To say Jackie Burger and I come a long way is an understatement. When I first discovered her in a copy of Elle my mother had bought, I became obsessed with her – the very personification of sophistication and elegance. I made it my mission to get to know her. Many years later – and with a good deal of stalking – my wish finally came true.

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Today, Jackie is one of my dearest friends and most treasured collaborators. So, when she approached me with her idea for TRACE, I jumped at the chance of working with her again.

TRACE explored the idea that we can’t create a future without knowing our past, so we dug deep to trace the memories and experiences that have brought us to where we are today.

Something both of us really wanted to incorporate into the event was a French inspired market. As Jackie observed, we both grew up in Afrikaans farming communities, “Pushed against boundaries as young adults and found part of ourselves in France.” My entry point was always food, where for Jackie, it was all fashion.

The market stalls sold products we both love and enjoy; vintage finds by Plan B Vintage, notebooks and cushions by Masquerade, homeware by Jan, blooms by Blomboy, candles and skincare by Africology, artworks by Lucie de Moyencourt, artisanal bread by Schoon de Companje and Clemengold craft gin.

As our 180 guests made their way to a gorgeous, 50m-long table of 1000 glittering candles – offset by shafts of light beaming in from cracks in the dilapidated Old Tannery building – they passed through a sensory installation of the touches, smells and textures that inspire us most. Clove my most loved scent and Neroli, Jackie's favourite. 


Upon arrival at the table, they found the seats turned outward. As haunting extracts from the film works of composers, Philip Glass and Clint Mansell, filled the industrial space, models floated by in trans-generational classics that took us back to bygone eras while at the same time offering a glimpse into the future.

Turning their seats inward, our guests experienced something of my new dining concept, Maria, inspired by my grandmother. Around a table echoing Maria’s all-white interiors, we served our guests my version of Sago pudding with cream, hibiscus and meringue with a glass of  Pierre Jourdan Ratafia.


As the curtain came down on our showcase of heritage and the sun began to set on the breathtaking mountains surrounding Wellington, we relaxed, closing the evening off with Graham Beck MCC and conversations that took us deep into the night.


Photos by Daniela Zondagh