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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.

www.44stan­ley.co.za

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