It’s a question of style for Candice

Gill Eerenstein and Candice Ilic.

Candice Ilic is a Jane of all trades when it comes to fashion and retail.

From owning a retail store in the V&A Waterfront, to personal styling, personal shopping and jewellery design, Candice has worked her way well into the industry.

“I work with people who are feeling a bit lost in terms of their own image and style, and I work with people who have a defined style, but don’t have time to shop. So it’s helping a person define who they really are, and get their confidence out, and then I will shop with them, select their wardrobe and make it an interesting, well-rounded representation of themselves.”

Candice, who lives in Newlands, grew up in Johannesburg and Durban before moving to Cape Town when she was 18.

She opened a retail store at the V&A Waterfront, but after having her third baby, she left the retail world to spend time with her children.

“Wanting to expand my options, do something new and to meet people, I started personal styling. So I have been a personal stylist and personal shopper for the past eight years.”

She said branding has become a big deal, and personal brands are crucial. “For those who either don’t have the time because they are working too hard, or perhaps lost their confidence or women of a certain age who haven’t had time to keep up with things and trying to find their own identity, I work with them.

“For those who simply can’t shop, I will literally just go to the shops and bring them everything they need and they are sorted. What I’ve established with my clients is simplicity of dressing and their personal brand. They don’t need to overthink things. It just takes the stress out of presenting yourself.

“In today’s life, especially with the wealthy, they have someone to help them clean the house, they have a gardener, they have an interior decorator. I’m a professional shopper.”

And when clients call Candice to help with their wardrobe, her first point of call is the V&A Waterfront.

“The biggest shopping centre is Canal Walk, so there is more diversity, but in terms of upmarket stores, the Waterfront has got the best collection. You get the best products there. You get many stores at Canal Walk, but the primary selection of items is usually at the Waterfront.

“Essentially when any retailer comes into South Africa, they first consider Sandton City’s stock and then they will select the Waterfront stock.

“In Cape Town, the Waterfront will always get the exclusive stock. It’s the best place to go.”

Candice has also recently started a new venture – jewellery design.

The company called Verus Fine Jewellery, in partnership with her friend from Johannesburg, Gill Eerenstein, has recently found a space in the Cape Grace Hotel.

The new display is in line with Verus’s first birthday this month.

“The jewellery is proudly South African and hand-made. Our gold is 18 carat. Our diamonds are top-end and there is a special interest in raw diamonds. The influence is very Scandinavian.”

She said the new trend with jewellery is “fine” with delicate designs. Verus has some plans to develop abroad but in South Africa, Candice has a feeling that their market will be in Cape Town because of the tourists.

“I love the fact that I’ve just got a space in the Cape Grace Hotel. It is one of the strongest hotels in the country.”

Asked about the type of style found in the city centre, Candice said that Cape Town has a “cosmopolitan, European influence”.

“If you compare it to Johannesburg, which is far more American, brand and bling, Cape Town’s got style. We have a more conservative spending power though.

“When I had a retail store we wanted to look at new trends, it was Cape Town that pulled the trends. The Waterfront will have a lot more of the Americanised influence compared to the city centre. I think the style here is authentic, and interesting.”

Candice said the best part of being a personal stylist is that people really become your friend.

“Once people have let you in so close, they have already made a decision to open up to you and I get to know them on a deeper level. This is why I like styling people and not shoots, because for me, it’s about the people. Yes the styling is wonderful, but I like connecting more.”