For the past few years, Knysna shoppers in-the-know have been quietly pulling their cars up outside 5 Faure Street, Westhill, knocking on the white door of the house there, and leaving hours later, their arms loaded with bags of silk scarves, Topshop and Zara frocks, the floatiest of kaftans straight from Delhi, and locally made gems that are otherwise hard to find. Having been one of the first to be inducted into this secret circle of covetous shoppers, I now begrudgingly share the secrets of the loot with you.
The Spice Studio, run by fabulous local madam, Teresa Dalton, is the Garden Route’s best-kept shopping secret. Teresa and her equally vivacious daughter, Tammy Walker, are close friends of my mom and I, and style sisters second to none. They share our passion for one-off beauties, vintage mania and flamboyant anything. And I have never met a mother and daughter with more natural taste and style than these blonde go-to-girls.
Sourced directly from a contact in Delhi, Teresa’s Spice Studio is an ornate sanctuary filled to the brim with things to look at. All artfully displayed in typical Teresa style, you’ll find ruffled silk Topshop skirts, Antik Batik beauties, Zara must-haves and Tammy’s own range of skirts, dresses, belts, jewels and headbands, Dollhouse. I personally own quite a few of Tam’s over-the-top, handmade pieces, and the best thing about them is that they are truly unique and always guaranteed to inspire compliments and/or envy.
Teresa only gets a few sizes of each piece with the aim being to produce a really exclusive shopping experience. With her great eye for detail and colour, she also knows exactly what will suit each person that visits her studio and has a knack for pairing things that makes you want to leave with half the shop. Which you often do, because the prices are excellent. Silk Topshop dresses and skirts, authentic Indian silk kaftans and other beautiful one-offs start at around R 200, which means you really can afford to do a good wardrobe top up with Terese.
Whenever I am in Knysna my first stop is 5 Faure Street, and Teresa often gives my mom and I a first peek when she receives a new stash of gorgeous goods. So far this holiday I’ve bought a dove grey polka dot Topshop tutu, a cream embroidered blouse and the lushest of fuschia velvet rosettes.
Tammy is the little blonde maverick behind some of The Spice Studio’s most beautiful items. A LISOF graduate, Tam is also a freelance stylist, fashion editor of G-Tribe magazine and owner/designer of her luscious label, Dollhouse. She runs her business from her studio space at Joburg’s trendy 44 Stanley Avenue, where she lets out space to other up and coming designers. She has also just been asked to take up a position at LISOF teaching fashion design, which she will happily slot into her busy and glamorous schedule as of 2011. Tam has inherited Teresa’s incredible eye for the beautiful and the dramatic, and she and I have lots to natter about. In the new year Tam and I have plans to collaborate on a few special little projects and I can’t wait to get started.
A stroll through Teresa’s home gives you a good idea for just how important aesthetics are to her. Heirlooms and kitsch collectibles sit side by side, all lovingly embellished with Teresa’s trademark touch. The dressing room at The Spice Studio is also home to Terese’s collection of rescued bits and pieces – broken floral tea cups, pieces of jewels, ancient dolls, ceramics and shells – all of which find their way into her home. Hand mosaiced mirrors and embellished vases are verdant examples of Teresa’s touch. Between her and Tammy, everything they touch becomes beautiful – blooming with blossoms, jewel-encrusted and eclectic.
When you’re next in Knysna, do yourself a favour and pop in at The Spice Studio.
Call Teresa on 082 850 4874 to set up a time to go browse, and go armed with cash. Because you won’t be leaving empty handed.