We are proud to announce that Meryanne’s boutique is coming back, opening with a flourish on the 15th of December! This new edition resonates with the inspired creativity that Meryanne has brought to Marrakech over the last 28 years. She first came to Morocco in 1985 to design a house for her mother in the Marrakech Palmeraie, the chic oasis neighborhood outside the walls of the historic Medina. This architectural delight was met with such intense media coverage in international design magazines that the Parisian lawyer gave in to temptation, switched careers and threw herself heart and soul into her lifelong passion for design and architecture. This set her on a path to become a pioneer in establishing exclusive luxury villas, restoring riads and creating boutique hotels in Marrakech, merging exceptional private accommodation with cultural and culinary experiences.
Growing up at Jnane Tamsna had its perks. As a kid, I’d go on lengthy bike rides through the palm grove accompanied by my trusty dogs to discover our surroundings. But I did not even have to leave our property to expand my horizons. When I was in the 4th grade, I would run up the stairs of the Moussafir Pavillion as soon as I got back from school. Once at the top, I’d look down from the rooftop terrace into the garden, where painter Phillipe Deltour would be crouched over a large canvas spread out on the ground. At that time, the Belgian artist was using charcoal to draw on recycled cement bag paper. Having always had a passion for art, I just loved being perched on the roof watching him work until the sun went down.
Though our calm haven in the Marrakech Palmeraie is the only place we would chose to live in Morocco, weekend escapades are always a breath of fresh air. The last couple times we ventured to Casablanca, we visited its most famous monument: the Hassan II Mosque. Built in celebration of the former king's 60th birthday and opened in 1993, it rises high above the Atlantic coast, embodying the Koranic verse stating that God's throne was built upon the water. It can hold up to 25,000 worshippers inside and has space for 80,000 more in its courtyards and squares. Designed by French architect Michel Pinseau, its minaret is 210m-tall. Though the monument’s design stays true to Islamic tradition, a laser beam shines from the top towards Mecca at night, exemplifying Morocco’s move towards modernity. I took great pleasure in photographing the traditional woodcarving, zellij (tile work) and stucco moulding.
Exploring the Marrakech Medina never gets old for me, and wandering the streets of the vibrant souks with my motherMeryanne is my favorite way to re-discover my city. On our last trip to the Place des Ferblantiers, not far from the better-known Jemaa El Fna Square, we came across a hip new store called Mini Boutique.
I have always been a fan of vintage stores, because for me there is nothing more elegant and feminine than fifties fashion. My mother, my aunts and their friends looked like Hollywood stars with their fabulous dresses, skirts and tops. When I was a broke New Yorker in the early eighties, working hard and partying like there was no tomorrow, I discovered vintage stores, which allowed me to have the most diverse and elegant wardrobe with amazing cocktail dresses for only $20.
When I found out there was a vintage store opening new options for shopping in Marrakech, I was thrilled. Topolina has breathtaking clothes, with custom-made fur coats, dresses, hats, clutches and shoes. Isabelle, the owner, also uses unique hand dyed fabrics from the Sahara and makes wax fabric coats, as pictured here. Marrakech caftans are known to be some of the best, but once you've picked up one or two, stopping by Topolina is a must. The shop is full of charm, with skilled Moroccan embroiderers working in front of you. She has an eclectic, bohemian chic vintage apartment above the store where she lives. She is opening a new location for the summer in Tangiers. Get ready to shop!
Two years ago, Dr. Christian Kurtzke, CEO of the world famous china brand Meissen, asked me to design a collection. The request surprised me, as I had never designed tableware before. Prior to answering, I went to the beautiful Dresden Museum in Saxony to understand if there could be a link between Marrakech and Meissen.
This afternoon I went to the medina, the historic center of Marrakech. I was looking for some inspiration and possible props for a coming photographic shoot at Jnane Tamsna of the Meissen china I designed, called ‘Garden of Marrakech’.
A few yards from Bab Laksour, I happened upon a half-opened door, revealing a courtyard of white marble. I ventured in and discovered a surprisingly large riad – one of the interior courtyard houses typical of the medina. Enquiring further, I learned this beautifully designed space will host Marrakech’s first stylish Spanish restaurant, a guesthouse of 13 bedrooms, and an underground spa in tones of gold and white.
I love it that even during a global economic crisis, Marrakech continues to burgeon with projects, ideas and diversity. When I first stepped foot here 27 years ago, I thought, ‘if I am mad about this place, other people will be too’. Every day I am thrilled to realize it is true.
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