01/10/2012 § 2 Comments
When the weather turns cooler, my wanderlust for warmer climates always picks up. I’ve frequently forgone the usual trip home for Thanksgiving in favor of a long international journey somewhere warm. Last year it was Argentina, two years before that I went to Egypt, and lately my mind has returned to North Africa. Morocco has officially made its way to the very top of my Desired Destination shortlist somehow, fueled at least in part by the images and inspiration I have been collecting on Pinterest.
My trip to the Maghreb probably isn’t all that far off with flights hovering around $1,000 and no annoying visa procedure for US citizens, but until that day comes, you can find me wandering among my pictures, wistfully wishing for the smell of fragrantly perfumed tobacco, oranges and coriander, the taste of mint tea and dates, the feel of crisp linen against my body and cool tiled floors beneath my feet, and the sound of the call to prayer at dawn and the souk at dusk.
Dying to stay at L’Heure Bleue hotel in Essaouira…gorgeous!
All images via Pinterest.
Quite Continental Desired Destinations
04/10/2011 § 1 Comment
The current “State of Man” issue of the Wall Street Journal Magazine has a fascinating article written by Tom Downey about Congolese dandies, or “Sapeurs.” In the two Congos, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its neighbor the Republic of the Congo, it is still a struggle for many to meet their own basic human needs. Violence is a daily part of life. Severe poverty is rampant. And yet, impossibly, there exists a small group of men who make it the main priority of their lives to outdo each other with exceedingly extravagant (and sometimes bordering on outlandish) suiting and accessories.
On their idiosyncratic and highly ritualized approach to their individual style:
The general rule for Brazza Sapes is said to be that they wear no more than three colors at a time. In fact what this seems to mean is three tones, not counting white. Pocket squares aren’t folded but stuffed in and left to spill out, rakishly. Patch pockets abound, an unconventional feature on most jackets. The outfits are dandyish, but they don’t come off as costumes. Some Sapes boast of their brands, especially their shoe brands, of which J.M. Weston, a fine and expensive French shoemaker, seems to be the most prominent. But most Sapes agree that brand isn’t everything—it’s about fit, confidence and, as Hassan Salvador tells me, art: “We need to paint with colors, patterns and textures,” he says. “All week I mull over the different possible combinations of jacket, trousers, pocket square, tie, tie pin, scarf, umbrella and suspenders before I actually put on the clothes.”
On how Congolese society perceives these men:
“The Sapeurs can only exist in peacetime,” Atipault told me. “To me they’re a sign of better things: stability, tranquility. They indicate that our nation is returning to normal life after years of civil war.”