Ok look, I hardly shop at Stuttafords but since they re-launched their Rosebank store, I’d buy a few cosmetics and briefs if I’m in the area.
Thabiso (the photographer) and I were a tad late so we decided to cut out the socializing and drive straight into work but that was not the case. First of all, not being on time means standing in the same line as all the other guests. That was not a problem though, we patiently stood in line.
The problem arises when journalists and photographers spend time in line trying to get inside the venue with all the pedestrian guests – who are essentially our audience. You end up overhearing conversations about who’s hot or not and that keeps us away from covering the red carpet rush. Regardless of the 20 minutes it took us to get in to the event, we refused to miss our opportunity to be a part of the red carpet action.
Making our way through the crowd, we sometimes had to push people due to how packed it was. But we didn’t forget our manners at the Live office – whenever the opportunity presented itself we did ask to be let through. The venue was bursting with so many people that every time we needed to take pictures of the relevant guests, we had to get people to move out the way. This was also due to the fact that the media stand situated at the red carpet was behind us. I mean literally behind us.
So… Every time we wanted to take a picture of someone we’d first have to push through crowd, run to the carpet, ask the randoms to move out of our shot and finally ask the people behind us to give us the space we needed before we could take our killer shots (no pun intended).
It wasn’t really the best experience for a journalist covering the red carpet BUT I’m not complaining. It gave me the chance to chill shoulder to shoulder with hotties like Shashi Naidoo, Zuraida Jardine and Sinazo Yolwa. Being surrounded by such beauty only happened because we had to line them up next to us for pictures since there was no space.
In the midst of all that drama, I heard a very familiar voice. The voice that fills the room whenever I prepare for work in the morning… Leanne Manas from Morning Live. She was the MC for the day and her voice just made it all better. Going through all that red carpet drama had me a little grumpy. Having the bar a few feet away meant having to contend with grown-ups being as noisy as teenagers in a classroom while Leanne spoke.
Being the professional that she is, she didn’t take any of that BS. Leanne managed to calm everyone down and grab their attention before introducing Stuttafords’ executive chairman, Hilton Her. He opened his speech by giving us some interesting facts about the shop. Like the fact that even though it remains one of the smallest in the country, they rebuilt it with the intention of making it look bigger when you’re inside. He wasted no time though. He ended off by thanking everyone who came and cut the ribbon to officially open the store.
We followed suit by clapping and smiling our way into the new-look Stuttafords. I immediately noticed that what he said was true; it looks small from the outside but when you walk in there is so much to do without even realising that you’ve been here that long. With over 150 brands in store, you can make your way there expecting to find anything from Tom Ford and Ted Baker to Versace too. The merchandise at this store is looking too nice.
Chicken kebabs served with some peanut butter dip… Whatchu know about that? Yeah, it sounds a little weird but if you tried it you’d understand how delicious it was. GQ writer Jordan Major agreed with me on this one. The cheesecake was also a winner but as far as food goes, that was it. Simply put, the rest of the food was just awful.
Fuelled up on food, we tried getting comments from some of the guests but all of them just jump at you when they hear the word “media.” In the end, we couldn’t really speak to anyone.
Based on the massive and excited crowd, I’m sure that Stuttaford’s will never have to worry about missing out on the flood of customers. As long as they maintain the new image and feed the masses that killer merchandise, Stuttafords Rosebank will stay winning.