Welcome to Sandton’s sparkling Diamond Walk. Home to some of the world’s most exclusive fashion brands, the phrase “well-heeled” seems designed for the customers who parade this newly tiled corridor of Sandton City. Before you punish your credit card, take a peek at our exclusive tour of the Diamond Walk. You won’t believe what we discovered.
While the name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, this is a fashion empire worth adding to your wardrobe bucket list. FYI: The name is pronounced “Er-men-a-geel-do Zen-ya”. Producing men’s accessories, and most notably suits for its own label, the luxury brand also produces suits for labels such as Gucci, Dunhill, Tom Ford and Saint Laurent, and has been since 1920. If Malcolm Gladwell’s right about the 10 000 hour rule, then this brand is a master of its craft.
The first global luxury brand to open a flagship store in Nigeria, the Sandton store is a celebration of Italian tailoring in the heart of Joburg. Offering discerning gentlemen the opportunity to be original – at a cost – the store offers a bespoke service which allows customers to select their own fabric and suit details.
If you’re lucky enough to purchase a suit here, you’ll be in good company. Everyone from Brad Pitt and Ben Affleck to Idris Elba and Chris Pine has suited up in this classic Italian label.
The biggest Prada store in the world, clocking in at 800sqm, it’s difficult to miss especially when peering up at the 65 meter façade that welcomes shoppers. Designed by Prada’s official architect, Italian Roberto Baciocchi, the aesthetic of the store rewards even the window shopper – no purchase necessary. Although, if you have R20 000 spare you’re likely to walk out with a new purse and a belt and maybe some change, but for a tailored dress you’ll have to find a few extra coins in your cubbyhole.
But then again, the matriarch of the brand Miuccia Prada has repeatedly said her brand is “not for the bourgeoisie”. An accurate, yet strange statement coming from the designer who used to be a member of the communist party in Italy before joining the family business. However, if you’re a fashion lover, once you gaze upon the designs of this illustrious fashion house, you’re likely to feel eternally grateful for the designer’s abandoned political ambitions.
Did you know? Founded in 1913, the brand originally sold only leather goods before branching out under the guidance of Miuccia Prada.
DOLCE & GABBANA
What began as a leotard line in 1988 is now a global luxury empire loyal to its origins in the Mediterranean island of Sicily. The story goes that Domenico Dolce’s love of cakes and all things sweet inspired him to plan a confectionary tour of Palermo, and while scoffing cannoli the pair spotted a poster of a woman with a shawl wrapped around her head. The duo were so intrigued by the photo that they tracked down the photographer and convinced him to shoot a campaign for them in Sicily. And so their unique and much-loved Sicilian brand perspective was born and with it a global empire. The Sandton store is a sensory treat – rich, vibrant colours and touch-me velvets – the perfect home for the beautiful designer threads that await their new owners.
Style over comfort, people! Despite the sweaty summers we experience here in South Africa, the store’s in-house stylists are dressed in perfectly tailored suits made of 100% wool.
Once hidden in a quiet passage off Nelson Mandela Square, the newly re-launched Gucci store in the Diamond Walk is double the size of the previous store. A one-stop luxury shop for both men’s and the women’s collections, including the coveted ready-to-wear ranges and accessories, the new expanded Gucci store is indicative of the growing luxury market in South Africa.
One of the biggest-selling Italian brands in the world, the iconic double-G logo is synonymous with classic luxury and tailoring. The creation of an immigrant hotel worker, Guccio Gucci, the range was originally inspired by the refined style of the English nobility who used to frequent the Savoy Hotel where Guccio worked.
What’s more exclusive than a Gucci handbag? A made to order Gucci handbag: “the service provides for customizable options with finishes and details and includes not only the New Bamboo but also the New Jackie and the Stirrup bags.”
One of the most recognizable names in the fashion world, Giorgio Armani built a global fashion empire on the foundation of casual luxury. Debuting in 1975, the brand stood apart from competitors with its “I just threw this on” comfort blended with classic Italian tailoring.
Raking in $1 million in sales in its first year, today the brand remains unique in its resistance to the trend of consolidating the luxury goods industry. Giorgio Armani, the namesake, remains the brand’s sole shareholder, managing director and chairman of the board.
Not content to just wear Armani? The Armani empire extends to include hotels in Dubai and Milan. Add this to your bucket list! The Presidential Suite in the Milan hotel totals a spacious 200sqm with floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking the city.
Dating back to 1856, Burberry was founded by 21 year-old dressmaker Thomas Burberry. Fast-forward over a hundred years to today, and the brand’s distinctive tartan pattern is one of the most copied trademarks in the world. The brand’s iconic trenchcoat remains a fashion classic, loved for its subtle yet distinctive style that has changed little since it was first designed by founder Thomas Burberry.
The Sandton store is, in fact, the second store in Joburg, the first store located in Hyde Park Corner only 6km away. Although the trench coat is the most well-known creation of the brand, be sure to browse the latest scarf collection at the new store. Seriously! Made from a blend of cashmere and silk, the scarves are a piece of everyday luxury sure to upgrade any outfit – weather permitting.
Did you know? Burberry has three sub-brands and offers eight different styles of checks with over 500 stores worldwide.
With the passing of time, some mistakes are revealed to be serendipitous happenstance. Such is the case when reflecting on the spelling error that birthed a shoe brand loved by fashionistas the world over. Born into the Chow family, a spelling mistake on Jimmy’s birth certificate penned the beginning of a global shoemaking empire. While Jimmy’s surname differs from his family’s, his talents are clearly inherited. Born into a long line of shoemakers, Jimmy learned to make his first shoe before his twelfth birthday.
Today, the brand is associated with feminine glamour, immortalized in its leading role in Sex and the City and worn by everyone from Halle Berry to Madonna. The Jimmy Choo catalogue now includes a men’s collection, accessories and handbags.
Although Jimmy Choo sold his eponymous share in the shoe brand in 2001, he can be found, by appointment only, in London.
ARQUE CHAMPAGNE CRESCENT
Described as “South Africa’s leading champagne stockist”, Arque Champagne Crescent is the perfect spot to celebrate your latest fashion purchases with a bottle of the good stuff. Forget stargazing, drink the stars instead, or at least find out if there’s any truth to Dom Perignon’s words “Come quickly, I’m tasting the stars” when he first sipped champagne.
Feeling peckish and decadent? The menu also includes extravagant meals, with 50 grams of caviar costing just shy of R5 000.
Is there a more recognisable monogram in the fashion world? With just two letters, “LV”, one of the most coveted and copied fashion brands has been elevated to the echelons of fashion royalty. First launched in France in 1854, today Louis Vuitton is the distinct fusion of modern excess and refined Parisian style.
A Louis Vuitton store was already in Sandton City prior to the launch of the Diamond Walk, trading in South Africa for the past eleven years. With the new luxury corridor, the French brand re-launched the store, doubling the size and adding an extended collection, including jewellery and watches.
Think you can top the “LV” monogram? Personalise your leather purchase with your very own monogram with the in-store personalisation service.
Note: Tods and Billionaire Italian Couture were not yet opened at the time this article was written.