south africa's luxury market has gone leaps and bounds, and while the arrival of dozens more luxury monobrand boutiques in the country's economic capital johannesburg is imminent, a more interesting phenomenon has emerged in its creative hub cape town. we're talking maison mara, south africa's very first luxury concept store and the brainchild of kelly mara withey, a young professional who initially earned her spurs in the parisian fashion arena before a timely relocation to a new homeland that seemed to have lots of potential in her field of expertise. opened a little while ago in a three-storey heritage building from the 1800s in de waterkant, an upscale enclave situated a stone's throw away from the central business district, the store features appealing home-style settings, all concocted by withey and local interior designer robert sherwood.
not only have most of the building's orginal elements been retained and lovingly restored, they're also meticulously paired with modern fixtures and cherry-picked vintage pieces to create, as said, the welcoming feel of a contemporary private residence. special features include the gaudi-like staircase leading up to the first floor, the bespoke finishes in the marbled bathroom that has been transformed into the store's skincare room, and last but not least the patio, an inner sanctum of sorts, featuring a vertical rock garden. walls dipped in immaculate white and wooden flooring throughout the premises tie in these various settings. maison mara is all about adventurous exploration of its alluring, light-filled rooms and the tightly curated range of treasures displayed in them.
the items have all beenl personally selected by withey herself, and her previous professional background as an assistant fashion buyer in the city of light has certainly come in handy. aiming to meet and nurture the growing needs of a savvy local female demographic, maison mara stocks items and brands that very much reflect their eclectic, quality-driven taste. maison mara's current stock list includes apparel pieces by jil sander, mm6 and sonia rykiel, kenzo and proenza schouler, hand-crafted k.jacques sandals, cosmetics by (malin+goetz}, hôtel costes fragrances, scented candles by ligne blanche and glossy phaidon books. mind you, most items are exclusive to south africa, adding up to the sense of finding yourself inside a true treasure trove. location: 5 jarvis street [de waterkant].