Shopping: Fashion gem Fantasia is on the move

Glad tidings for fashion fans – Fantasia is opening on Rose Crescent

Fantasia will open at 16 Rose Crescent, Cambridge, on 3 September (41414521)
Fantasia will open at 16 Rose Crescent, Cambridge, on 3 September (41414521)

Anyone who has visited the wondrously exotic and eclectic boutique, Fantasia on Mill Road, Cambridge, will be familiar with its treasure trove of delights. So, prepare to be giddy with excitement to learn that Fantasia is opening on Rose Crescent, in the heart of the city centre.

“Fantasia has been an autobiographical – one might even say, narcissistic – project, since it started in a tiny shop at Hope Street Yard as a way to sell off my mother’s hoarded items from our days in Japan in the 1950s,” says Pam Wesson, the talent behind Fantasia, which opens its Rose Crescent doors on September 3. “I added clothes I’d collected from years living in France and travelling in Europe and going to local auctions. It was always ‘all about me’; a spot of self-indulgent fun that paid for itself and bit more.”

Pam’s eye for design and love of fashion attracted customers from far and wide and led to her popping-up on the Mill Street as her stock and reputation expanded. “When I needed to spread my wings, I chatted to Mill Road trader friends, and they found me my first pop-up landlord at no. 56; when he renovated, they found me my second pop-up at no. 64, and the years passed by. I hoarded more stuff, accumulated co-sharers like Chris Free, Susan Dix and Sam Barker, took on some help at lunchtimes, and attracted more and more customers – luckily.”

When Pam started feeling the urge to expand further, she had a chat with a chap at Bidwells who had contacted her earlier this year about a city centre property. “He called me with an offer I’d never have dreamed of pursuing – a lovely bijoux shop on Rose Crescent that I could not normally afford, but with a pop-up deal I grabbed it right away. And then Covid struck and by dumb luck I had asked for our lease date to start on September 1.”

Despite challenging times, Pam is looking forward to the new location.

“Fantasia has always been about personal indulgence, whim, opportunism, experimentation and manageable risk, willingness to live with short-term premises, chatting to people, and the loyalty of friends,” says Pam. “It’s also been about defying conventional wisdom – expanding retail obligations in a post-pandemic economy… so a little foolhardy.

“The Mill Road shop has been transformed into Fantasia Fusion and will be managed by jewellery connoisseur Sam Barker. I’ve kept the back half of the shop to sell furniture, art and the more affordable clothing – all natural fibres, hardly any poly-anything. The fashionista labels and antique textiles and Japanese woodblock prints will shift ‘uptown’ to Fantasia Rose Crescent, where Chris and Dixie will join me with their top-tier goods. It’ll be a tight squeeze, but a fabulous new setting, and a whole new customer base to attract.”

Fantasia at 16 Rose Crescent, Cambridge, opens on September 3. See Facebook / PamsFantasia

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