One look at her iconic line of carpets and textiles, and you can see the Moroccan inspiration behind Madeline Weinrib‘s work. The New York-based designer has been making annual pilgrimages to Marrakesh for nearly 20 years. Below, she presents her top recommendations for shopping and sustenance.
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PLACES TO SHOP
33 RUE MAJORELLE
Like a smaller version of the legendary Parisian boutique Colette, this open-concept shop just opposite the Majorelle Garden is stocked with an expertly curated collection of clothes, jewelry and art by local designers.
Located in the medina, or old city, this workshop and store is a social enterprise for handicapped women who are skilled in the art of embroidery. They sell exquisite, handmade linens for the home, as well as clothing.
EL FENN BOUTIQUE
With its impressive art collection and drop-dead gorgeous interiors, El Fenn, from Vanessa Branson, Virgin mogul Richard Branson’s sister, is one of the most stylish stays in the medina. Now, it features an adjoining boutique with an array of wonderful home goods, which can be shipped globally. I’ve collaborated with them on a collection of pillows, and all proceeds from sales benefit a foundation that teaches women to weave in the Atlas Mountains.
French owner Laetitia Trouillet crafts chic handbags–think studded leather clutches–and accessories at this boutique in the hip Gueliz district. Her bags, scarves and headbands make wonderful gifts for friends back home.
MAISON DU KAFTAN
Perhaps no article of clothing conjures images of Morocco quite like the free-flowing kaftan. Also located in the medina, this store is stocked with versions of the garment in all colors, styles and price ranges
PHOTOS: COURTESY MADELINE WEINRIB
PLACES TO EAT
Designed by Bill Willis, the late American architect and decorator who helped put Marrakesh on the style map, this dining spot serves a set menu amid dramatic decor. Plan ahead; reservations are a must.
With a modern menu that features fresh salads, Nomad is my favorite place for lunch in the medina. The cafe has a lovely terrace that overlooks “spice square,” where you can view all the exotic spice vendors. Bonus: They take craft cocktails seriously here.
This restaurant was once the home of French designer Pierre Balmain. I like to sit by the pool, but all the rooms are charming. There is a set menu with many courses of Moroccan food, so be prepared for a feast.
BELDI COUNTRY CLUB
If you need a peaceful respite from the commotion of the souk, you can’t beat this place for a leisurely swim or a spa treatment. Grab a French-style lunch by the pool–the salade nicoise is divine!
PHOTO: COURTESY MADELINE WEINRIB
Jasper Conran has designed women’s fashion, menswear, accessories and home goods, but he’s never attached his name and aesthetic to a hotel–until now.
L’Hotel Marrakech is the British designer’s first foray into luxury lodging. “Opening a hotel has brought together all that I enjoy working on the most: food, textiles, interiors and gardens,” he says. Located in a 19th-century riad (a traditional Moroccan dwelling with an interior courtyard) in the heart of the medina, the otherworldly retreat combines modern-day amenities with old-fashioned glamour.
“Marrakesh is a city of amazing contrasts where one can wander along dark alleys and emerge into exquisite gardens and beautiful courtyards,” he says. “I wanted to make L’Hotel Marrakech a comfortable home, where people feel immediately welcome and happy.”
PHOTO: COURTESY JASPER CONRAN LIMITED
A LA MODE
A half century ago, the desert city of Marrakesh cast a spell over fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, forever influencing his work. To honor that legacy, the long-awaited Musee Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech, designed by Studio KO, will open its doors in October. Located on the street bearing his name near the Jardin Marjorelle–the legendary garden that he and longtime partner Pierre Berge saved from development in 1980–the museum will feature permanent and rotating exhibitions as well as a library, cafÃ© and restaurant. “This city deeply influenced Yves’ life and work, particularly his discovery of color,” says Berge. “The Studio KO architects share this passion for Marrakesh and their clean, uncluttered style recalls his work.”
RUNWAY PHOTO: COURTESY FONDATION PIERRE BERGE AND YVES SAINT LAURENT
RENDERING COURTESY STUDIO KO
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