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Trends might be fleeting but the people who set them tend towards a vision that is tried, tested and consistent. Steering clear of the modish mob to follow in the footsteps of the Lee Radziwills of the world, the French Riviera and the Amalfi Coast are frequented by the fashion-focused crowd year in year out. They wake late, dine on fresh oysters washed down with Chablis and generally sashay around looking nonchalantly chic. We’re all for championing the hottest emerging destinations, but heritage (particularly in fashion terms) always trumps the hype.
“Crowds of peasants go up and down in the valley – beautiful in the face and the skeleton – they are impudent, and the women are brazen… Peculiar dress: an oblique handkerchief on the chest, lively in the colour, opened bodice, short sottane and big sandals to the feet” wrote John Ruskin following a jaunt to Positano. Fast forward 200 years plus and Ruskin’s observation is not far off the mark.
In Amalfi it’s entirely au fait to go barefoot while wearing reems of diamonds. Adorn something timeless to fit your surroundings; the coast is incredibly romantic – and devilishly fun. Bed down with VOGUE’s deputy editor Sarah Harris at Monastero Santa Rosa, a former monastery built in the 17th century, comprising of just 20 bedrooms – or make like Alex Eagle and opt for lazy lunches at Lo Scoglio. Dinner at Il Pirata à la Laura Bailey is also always a good idea – as is pasta and ice cream on the daily, preceded by a hike along the Walk of the Gods.
The French Riviera oozes fashion. Head to June Bay in Èze – a small village, which stretches from Cap Roux to the Cabuel point – for a fun vibe and a beachside dip. Spend your days sailing between sandy spots or walks along the promenade donning capri pants and intricately patterned silk headscarves. A must-visit for those in search of some R&R post fashion month, Pandora Sykes has been known to stay at both Tiara Miramar and Tiara Yaksta hotels in Théoule-sur-Mer, while further up the coast in Saint-Tropez, Senequier has been sealed as Karl Lagerfeld’s favourite coffee spot.
Venture to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and make like Hamish Bowles with a visit to the Villa Ephrussi Rothschild, a Venetian renaissance-style central atrium featuring eccentric decor. Continue in the fashion journalist, slipper-clad step down towards Saint-Paul-de-Vence, one of the oldest medieval towns on the French Riviera. While you’re here, visit the stained-glass church designed by Matisse before heading for lunch in the ivy courtyard of the Colombe D’Or – a family-run auberge and the one-time refuge for fleeing artists. Marvel at the art-clad walls before musing on the likelihood of their reappearance in the future collections of Raf Simons at Calvin Klein or Pierpaolo Piccioli at Valentino.
No points for name dropping Yves Saint Laurent at the first utterance of Moroccan anything. Yes, the French designer bought a house here in 1966 – partly due to the fact that Morocco’s deep history and traditions served as a rich reservoir of inspiration for Yves – and yes, his outputs from this period of his life are among the most jaw-droppingly, heart-achingly beautiful of his career. The newly opened salmon-hued YSL museum, perched on the edge of luscious Jardin Majorelle, chronicles the designer’s life and is an extension of the much-loved couturier’s reference points and design evolution. It’s also a good starting point for the uniformed fashionista.
Sartorial history lessons aside, more than any other city in Morocco, Marrakech dishes it out in the street-style stakes. Here you’ll find hijabs paired with high-tops and turbans offset with of-the-minute lenses. While the city of colour serves as the perfect backdrop for Instagram stars of today, it is its trend-transcending styles that make it a beguiling spot for both old-school glamazons and modern muses. Trade in your “le smoking” in favour of a velvet slipper and low-lying harem pants and make a beeline for the bazaar.
Pre-trip, read up on the Florentine fashion genius Roberto Cavalli, who reincarnated Italian glamour with his extraordinary textiles. While Milan is the centre of fashion for intermittent weeks across the collections, Florence is historical the jewel in Italy’s fashion crown. To start, a visit to the Costume Gallery of the Pitti Palace, should definitely be on the agenda – Palazzo Pitti was the official site of Italian fashion shows before they upped sticks to Milan.
Aquazzura’s founder and creative director, Edgardo Osorio – whose headquarters are in the Palazzo Corsini – would probably tell you to shop at Eredi Chiarini for old school Italian brands, spend the night at Portrait Firenze or San Michele and come morning, sample breakfast at Caffè Giacosa – one of the oldest cafes in the city and owned by Roberto Cavalli. Marchese Emilio Pucci, created the look now known as “casual elegance”, in the 1950s – an aesthetic which should be employed for the duration of your stay.
Puglia draws a pretty plush crowd – Giorgio Armani, Riccardo Tisci and Raf Simons join Sienna Miller and Anna Dello Russo in making a pilgrimage here most summers. When it comes to bedding down, those in the know will opt for Masseria San Domenico, a spot dating back to the 14th century. The traditional farmhouse has been transformed into luxury suites and trulli rooms tend to be in high-demand – so best to plan your trip well in advance.
You’ll find Laura Jackson and others of that ilk, lounging on Ostuni White Beach or out for a romantic meal at Locorontondo. Whatever shape your trip takes, visit Martina France on a Friday night for Passeggiata – where the locals celebrate the coming week by dressing up and promenading around town. It’s all very fashion.
A destination so popular with the fashion set come December, it’s as though Fashion Week is happening all over again. Here you’ll clock Nicola Formichetti, of Nicopanda and Tom Mendenhall, COO of Tom Ford, as well as many a movie star lapping up the winter sun.
Drawing in the fashion crowd with it’s “eco-chic” ethos, Tulum is consciously and adamantly off the power grid. At Uno you can camp right on the beach, while the mellow Casa Violeta is likely to please less traditional eco-warriors who favour a mattress over a yoga mat. (Temporarily) disown your worldly possessions and check-in for a spiritual retreat at The Real Coconut Kitchen. In addition to being an amazing wellness centre, this place also serves up second-to-none chia seed puddings and plantain pancakes. For those more about the retox than the detox, Zamas is great for late-night drinks, live music and beach parties, while Casa Jaguar’s Asian-inspired food in intimate, romantic jungle setting is sure to help segway you from horizontal to hedonistic pronto.
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