Transporting us from the 1970s to the present day, Monday's Maroc Festival celebrated the joy of travelling in Morocco, and bringing a taste of it back to the UK.
Our Sloane Street townhouse came alive with Moroccan magic, the sensory and the visual interwoven with wonderful stories from guest speakers, renowned tour specialist and life-long friend Annie Austin and the talented Clare of Cazenove & Loyd Travel Specialists.
“When you’re walking down a Medina and see a little door, you cannot imagine what’s behind… You think it’s a little street, but behind it is magic… Morocco is completely magical.”Annie Austin
Creating an atmosphere from the ground up, amidst authentic Berber rugs from Emily's House London, guests sipped on aromatic mint tea and ate delicious Moroccan canapés, alongside Theo Davies-Jones' paintings and Moroccan-inspired jewels. Sharing one fundamental common thread, Morocco, we agreed, had seduced each and every one of us
It got me thinking, if every person at the event had their own little door, like the secret doors in Morocco's meandering streets, what would be revealed behind it? What stories would unfold, what treasures would we discover for each person?
Starting with Annie, founder of the first foreign-built hotel in Morocco, a holiday village set on the beach of the ancient town of Salé. Behind her door might be a copy of her fascinating book, The Charm and the Cunning. Or, the front page of a newspaper, with the infamous photograph of a camel going down the King's Road! A PR coup that booked out the whole of her summer season.
For Latiffa, her door would open and delicious smells would undoubtedly waft straight through. From lamb koftas, with sticky spiced apricot and fennel glaze, spiced chicken on a crispy chicken skin with sumac yoghurt, to pomegranate cured sea bass with fragrant dill and a preserved lemon relish.
Next to Clare, with her expertise in arranging the most memorable trips. Her door would open and you would be transported on a journey from the bustling passageways of Fez and Marrakesh to stunning, untouched areas of Morocco. Here would be all the ingredients for going on the best adventures.
Theo too expressed his fascination with doors, portals that invite you in and captivate your excitement about what lies beyond them. Where would a secret door take him? To an artist's studio of course! Where paint could flicker and splash in abundance (without my watchful eye!)
And for me? My hidden door would twist open, just like my Porte Ouvrant necklace pendants, to reveal a mosaic of sparkling jewels behind. Here would be my latest designs, like the Fez earrings, creeping up your ear as though meandering along through the Medina to the tanneries, or the Mashrabiya Trellis, celebrating the dazzling colours of Morocco
Just as a mosaic assembles a collection of individual pieces together into one fascinating whole, so too does a party bring together an eclectic array of people into one room. Oh how grateful I am for that opportunity, and to be able to host events such as this one once again.