Four consecutive dinners of seafood tagine, eight kilim rugs stuffed into suitcases, one color of blue everywhere, 17 Whisper Cotton Tees—our spring catalog shoot in Morocco gets our signature “by the numbers” treatment.
Morocco’s been the not-so-secret destination of cool, artful types since, well, forever—think the Beat generation in the 1950s and Keith Richards and Talitha Getty in the late ’60s. That’s because the markets, food, architecture and culture often seem remarkably untouched by time, especially within its old cities, or medinas. Its welcoming, unhurried vibe made it the perfect place to shoot our spring 2016 collection, which is full of our closet heroes with subtle little updates. The result: everything to wear on repeat for adventures near and far. Here we break down our shoot and share some locally sourced travel tips we picked up along the way.
1 color: the vibrant turquoise shade on almost every fishing boat in Essaouira (seen in the photo above). It’s the unofficial paint color of local shipbuilders—sometimes nicknamed “Phoenician purple”—and it pops up all over Morocco’s architecture and in Marrakesh’s remarkable Majorelle Gardens too.
4 hours: the length of the drive from Casablanca, where Morocco’s largest airport is located, to the beachside town of Essaouira, where we spent half of our shoot. We’re not the only ones to have fallen in love with the crystal clear waters—Mick Jagger, Allen Ginsburg and Rita Hayworth are just a few of the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s legendary visitors.
2 days: the time we spent in this beautiful riad, originally built as a traditional Moroccan home with a central courtyard open to the sky, and now a hotel. Made of chiseled plaster, zellige tile and cedar, riads are the insider’s lodging of choice (and thanks to the rooftops, the place to catch the fiery sunsets year-round).
17 T-shirts: the supersoft tops our muse Constance graciously cycled through during our shoot, all smiles despite the windy 60° weather. We’re dreaming about going back in July, when the temps in Essaouira and Agadir are just right for ocean dips.
4 dinners: the nights—in a row—that our crew ordered tagine, a traditional stew cooked in a large earthenware pot. A local suggested we order spider crab instead of the usual chicken, and also told us it’s impolite to eat left-handed. The more you know…
3 new obsessions: handwoven straw hats, kilim rugs (we brought back eight in total!) and dried mint tea leaves—aka the local souvenirs we brought back with us. Though all of them are best enjoyed in Morocco, we’re glad we stuffed our carry-ons.
1 sweater: the cozy old-school Madewell crewneck that Constance traveled in. The fact that it just happened to be ours? Coincidence, she swears. We’ll take it.
Photography by Angi Welsch.