“We must never confuse elegance with snobbery” – Yves Saint Laurent.
Yves Saint Laurent spent his final years residing in Tangier, Morocco, at Villa Mabrouka (house of luck). He purchased the Villa in 1992 and worked with interior designer Jacques Grange on its decoration.
According to Grange: “It was based on the house of an eccentric Englishman who moved to Tangier in the 1950s. Yves wanted chintz, with each room a single colour – a blue room, a yellow room. It was like decorating a house for people out of a play by Tennessee Williams.”
With no art on the walls, or expensive items to show off, Villa Mabrouka, shows it’s elegance through Moroccan style archways and simplicity with a touch of style. This gave a boundless open feel, much like the feeling of Tangier.
Tangier can be described as a city with excessive elegance, but little snobbery. It is the opposite of snobby: gritty, but elegant at the same time. For this reason, many people seeking peace and inspiration have flocked here over the years. A lot ended up staying.
I experience the feeling every time I visit. For example, we spend a fair amount of the time sitting at cafes, over looking Europe from Africa. It’s not at an exclusive country club, but a simple cafe on the street. There will be a man from Europe, a man with no money, and the table next to him will be a millionaire. We all share the same space in Tangier, unlike Marrakech or Rabat. Nobody is too important, or acts like they are always busy. We all take time to absorb the peacefulness.
Within the city, one will feel the influence of Islamic art and architecture, with a touch of European style. This is unique to Tangier, due to it’s proximity to Europe. Islamic art is based upon balance, color, geometric and floral patterns. Subliminally this has a affect on the mood, bringing one to peace. This can be found in the poorest parts of the medina, or at the nicest luxury hotels. It is the best of both worlds, present at all levels of society.
“Fashions fade, style is eternal.” – Yves Saint Laurent
Local women may not have the latest designer labels, but dress in an elegant local style that fits the lifestyle. Because of the Islamic and European influence on dress, most younger women focus on color and flow, rather than showing skin and labels. Coming from Los Angeles, where labels and celebrity trends rule, Tangier gave me faith there is still elegance in style. I can imagine why Yves Saint Laurent decided to settle here. The best dressed across the world, dress according to lifestyle, not the latest fashions. Tangier lifestyle, is a unique style which “never confuses elegance with snobbery”.