Jardin Majorelle

Garden Visit: Jardin Majorelle

I first read about Jardin Majorelle in Marrakesh, Morocco in the early 1980s in a fashion magazine story about Yves St. Laurent.

Jardin Majorelle

YSL and his partner Pierre Berge had bought the property, saved it from demolition, and set about restoring it. From the first brilliant blue photo I saw, I knew I wanted to stand in and experience this garden, not just look at it in pictures.

Noon shadows Jardin Majorelle

Originally designed and built in the 1920s by artist Jacques Majorelle who painted its walls blue and its details brilliant shades of yellow, green, orange and red off set by chalky tones of turquoise and green.

Shade house Jardin Majorelle

He collected plants in his travels and opened his garden to the public.  By the end of his life, however, he had to sell it and it deteriorated to the point that it was going to be leveled for a new Marrakesh hotel.

fountain and garden Jardin Majorelle

For me, Majorelle is about the interplay of color, water and light. It is less about its collection of 300 plants.  Their grey Mediterranean tones are counterpoints for bursts of bold, sun kissed color.

Jardin Majorelle Marrakesh

St. Laurent was born and raised in North Africa. He didn’t move to Paris until he was 18.  The light, color and texture of this place was as much a part of who he was as the rarefied world of the couture in Paris.  He often lived and worked at here until his death in 2008.  There is a simple memorial dedicated to his memory.

YSL memorial Majorelle

Having been warned, I went very early, before the tour buses arrived, and the garden got crowded.  I stayed for several hours watching the light and shadows.  I was transported by Majorelle’s joyful interplay of art, gardens, and fashion. Go if you can.

Pergola Jardin Majorelle Colored pots and reflecting pool Jardin Majorelle Jardin Majorelle

 

Wear Your Veggies! Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2012

Rarely does an example of trends trickling up from gardens and landscapes include vegetable gardens!   Florals prints and patterns are common each spring– but veggies?  Timely and current with the uptick in vegetable gardening, Dolce and Gabbana’s Spring 2012 collection does just that.  Eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, onions and zucchini are bold faced prints on fun and pretty feminine clothes with a retro mid-century vibe.  Wear what you grow! Have fun! Mangia!

Photo credits:  All fashion photos via Style.com

Designer Annette Von Einem’s Floral Fashion

More consistently than any other I have seen, Danish floral designer Annette Von Einem blurs the lines between flowers and fashion.  In competition and on the runway, Von Einem has a flair for the wearable.

Given the rise in popularity of ‘fascinators’ seen on Britian’s royals, I thought the small hats below were right on target. They were shown on the runway during Copenhagen Fashion Week as part of designer Nina Robenhagen‘s Spring-Summer 2012 and collection and combine scale, color and interesting plant combinations as skillfully as any garden with the wear-ability of great millinery.

Fashion in the Garden…Plaid!

The fashionista in me goes into full swing in late August.  The big fall magazines are released and I’m all in.  My work as a co-founder of Leaf magazine has made this annual ritual of mine have broader meaning, but that doesn’t mean I don’t focus on what I think is fun either.  So without delay, one of the single biggest trends for fall is Plaid…the resurgence of Red is a secondary story.  Most of the time they play well together.

Here’s how I interpret them from a garden-y perspective…

In the beginning there was the big outdoors where plaid has always been a player…

Flyfishing from a vintage issue of Life Magazine

Then there was the plaid we took to school that could easily go out in to the garden today.  Remember the ubiquitous plaid thermos?

Plaid lunch box

Now things have been slightly updated. The fall cover of Wool People magazine.

Cover of Wool People Magazine

But plaid is still plaid and can work while we work in the garden.  Pruners and plaid can play together…

Woolrich Acorn Hill Vest
Vintage Plaid Shirts from Urban Outfitters
Plaid Welllies

And just in case you have to pick up a call…

Plaid iPhone case from Abercrombie

And if you’re like me…you need your glasses to see who’s calling…

Vintage plaid eyeglass frames

So put on some plaid and head out into the cool morning and enjoy the coming fall!

In my Reader…Nowness

Just reading this uber-chic blog makes me feel cool.  Impossibly hip, Nowness is the daily blog from LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.  Well written and beautifully documented, its exclusive content comes from a wide range of contributors and is definitely luxury based.  Covering fashion, food, art, film, music, design, travel and sport it is surprising in it depth. Nowness aims to be an interactive hub for all things luxury NOW.  It’s totally unlike any other blog I’ve ever read and that’s hard to do since I read a lot of them–the images alone are worth a look.

All of the images below have are from Nowness in the past month.  How’s that for being current?

Sophisticated color outdoors
Winter Polo in St. Moritz
Fairy Tale Illustration by fashion designer Christian LaCroix

Tents and sky

The makings of mescal

A Chanel Inspired Garden

Rochelle from StudioG and I are having a garden inspiration throw down.  She frequently uses fashion as a muse for garden inspiration.  I am a hardcore fan of fashion, so when she posted a Hippie fashion inspired post, I challenged her to this one based in Chanel…she accepted.  It’s been a lot of fun putting this together.

Chanel, both the woman and the fashion house, have long intrigued me.  I knew I was on to something when I saw the garden inspired runway from the Spring 2011 Couture Collection shown last fall in Paris.

2011 Chanel couture collection via the New York Times

It’s ironic that Mlle. Chanel, who was a proponent of all things modern has become such an icon of classicism.  Karl Lagerfeld who has been Chanel’s designer since the 80’s has continually reinvented the look while staying within the Chanel design lexicon.   Even the logo looks would make a fabulous basis for a the oh-so-French clipped parterre.

Imagine the interlocking C's as boxwood...

There are specific motifs that have become to signify Chanel style.  I’m going to use five of  those here as inspiration for a garden.

Camellias are an easy place to start…worn first by the mademoiselle and later used as fashion details in a variety of ways.  Last summer I lusted over these flip-flops.

Chanel camellia flip flops

An easy segue…

White camelia

Chanel was influenced by the tweeds and checks found in British country clothes.  She reinterpreted the material using it in what is now considered the quintessential Chanel suit.

Tweeds interpreted by Chanel

Chanel tweeds and checks for the garden…

Dedon's Slim Line Outdoor Chair

Costume jewelry, particularly pearls and chains are another Chanel signature motif…

From the 2006 Spring collection--chains!

And in the garden…

Chanel for a rainy day in the garden...rainchains!

The quilted bag…these have come in every possible style and color…

The classic quilted bag

These ‘quilted’ cabinets would be perfect for an outdoor kitchen…

Quilted Cabinets - Perfect for an outdoor kitchen

And because it is so essentially French…I would design a boules court in my garden just so I could have a set of these.  I would invite over a group of friends, pour some excellent wine and have a party n’est pas?

Petanque (Boules) by Chanel

In my reader…Nude and blushing

This is the first in a series about what I read and how it influences my design work.  Posts will likely be link rich, so feel free to explore much of the same material and see if it inspires you too.  I post regularly on Monday and Wednesday (with sporadic bursts in between) so for the foreseeable future Friday will be in the mix.  Isn’t summer the time to catch up on your reading anyway?

Back in May the Huffington Post published an article ‘NUDE: Fashion’s Most Debated Color’.  Then about a week ago, Pantone (@pantonetrends) tweeted this color palette. (Yup, I’m connecting the dots again…)

Since then it’s been lingering in the back of my mind as possible inspiration for a garden–not one for harsh light either.  These colors would disappear in clear bright light.

Since I’m hands on, I went to two of my go to websites–Colourlovers and Image Spark–to explore the possibilities for myself.  Both are fast and intuitive–the entire process was less than an hour combined.  I’ve discussed both before, but since this is about inspiration I think they deserve a second look.

Ultimately this exercise strayed away from ‘nude’ and morphed into something I called Blush.  Here’s a color palette that I fooled around with on Colourlovers.

Blush

and an inspiration I played with board on Image Spark.

Blush

Every now and again it’s good to stretch and PLAY with something just because.

Garden Glamour Puss

Yesterday images of two famous gardeners in their gardens came across my desk.  Both were remarkable in their unreality as well as their singular understanding of the importance of image.

The first image, from the blog How to be a Retronaut shows the Duke of Windsor in his sartorial gardening best in his gardens outside of Paris circa 1956.  These made me want to go out and buy some tweeds and wellies.  Perhaps these?

Waterproof boots from Dubarry (not in the budget)

Or one of these from Ralph Lauren’s 2010 Fall collection? (via style.com)…I’ll have to interpret that from the local vintage shop with a big belt already in my closet.

Ralph Lauren Tweed Jacket

The fashionista in me has to believe that there is a way to marry a genuine love of  fashion with the practical.  How to say ‘I’m a designer’ and also say ‘I’m a gardener’ within the boundaries of fashion?  I can’t believe the two are mutually exclusive.

The second image was of Michelle Obama in her White House veggie garden via the Huffington Post.  This is probably closer to reality and I can throw the tweed over it.

First Lady in the Garden

I wonder if those awfully clean jeans and brand spanking new Chuck Taylors ever got dirty…