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Mixology (31)

Tom Mora, the designer behind J.Crew’s womenswear for the Winter 2014-2015 collection, was inspired by Berlin’s Weimar Republic of the 1920 and 1930’s. Think cabarets, coffee shops, Dada-ism, red lips, drop waists, trousers, short hair and Bauhaus-styles. This period is frequently cited as one of those with the highest level of intellectual production in human history; hello Einstein.

MIXOLOGY31_JCrew_Winter and Fall 2014

This Outfit:  J. Crew Women’s Fall-Winter 2014-2015 is slightly masculine and geometric, yet keeps it girly with tinges of burgundy, blue, navy, camel and pale pink.  // That Room:   A patterned bedroom from Better Homes & Gardens is not afraid to mix things stripes with wide strips, floral with geometry, and wicker with fabric. The patterns all mesh because they follow a specific color scheme. A lesson for interiors and clothing!

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Continuing my J.Crew obsession, let’s rewind to Spring 2014’s Ready-to-Wear collection that included unfussy uniforms inspired by a laid-back surfer culture.  The palette is overtly minimal: black, white, and a punch of orange. The orange brings the summer, the sun, and the light. The fabrics are cut structurally and yet remain casual and crisp. The designer explained that the theme of summer on the Venice Lido, circa the turn of the twentieth century informed much of his thinking. “Back then, going to the beach meant dressing up,” he pointed out. “It was very polished.”

J.Crew Spring 2013 Ready to Wear

This Outfit:  Look 20 from the Spring 2014 collection reminds me of what a business woman would wear to a meeting on the Italian Riviera during the height of a heatwave. The chandelier, jeweled earrings bring sophistication. But, overall the shape remains boxy with geometry pervading the shirt, the shoes, and even lining of the shorts.  // That Room:  A daring black and white striped rug centers an otherwise stark and achromatic room. The bold pillows, side stool, and wall hanging bring life the room by adding electric orange. Photograph from Bo Bedre (Live Better), a Danish magazine, that creates dreams for the Scandinavian lifestyle.

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Continuing our time travels, the J. Crew Fall 2013 collection paid homage to opulent Morocco. The rich embellishments, heavy fabrics and deep hues conveyed a sense of North African royalty. The colors – burgundies and palatinates – played nice with the arabesques.  All looks were topped off with jewel details, glittery brocade and jacquard. Luxurious yet, sporty.
JCrew Fall 2013 Ready to Wear and Moroccan Interior Design
 
This Outfit: Look 14 from Fall 2013 combines the texture of a Kilim rug with a jacket. The moorish trellis (quatrefoil) pattern pervades the oxblood, silk shirt. The look remains athletic with tracksuit piping. The model’s vintage-inspired sunglasses are the colors of Moroccan sands.  //  That Room: A fashion designer’s oasis blends tribal artifacts with exuberant color. Liza Bruce and artist Nicholas Alvis Vega’s home near Marrakech features a 1940’s Yoruba armchair,  a carved-wood chair from Ethiopia, jewel tones, and a variety of West African accessories. The guest room, as photographed by Simin Upton for Elle Decor, features a Tuareg bed with pillows covered in silk from Uzbekistan.
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La Noche de Novia

La Noche de Novia, also referred to as a Berberisca, Soirée du Henné, Noche de Paños or Lilat el Henna, is a traditional Moroccan Jewish ceremony that takes place during the week that precedes a wedding. The bride makes her entrance, magnificently made up and dressed in the Berberisca gown called ‘Traje de paños’, “Vestido de Berberisca” (Spanish), or “Keswa Elkibra” (Great Dress in Arabic). The costume is made of velvet, richly ornate and embroidered in gold thread. The family of the groom and bride, accompanied by close friends, gather to sing and to praise the bride. The tradition is 2,000 years old.

The ceremony has been famously depicted by many artists including Jean Bescancenot, Charles-Emile Vernet-Lecomte, Alfred Dehodencq, Camille Corot, and Fernand Georges Ducatillion. Most notably, the dress was recorded in several paintings and sketches by Eugene Delacroix, the master of the French Romantic school.

My husband’s family was expelled from Spain in 1492. After the expulsion, following the inquisition, the family traveled to Safed, Israel; Thessaloniki, Greece; and Meknes, Morocco. They finally arrived in Fez, Morocco, during the 16th century and in the mid-19th century, they moved to Tangier.

La Noche de Novia Toledano

La Noche de Novia Toledano

I was lucky enough to have a Noche de Novia of my own. The special day was filled with joy, singing and laughter – not to mention alcohol and delicious food. Getting dressed for the reception took over an hour and gave me insight into the preparations such a special day must of taken in antiquity. There are dozens of pieces of the costume, each with a specific meaning, order and purpose – a belt (golel), headpiece (jemar), the jacket, the bodice, the laced sleeves (kmam) and more. Some of the items even have a superstitious and mystical connection to luck, fertility, and love.

La Noche de Novia Toledano

La Noche de Novia Toledano

La Noche de Novia Toledano

My dress came from overseas in Madrid, Spain. It had previously been worn by my husband’s mother and many of his cousins. I felt deeply honored to continue this tradition; especially to follow in the footsteps of many women who I respect. The beautiful ritual originates in the Sephardi Jewish Communities of Northern Morocco and its surroundings; in cities such as Tangiers, Gibraltar and especially Tetuán, which was also called “Yerushalayim Haketana”, the “Little Jerusalem”.

This ceremony is known in most Jewish communities as the “Hina”, a name that symbolizes the three Mitzvot specific to the Jewish woman: Halla, Nida, VeHadlakat HaNerot. Briefly, these actions mean lighting the candles, separating portions of dough for the creation of Challah (bread), and ritual bathing and cleanliness.

La Noche de Novia Toledano

La Noche de Novia Toledano

Aunts, cousins, friends, and other females related to the bride help her to get ready for her presentation. Each detail is just so – every pin, bobby pin and tassle is fussed with. More than anything, this time was for the bride to get to know her new family without her husband-to-be. This was a private time just for women.

La Noche de Novia Toledano

La Noche de Novia Toledano

I adjust the headpiece so that it is just so. The necklaces are from an aunt in Paris, France, and the Moroccan earrings are from a family friend. The bracelet I am wearing is from my husband’s mom. In this way, I wear pieces of important women in the family. The international family, and the continuation of such “seemingly-antiquated” traditions is beautiful.

La Noche de Novia Toledano

The Puntaktel is worn under the Gonbaiz and as a close fitting breastplate made of heavily embroidered velvet. The Hezam is a velvet and silk sash with ornate golden embroidered. It is wrapped around the bride’s waist several times.

La Noche de Novia Toledano

La Noche de Novia Toledano

Truly, a sign of the diaspora, I am happy to carry on traditions of a family who has been moved throughout the world often, whether due to persecution or economic need, and in each place picking up local customs and making them unique.

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Arabian Nights

My fiance’s family is Moroccan by way of Spain. Originally from Toledo, Spain, the family was expelled in 1492 following the inquisition. After the expulsion, they migrated to Safed, Salonika, and Morocco. Eventually, they arrived in Fez, Morocco, during the 16th century from Salonika, and from there went to Meknes. In the mid-19th century, the family moved to Tangier, where they became leaders of the community.

Tangier lies on the Northern tip of Africa and is known internationally as a city of multicultural assimilation – notably of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish communities. In the 20th century, playwright Tennessee Williams, the beat writers William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, the painter Brion Gysin and the music group the Rolling Stones, have all visited, cited and stayed in this white city between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.

Maroc Fashion

1. Yves Saint Laurent – Rouge Volupte Perle Silky Sensual Radiant Lipstick  // 2. REN Moroccan Rose Otto Bath Oil 4.08 oz. // 3. Isabel Marant – Gregoire Striped Embroidered Jean in White, Floral, Blue // 4. Jules Smith – Tangier Hoops in Yellow Gold // 5. Spadaro – ‘Doux Amour’ Eau de Parfum // 6. Cynthia Vincent – Morocco Slipper // 7. Theodora & Callum – Red Multi Luxor Tie All Scarf // 8. Elizabeth and James – Henna Chiffon Blouse // 9.  Arhaus Jewels – Arabian Nights Bracelet

Maroc Interior Design and Furniture

1. Le Souk Ceramique – Cookable Tagine Mustard // 2. Currey & Company –  Casablanca Occasional Table // 3. Votivo Candle – Moroccan Fig, 6.8 oz. // 4.  Hooker Furniture – Casablanca Dining Arm Chair  // 5. Furbish Studio – Morocco Cocktail Napkins // 6.  A Month In Marrakesh: Recipes From The Heart Of Morocco – Coffee Table Book // 7. Amrita Singh – Casablanca Lantern // 8. Trina Turk Bedding, Tangier Stripe –  Decorative Pillow // 9. Blissliving Home – Casablanca Pillow 

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