, you’re sure to leave feeling content and satisfied.