an insolent mix: Yves Saint Laurent's Marrakesh

You don’t have to live in a ryad like Yves Saint Laurent to have a little bit of Marrakesh your life. Like a serpent, the inspirations of Marrakesh, may slip into your life in unexpected ways. For YSL Marrakesh was his retreat from Paris, the special place he went three months out of every year to work on his fashion collections and to immerse himself in an exotic world of Moroccan fantasy. 

He and Pierre Berge created a home in Marrakesh that was a brilliant mix of traditional Moroccan decorative art and European antiques and paintings. The zillij fireplace in the living room of Villa Oasis was an intricate mosiac design made from turquoise, light blue and celadon green ceramic tile: a perfect stage for orange flames.  Their legendary interior decorator, Bill Willis re-invented Moroccan plaster-work into the form of half dome lighting fixtures that suspended delicately above the room.  Inexpensive hand-painted Moroccan octagonal tea-tables served as useful occasional tables throughout the house. Blue and white Fez ceramic bowls were used as simple decorative receptacles- perhaps for ashes or olive pits. Resting in the center of large Moroccan tea tray table, was an antique Berber green glaze vase often filled with multi-color roses from their garden. 

{inspiration for an Imports from Marrakesh  custom order project.....}

'Saint Laurent himself described in 1983 how he embraced the inspiration of the light and colors of Marrakech, its "insolent mixes" and "ardent inventions." "But I wasn't content with importing this culture," he said. "I annexed, transformed and adapted it."  via New York Times

In this  iconic photograph by Horst,  YSL is  reclining in a private garden in 1986 surrounded by an stunning collection of red and orange Zemmour tribe carpets. These carpets are a fine flat weave with bold horizontal stripes that are adorned with tiny geometric patterns. They are durable strong  carpets, that roll up easily and perfectly suited to a lifestyle that embraces nomadic luxury. The fuchsia bougainvillea flowers and vivid reds and oranges in berber carpets are colors of Morocco that may have influenced YSL designs.


1. Yves Saint Laurent original drawing 1stdibs
2. Framed by a magnificent Moroccan plaster arch, Yves Saint Laurent works on his fashion sketches  photo via.
3. Living room of Villa Oasis, interior design by Bill Willis, photo via
4. Imports from Marrakesh detail scan of plaster lighting design from same photo...
5. Moroccan rose festival 
6. 1983-84 - YSL Show 
7. Yves Saint Laurent in a Moroccan garden, photograph by Horst
8.  Original sketch: Evening Ensemble, Spring–Summer 1989. 
 Foundation Pierre Bergé –Yves Saint Laurent via
9. Photo from a Paris show... via vogue.it
10. YSL in Marrakesh photo via.
11. YSL fashion sketches with swatches 
12. Model in YSL lying in a on Moroccan carpet from Brazilian Magazine:Claudia,March 1969.
13. Original drawing by YSL via pinterest
14. YSL couture ~  an adaptation of the Fez....pinterest


our magical Marrakesh bohemian fashion shopping tour

In May, Imports from Marrakesh curated an exclusive 'Medina Shopping Tour'  for L-Atitude, an online women's e-commerce site that fuses luxury fashion and travel, and ASMALLWORLDan online private invitation-only club for extraordinary travel experiences. The club met in Marrakesh to celebrate their recent redesign and to launch 'subscription memberships'. ASMALLWORLD members stayed at the majestic Taj Palace...

1. 'The Taj Palace Marrakech offers breathtaking views of the prominent snow capped Atlas Mountains. Opulent and majestic, the Palace unfolds like a beautiful painting, featuring all the splendours of Moorish, Indian and Venetian architecture. '


This group of beautiful people included artists, actresses, models, tastemakers, Vogue it girls, and even rock stars.  A perfect audience for our magical Marrakesh bohemian shopping tour! Mohamed and our team of guides and bodyguards met everyone at ten o'clock at the Taj Palace. We piled into Mercedes vans & headed off to hunt for haute hippie treasures in the Marrakesh Medina. 

Here is our special curated list of our favorite shops for caftans, bags, jewelry, slippers and exotic home accessories: 

 "The most becoming fashion ever invented: the languor of the seraglio clings to them; leisure and repose emanate from them. The classic robes of the Near East, they are now suddenly all over the contemporary map-the inspiration of great dressmakers and every woman's discovery in beauty. They go anywhere.” The Beautiful People in Caftans by Diana Vreeland VOGUE July 1966

Moroccan Caftans

Bouriad Karim

Rue Fatima Zohra R’mila, Dar El Bacha
212 (0) 24-38-65-17
Perfect caftans to wear to the beach or to a party.  Real gypset style...

Dar Caftan
on Rue Mouassine

KIS Boutique
36, Derb Fhal Chidmi,
Marrakech Medina
Quartier Mouassine
+212 (0)675480018



Moroccan Baskets

Souk al Ghaloul
The best area in the Medina for wildly embellished Moroccan baskets
as well as simple plain straw ones  that are perfect for the beach or farmers market.  We also dropped by tiny souks packed with embroidered leather bags and embellished belts.


Antique Berber Jewelry
El Abidi Nasser Eddine
At the south end of rue Semmarine in the medina, shop no. 9
Phone 0524/441066
{My favorite antique jewelry shop in Marrakech….}
+ we browsed the jewelry shops near the Mouassine mosque
Boutique Bel Hadj
21-23 Souk Founouk Ouarazi, Bab Ftouh
212-24 44 51 43
good place for antique jewelry

 Gestie Feltekatze 

 Bel Madani  for  Moroccan Teapots
& the Bab Ftouh Souk for Moroccan mint tea glasses


and everyone stocked up on 
Moroccan Babouche Slippers
at Haj Ahmed Oueld Lafram
49-51 Souk Smata

Our favorite babouche slippers are covered with vintage Moroccan caftan fabric
One of a kind hand-made silk tassels & zillij mosiac tile
Exotic Home Accessories

Souk Foundouk Ouarzazi ( off Place Bab Ftouh)
Enter through the mosaic arch at #56
This cluttered courtyard holds a collection of tiny dusty shops filled with odd treasures: here you can sift through stashes of  ethnic jewelry, bags, belts and vintage Moroccan tea-trays, rose-water sprinklers,  handmade silk tassels and ceremonial tea containers in silver, brass and copper….

13 Souk des Tapis
Rahba Kedima
061 85 34 97
The best place to go for the exquisite white Moroccan wedding blankets with silver sequins. 
A tiny shop but they also have a couple of secret showrooms filled with an amazing selection of Moroccan Beni Ourain carpets…

Actress Dianna Agron & silky soft shimmery Beni Ourain carpets

Alisa Ng founder of L-Atitude #Morccanmoments
We ended our shopping tour  with sweet mint tea 
and  a spectacular Berber rug show at one of Soufiane's secret showrooms in the medina...
a distant view of the Atlas Mountains from the Taj Hotel

“There is no guide-book to Morocco, and no way of knowing, once one has left Tangier behind, where the long trail over the Rif is going to land one, in the sense understood by any one accustomed to European certainties. The air of the unforeseen blows on one from the roadless passes of the Atlas.”
 In Morocco by Edith Wharton

1. Taj Hotel Marrakech via Lorre White: Guru of Luxury
2. Moroccan roses in marble fountain 
3. Photo by Imports from Marrakesh
4. Moroccan Holiday Vogue Italia,  May 2009 
Model: Sasha Pivovarova | Photographer: Steven Meisel 
5.  L-Atitude shopping tour led by Mohamed Elmaarouf  photo by Imports from Marrakesh 
6. Moroccan Baskets via pinterest
7. Asmallworld members entering the souks... photo by Imports from Marrakesh 
8.  Moroccan Jewelry via moon to moon
9. Hippie chic in antique Moroccan Berber jewelry by Gestie Feltekatze
10. Tastermakers shoppping for teapots in a secret souk...photo by Imports from Marrakesh 
11. Pink roses & mint tea via Tobi Fairley's  instagram
12. Moroccan slippers covered in vintage caftan fabric via pinterest
13. One of a kind Moroccan tassels against a zillij mosiac tile wall via pinterest
14.  Dianne Argon shopping for Beni Ourain carpets via Marie Claire
15. L-Atitude's founder Alisa Ng, Photo by Kym Canter via Marie Claire
16. more Moroccan mint tea with pink roses
17. Photo by Imports from Marrakesh