MY SPIR­I­TUAL HOME

Have you ever found a place that re­ally speaks to you? From artists to de­sign­ers, ELLE asks a range of cre­atives about their favourite parts of the planet

ELLE (UK) - - Contents -

A home away from home: five women re­veal the places they’ll for­ever re­turn to

THE BIRTH­PLACE

MOROCCO

JU­DITH MILGROM, FOUNDER OF MAJE

I WAS BORN IN RA­BAT, the cap­i­tal of Morocco, a beau­ti­ful coun­try that still has a spe­cial place in my heart. Al­though I left when I was ten to live in Paris, I’m still deeply at­tached to my home­land. I think it shows in my col­lec­tions, which are al­ways in­fused with bright colours and bold prints. The colours of the Mo­roc­can sky, the flow­ers, the smells of dif­fer­ent spices — all these mem­o­ries are still very strong for me. I had a very happy child­hood with my par­ents, sis­ter, brother and grand­mother. My mother and grand­mother made ev­ery­thing for us, from de­li­cious meals to our clothes, and that is what in­spired my pas­sion for crafts­man­ship.

In prepa­ra­tion for Maje’s 2Oth an­niver­sary this year, we shot a cam­paign in three lo­ca­tions, each telling a part of the Maje story. The first was shot by pho­tog­ra­pher Thurstan Red­ding with model Yas­min Wi­j­nal­dum in Morocco, cho­sen be­cause it re­flects my roots; my child­hood.

I didn’t want to shoot in the desert, or in a me­d­ina, or even in Mar­rakech it­self — they’re all beau­ti­ful lo­ca­tions, but a bit clichéd. In­stead, I was look­ing for some­where spe­cial, full of en­ergy and colour; some­where you couldn’t im­me­di­ately iden­tify.

When we found the Ouzoud wa­ter­falls in the At­las Moun­tains, a few hours’ drive from Mar­rakech, I knew this was the per­fect spot. I felt over­come. Even though I had never been there be­fore, it some­how felt fa­mil­iar.

Thurstan shot Yas­min on a tree, with the wa­ter­falls in the back­ground and the rocks rang­ing in colour from sand to cognac, with splashes of green. Yas­min looked tiny against the wild land­scape, and the set­ting – all saf­fron, pink and turquoise colours – re­minded me of a Bol­ly­wood movie. It was mag­i­cal.

This shoot will for­ever re­main in my heart be­cause it was cre­ated in my home­land. My her­itage has helped de­fine the essence of the brand, which is a mix of Morocco and Paris. My heart is deeply at­tached to Morocco, which is a part of me, and formed my ear­li­est mem­o­ries. It will al­ways re­main my spir­i­tual home, even though, hav­ing lived most of my life in Paris, I feel Parisian. I’ll al­ways be a mix of dif­fer­ent in­flu­ences, and that will con­tinue to res­onate in Maje’s col­lec­tions. Ju­dith Milgrom’s col­lec­tions can be found at maje.com

THE RO­MAN­TIC IDYLL SÃO MIGUEL,

the AZORES

STELLA DE WITTE, COL­LAGE ARTIST

IT WAS MEANT TO BE A WORK TRIP, but it turned out to be so much more. The Azores (the Por­tuguese vol­canic is­lands in the At­lantic) were the is­lands where it all started for Gus and me. We were very good friends al­ready, but on the is­land we took it a step fur­ther. We had been given an as­sign­ment by Gus’s dad, who ran a travel agency, to go to the Azores to do some travel pho­tog­ra­phy, and we flew to Ponta Del­gada, the cap­i­tal of São Miguel, one of the big­gest and green­est of the Azores is­lands. We had so much fun dis­cov­er­ing this beau­ti­ful is­land that we in­stantly fell in love with it. São Miguel is such a mag­i­cal place: a sur­real mix of trop­i­cal ba­nana trees on hilly French-like fields; herds of black-and­white cows un­der broad-leaved trees; misty, vol­canic hills with vast crater lakes; nat­u­ral, rust-coloured hot springs; and the botan­i­cal gar­dens lead­ing down to the sea.

The is­land had an in­stant im­pact on us. Af­ter we’d fin­ished shoot­ing, we took some time off to ex­plore. One af­ter­noon, we were at the beach of Água d’Alto, on the south coast. We went for a swim in the ice-cold At­lantic as the sky started turn­ing grey with heavy rain clouds. But we didn’t care, as that was the mo­ment we be­came a cou­ple. It was Septem­ber 2OO7.

Eleven years later, we are still hap­pily to­gether and dream of go­ing back to these mag­i­cal is­lands. We have done a lot of trips to­gether since, but none will be as spe­cial as the Azores. Artists Gus & Stella are avail­able for com­mis­sions at gu­sand­stella.com

“WHEN WE FOUND the OUZOUD WA­TER­FALLS,

I FELT OVER­COME. IT SOME­HOW

felt FA­MIL­IAR”

JU­DITH MILGROM

THE FAM­ILY TRIP

the ALENTEJO, POR­TU­GAL

REJINA PYO, FASH­ION DE­SIGNER

SINCE HAV­ING OUR BABY SON Luka, time with him has be­come very pre­cious. I’ve al­ways loved to travel – to ex­plore other cul­tures and cuisines, spend­ing a few days or weeks liv­ing some­body else’s life – but with a one-year-old, the way we travel has had to adapt. My hus­band is a chef and I love cook­ing, so we al­ways try to book self-cater­ing.

Re­cently, we fell in love with Por­tu­gal. Start­ing in Lis­bon, we roamed around the cob­bled streets, tak­ing in the mu­se­ums and the food – es­pe­cially Vasco Lello’s cook­ing at Café Principe Real (mem­mo­ho­tels.com).

Af­ter two or three days, we found our­selves long­ing to es­cape to the won­der­fully rugged Alentejo re­gion. This large area takes up most of the cen­tral and south­ern swathes of the coun­try below Lis­bon, and yet re­mains largely undis­cov­ered in con­trast to the touristy Al­garve below it. The Alentejo has been de­scribed as the ‘Tus­cany of Por­tu­gal’, with sleepy vil­lages hid­den away among rolling hills that ex­tend west to­wards the ver­tig­i­nous cliffs of the At­lantic coast­line. Our favourite place there was São Lourenço do Bar­ro­cal (slh.com), a 2OOyear-old farm with beau­ti­ful cot­tages, just out­side the an­cient walled town of Mon­saraz near the Span­ish bor­der. They were per­fect for us, with a kitchen, liv­ing room and loads of space in the sur­round­ing fields for Luka to run around in. I once con­sid­ered study­ing ar­chi­tec­ture; it is still a great in­spi­ra­tion for my col­lec­tions, so I love to stay in places that have been so thought­fully de­signed – in this case by one of Por­tu­gal’s most il­lus­tri­ous ar­chi­tects, Ed­uardo Souto de Moura. Ev­ery­thing seems to have its place, and even with a one-year-old wreak­ing havoc, I still find my­self calm and at peace here. Rejina Pyo’s lat­est col­lec­tion is avail­able at re­ji­napyo.com

THE OTHER WORLD

ANTARC­TICA

FELIC­ITY AS­TON MBE, EX­PLORER

AT THE AGE OF 23,Itrav­elled­toAntarc­tica to take up a post as a me­te­o­rol­o­gist at the Bri­tish Antarc­tic Sur­vey’s Rothera Re­search Sta­tion. One of my jobs was to mea­sure the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of snow at a site away from the base.

A few months af­ter I ar­rived, I de­cided to go alone for the first time. I coaxed one of the sta­tion’s el­derly snow­mo­biles into life, up the steep lo­cal glacier and out into the snow­fields be­yond. Pick­ing up speed on the flat­ter ground, I en­joyed the free­dom of fly­ing over the snow, let­ting my eyes drift across the un­du­lat­ing land­scape. Soli­tary peaks rose above the snow’s sur­face, leav­ing grace­ful arcs and blue and pur­ple shad­ows on the oth­er­wise raw white. Over­head, thin clouds traced del­i­cate curlicues in the sky. My breath caught in my chest and I let the snow­mo­bile came to a stop.

I stood up and let my­self in­dulge in the eupho­ria that had welled up in­side me. I threw open my arms as if to ex­tend them around the whole of Antarc­tica, feel­ing my heart ex­pand to en­velop the en­tire con­ti­nent. I wanted to lose my­self in its im­mac­u­late vast­ness. I had found my per­fect place, my per­fect match.

In many ways, that sense of ela­tion has never left me. Two-and-a-half years later, when it was time to leave, I knew that it wouldn’t be long be­fore I was back, even though I had no idea at the time how or why I would re­turn. Felic­ity’s books, Alone in Antarc­tica (Sum­mers­dale) and Call of the White: Tak­ing the World to the South Pole (Sum­mers­dale), are out now

THE HOME­LAND

PUN­JAB THE GREAT­EST GIFT BY POET RUPI KAUR,

FROM THE SUN AND HER FLOW­ERS

I WANT TO GO BACK IN TIME and sit be­side her. Doc­u­ment her in a home movie so my eyes can spend the rest of their lives wit­ness­ing a mir­a­cle, the one whose life I never think of be­fore mine. I want to know what she laughed about with friends, in the vil­lage with its houses of mud and brick. Sur­rounded by acres of mus­tard plant and sug­ar­cane, I want to sit with the teenage ver­sion of my mother, ask about her dreams, be­come her pleated braid, the black kohl ca­ress­ing her eye­lids, the flour neatly packed into her fin­ger­tips, a page in her school­books, even to be a sin­gle thread on her cot­ton dress would be the great­est gift.

“ITHREWOPEN MY ARMS as IF to EX­TEND THEM AROUND ANTARC­TICA. I HAD FOUND my PER­FECT PLACE ”

FELIC­ITY AS­TON

ELLE NOVEM­BER From top:Morocco’s HighAt­las moun­tains; the vil­lage of Tanagh­meilt (near Ouzoud Falls) and an­cient kas­bah Aït Ben­had­dou

From top:Por­tu­gal’sPonta Del­gadaCliffs; Mi­radouro Lagoa de San­ti­ago view­point and by the lake in São Miguel

From top: The Alentejo’s Al­teir­in­hos beach; São Lourenço do Bar­ro­cal and the vil­lage of Mar­vao

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