Wedding glamour madness in Marrakech
Unless you’ve been on Mars for the past couple of weeks, you’ll probably have noticed that the glamour stakes have been well and truly turned up to ten here in Marrakech.
British socialite and model Poppy Delevingne may have married in London recently, but that wasn’t to stop her having another bash, to celebrate her marriage to James Cook, this time in Marrakech. The wedding extravaganza meant a completely star-studded guest list, featuring some of the biggest names in British fashion. Amongst the A-list was Princess Beatrice, Sienna Miller, Georgia May Jagger, Alexa Chung and Dynasty icon Joan Collins.
We thought of all the online photo spreads, Grazia magazine did it best, have a look here (warning with such beautiful styles on show, this link may send your credit card into meltdown in the souks!): www.graziadaily.co.uk/fashion/news/poppy-delevingne-wedding-marrakesh
Get lost! in Marrakesh
To get lost in a foreign city is a fear that many of us have, but putting away the map can be just the thing for adventure. The souks of Marrakech are – we promise – a great place to get lost in.
So, what to expect?
Well, cast adrift in the maze of the medina, carts will trundle past you, laden with oranges and timber. You’ll see hawkers selling piles of eggs, fruit of all colours and fresh herbs. You’ll spot ancient weavers working at looms. The smell of delicious freshly baked ‘khoubz’ (bread) will waft over you.
You’ll pass brightly coloured apothecaries, where inside, hundreds of glass jars containing everything from pickled birds and crystals to ras el hanout and saffron will be for sale. You’ll be invited in for tea. You’ll have offers of guidance and you’ll certainly pass plenty of shady cafes to cool off in with a Casablanca beer or some mint tea.
See, doesn’t sound too bad does it? Chances are, after getting lost in the souks, you will return with a dozen travel tales, a handful of souvenirs and a camera full of photos.
This recent article on the Huffington Post website, inspired us to write this blog post, they agree that getting lost isn’t so bad!
Photography in the souks of Marrakech
Marrakech brings out the photographer in most of us. The light, the colours, the costumes and the winding souks all present incredible opportunities for travel photography. Even if you’re not normally one for taking holiday snaps, you will almost certainly regret not bringing a camera along with you to Marrakech.
There are plenty of tips online about how to take good photos, but these ones specifically address travel photography.
Take a look and learn some new tips:
Conde Nast Traveler: http://www.cntraveler.com/daily-traveler/2013/10/how-to-take-better-pictures-travel-photography-tips
Wanderlust magazine: http://www.wanderlust.co.uk/misc/take-better-travel-photos
Or, if you’d rather watch a pro in action in the souks, check out this video called ‘Mystical Marrakech Street Photography’ by the multi-talented Zack Arias: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpYfhqfWcu8&app=desktop
Lastly, we recently unearthed this wonderful compilation of Marrakech street photography – ample inspiration for you to dust of your camera! http://www.projectbly.com/destinations/marrakech/souks
Marrakech / Morocco with kids
Bright, sunny, colourful and endlessly fascinating, it’s no wonder that children love Marrakech for many of the same reasons we do.
We stumbled upon this great online article in the week: http://ciaobambino.com/morocco-with-kids-marrakech-with-kids/ which succinctly explains how best to experience Marrakech with little-ones in-tow.
As well as mentioning the more typical things to do – like the Jemaa el-Fna’ – the site, Ciao Bambino, also suggests taking a horse and cart ride around the city, visiting the Koutoubia Mosque (and also letting ‘the kids have more of a run around in the Cyber Park’ nearby). We also liked that at the entrance to the synagogue in the Jewish quarter – the family spotted a family of tortoises, confirming that there is always a surprise around the corner in Marrakech!
We also agree with their tips on where to eat in Marrakech – ‘Le Fondouk for a real Moroccan feast in traditional family-friendly surroundings’ and Chez Ouazzani on Rue Ibn Aïcha ‘for BBQ meats.’ This website is a decent starting point for families planning a visit to the city.
New species discovered
Our blog usually covers art, fashion, jewellery, dining out and various other cultural activities that our guests enjoy so much. This week however, we bring you news of an exciting, but all together more down-to-earth, discovery. Newspapers reported last week that a brand new species has been discovered in Morocco – the curiously named ‘flic flac’ spider.
Found in south-eastern Morocco, not far from the Algerian border, this little arachnid caught our eye as he is quite unique in the insect world. To get around the Sahara this spider propels itself along by is its ability to move by means of flic-flac jumps. It literally cartwheels across the sand and is believed to be the only spider in the world to move this way. An acrobatic little fellow!
What started as news in a specialist scientific journal soon became news elsewhere and he got a write-up in the International New York Times. Here is a video of Morocco’s most famous spider, doing his thing across the dunes: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/06/science/a-desert-spider-with-astonishing-moves.html?_r=0
Morocco is awash with artistic talent. At home – and abroad – there are hundreds of excellent Moroccan artists working in various fields. One such artist that we’ve been keeping an eye on for some time now is the French Moroccan artist Yasmina Alaoui who works with her Chilean photographer partner Marco Guerra. Together, they combine their artistic talents to craft haunting and mesmerising works of art.
Born in 1977, Alaoui spent her childhood in France and Morocco, eventually studying at the Ecole Du Louvre in Paris. Guerra, was born in Chile in 1965, is a fashion photographer, whose work has appeared in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Conde Nast Traveller, as well as famous fashion brands such as Levi’s and Ralph Lauren. Their work is like nothing we’ve ever seen, although we can certainly see the Moroccan influences and colours.
Their work can be viewed here (warning contains some nudity!): http://www.operagallery.com/media/132.pdf
We just have to tell you about Marrakech-based Algerian-French fashion designer Norya Nemiche, otherwise known as Ayron. Her collection, which includes abayas and coats, is beautifully colourful and exudes the exoticism of Marrakech. The kaftans made of delicate transparent muslin are perfect for lounging around the pool, or layered up for outside.
We especially admire her popular kari dress, which is a chic floor-length gown pulled in at the back to give it plenty of shape. These are special, one-off pieces that have been hand-made in the Medina.
You can see her work at Le Jardin where within the building she has her Pop-up Shop. Drawing celebrities like Sharon Stone, Maggie Gyllenhaal and the rapper Mos Def this is definitely one of the hottest shops around. Ayron has been in Marrakech for 12 years now, and her cooperation with local artisans and fabric designers is clear to see in the beautiful clothes she crafts. She does not have her own workshop, instead she prefers to work with other creative people in the medina. We admire her style and her work ethic!
You can shop online, here: www.norya-ayron.com
Our blog post this week comes from Paris and specifically from the Fondation Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent where until July 20, the exhibition Berber Women of Morocco will be showing. The exhibition is divided into three spaces focusing on the following topics: Portrait of the Berber Women of Morocco, Skills and Craftsmanship and Traditional Clothing and Adornment.
Within these three spaces, amongst other beautiful things, are: headdresses of Berber brides, multiple silver chains, fertility beads and Tagmout enamelled silver balls.
There are no formal clothes on display – the Berbers wear large pieces of cloth held together by jewellery – but instead the curator Bjorn Dahlstrom has projected images of these onto flat screens.
The accompanying book, published by Artlys (192 pages), explains how these ornate pieces not only symbolise Berber identity but how they also reveal the strength of the women within her community.
This travelling exhibition will next travel to Bahrain before moving closer to home to Rabat.
You can see some of the displays, online here: www.fondation-pb-ysl.net