12 March 2012

Sartorial Splendour in Morocco

London, Paris, New York, Milan; the four big fashion cities, the locations where the collections for each new season are shown and the birthplaces of several huge style movements. As undeniable as these fashion honeypots are, we like to look outside the box, so we’ve teamed up with independent fashion boutique Farfetch for today’s Daily Pinch. We’re looking outside the big four to a destination that has been similarly influential on the industry, a country that has influenced many designers, shaped trends and generally had a mass impact on the sartorial landscape. We’re talking about Morocco, of course.

Morocco will forever be one of fashion’s most significant locations because of its association with the iconic Yves Saint Laurent. Laurent may have lived in Paris and been born in Algeria, but it is said that Morocco was his true love. After his first visit in 1966 he racked up several properties there, including the famous Valley of the Fruits house, and began collecting all kinds of objects from the North African country.

Saint Laurent was a designer who had several very famous aesthetic incarnations, and one of these was his Moroccan look at the turn of the Sixties into the Seventies, when he was beginning to spend lots of time there, falling in love with the scenery and the atmosphere.

Consequently some of his most influential shows around that time heavily referenced Morocco, with their vivid colours and loose, billowing shapes.

It was also there where he met one of his muses, the ill-fated and impossibly beautiful Talitha Getty (supposedly the only woman Rudolf Nureyev was ever attracted to). Her opulent Moroccan palace, which she shared with her oil heir husband was the setting for some of the decade’s most raucous parties – the likes of Marianne Faithfull and Mick Jagger would flock to them, charmed by the couple’s bohemian lifestyle. Getty was a style icon who came to be the blueprint for what we consider hippy luxe – to the inner fashion world if not the general public (a lot of whom would incorrectly cite Sienna Miller, who was at least thirty years behind Getty in popularising the look). The most famous image of her, shot by Patrick Lichfield, shows her as an enigmatic but alluring figure crouched on her roof in Marrakech, clad in white pantaloons and decadent, colourful kaftan, her husband casually looming in the background, and is considered culturally significant to the point that it resides in London’s National Gallery.

Marrakesh is also notable in having spawned its very own colour – Majorelle blue. It was named after the French artist Jacques Majorelle, who in 1924 constructed the famous Majorelle Gardens, and painted everything from the walls, the fountains and the adjoining villa the same local shade of intense and vibrant blue. It’s a hue that somehow manages to combine a warmth and freshness, something which the likes of Proenza Schouler and Jonathan Saunders have put to good use, using it for several pieces in their Spring/Summer ’12 collections.

If you’re interested in exploring Morocco’s sartorial flare, then make it happen with bespoke travel experts, Black Tomato.

Black Tomato has teamed up with Farfetch.com to create GLOBETROTTER, a pop-up travel boutique including six limited edition trips all inspired by fashion. To celebrate the launch of the boutique, there’s a seven-day luxury trip to Morocco up for grabs.

To enter, visit http://www.facebook.com/blacktomato

Words by Hollie Moat, editor, Farfetch.com

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