Rocking the Casbah

In Accessories, Cocktail Dresses, Home Decor, Jewelry, Shoes, Sundresses on May 17, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Is anyone else as excited as I am about the upcoming release of “Sex & the City 2”?  Something about the exotic locale and its associated caftan-and-woven-sandals styling has left me truly sartorially inspired.

Now, I’ve always had something of a fashion flirtation with the Talitha Getty boho chic aesthetic.  Widely regarded as one of the premiere fashion icons of the 1960s, Getty lived in Marrakesh (a major city in Morocco) for many years and was known for her North-African-bohemian look.

Luckily for us, the aesthetic has come back in a major way.  (Let’s not forget the preponderance of the harem pant on the runway the past few seasons.  I don’t know about you, but I’m thrilled to see those baggy monstrosities finally headed towards the “out” pile.  Not.  Flattering.)  You can find uber-chic caftan dresses from a variety of purveyors — Antik Batik, Tory Burch, Calypso, and Missoni come immediately to mind.  Consider, for example, this jet-setting gold-trimmed caftan ($380, Net-A-Porter):

Very Giambattisti Valli (apparently Queen Rania of Jordan’s favored designer — and anything Queen Rania likes is an instant must; she’s got flawless taste):

Add a pair of gold t-straps, like these K. Jacques — if you’ve read this blog from the beginning, you know my obsession with the St. Tropez-based brand:

(As mentioned in previous posts, J. Crew has a comparable, much less expensive style known as the Tabitha — $88, J. Crew.)  If you walk on the fearless fashion side, I’m ga-ga over these eye-catching and very of-the-moment wedge sandals by up-and-coming footwear designer Kelsi Dagger ($115, Endless):

For the more luxe, label-lust-worthy version, check out Giuseppe Zanotti — to die for ($930, Zappos):

How chic would those puppies look when paired with this dressed-up t-shirt dress (built-in jewelry is always a plus) by Paul & Joe Sister ($135, Net-A-Porter)?

For something perhaps a bit less daring, test drive this cheerful Tory Burch ($395, Net-A-Porter) in order to perfect the airy, throw-on-over-anything, ready-for-the-souk look:

I like the idea of pairing it with some shiny gold Jack Rogers:

Alternately, Yoana Baraschi came out with a line of “Marrakesh Nouveau” dresses and tunics that are spot-on-trend, incorporating elements of the nautical trend as well with its roping detail ($369, Yoana Baraschi):

I’d accent with a chic Madeline Weinrib ikat-print clutch (see her visually-stimulating site for information on wear to buy):

(For similar caftan styles, see Sharon Gill NYC and check the “Where to Buy” section for a shopping outpost near you — I own one of her dresses and love, love, love it — or take a gander at Calypso’s beachy-chic tunic options.)  In a moment of Nicole-Richie-and-Rachel-Zoe-boho-posh inspiration, I snagged this Milly “Glamour Girl” caftan for the honeymoon (on sale from $485 to $121 — !!! — at ChickDownTown):

When it arrived in the mail, I had a moment of  “ohmygosh, how do I wear this?” panic, but quickly found reassurance in the fact that Dior, the Ultimate Haute Couturier, had marched out some comparable looks for their Spring/Summer 2007 collection a few years back:

Flawless then, flawless now.  And they’ve clearly continued in the same “Marrakesh Express” vein of thought — check out this ridiculous eye candy: a turquoise-studded, Moroccan-evening-wear-appropriate clutch (only $2,700…):

Die for it.  Looking for more affordable accessories for your caftan?  I’m thinking a big, gold Kenneth Jay Lane bangle ($120, Net-A-Porter):

or maybe this gilded woven variation from Calypso (“The Viky,” $55, Calypso):

For on-the-mark Marrakesh eveningwear,  I’m still bananas over this Halston Heritage asymmetrical cape dress ($325, Bergdorf Goodman):

(You’ve probably seen the one-and-only Sarah Jessica Parker in it — she wears it in Sex and the City II with a little turban.  She also happens to be chief creative designer for the diffusion line, which may have something to do with the prominence of Halston Heritage in her wardrobe for the film…)  Imagine how Morocco-chic you’d look with these coral earring add-ons (Kenneth Jay Lane, $210, Net-A-Porter):

Alternately, consider these coral half moon studs by Simon Tu ($285, Vivre):

Something about the cabochon beading reminds me of Moroccan tilework:

Keep the look grounded with some unfussy gold sandals — I love my Manolos and am sure you can find comparable simple styles every season:

For crisp day-wear options, I love this starched, turquoise embroidered Taj brand tunic ($265, StyleBop):

Imagine pairing it with some eye-catching turquoise dangling earrings — I’m head over heels for this beaded pair by Barse ($100, Barse):

Or maybe you have a simple white caftan or breezy white dress already in your closet?  Perhaps something like this jewel-necked tunic by Free People ($118, Bloomingdale’s)?

Simply accent with gold shoes — the daring amongst you might consider these sky-high cork wedges by Report ($225, Shopbop):

Then throw on some statement earrings (like the coral cabochons above), and one of those killer Madeline Weinrub ikat clutches:

Other daywear separates?  Try a casual Moroccan-inspired, embroidered top on for size (the first: Free People, $88, Shopbop; the second, 3.1 Philip Lim, $325, Net-A-Porter):

Both would look awesome with crisp white shorts and neutral/light brown leather gladiator sandals.

Or maybe just some killer quatrefoil accents — you know my obsession with the clover shape (see my  “Under Clover” post), and it’s all over the place in Northern African architecture.

For the big spenders out there, check out the ultimate, Van Cleef & Arpels’ Alhambra collection:

Tiffany’s Paloma line has a “Marrakesh” collection that features an adaptation of the clover shape as well, as featured in this gorgeous gold link bracelet ($1,050, Tiffany):

The “Under Clover” post has some more affordable clover-design items, including KEP Design’s “Flower” collection, but I just picked up this Stella & Dot necklace and absolutely adore it ($59):

I wore it with an LBD, some gold Jack Rogers, and a pair of gold flower enorma-studs yesterday and thought it accented the look perfectly.  You can snap it up via my ongoing Stella & Dot online trunk show — the first Magpie Mini Market!  Go to: and then, at the top right of the page, click on “Can’t Make It to the Show? Find Your Hostess” and type in first name: “Fashion” and last name: “Magpie.”  Shop away!

You could also get the Moroccan architecture-inspired look with this lovely Tory Burch frock — check out the the latticework design up top ($273, My Theresa):

I’m big into yellow this season, so you can imagine my delight with this dress.  Perfect for a slightly more conservative affair — a brunch with the in-laws, a bridal shower at the Club, etc.  Inspired by the Moorish architecture but looking for something a bit edgier?  I love the uber-chic, fashion-forward design of these wedge sandals by Nine West ($119, Nine West):

The mini-wedge and heaviness of the leather t-strap are extremely “in” right now.  I think they’d look perfect with an airy white dress (consider the Rachel by Rachel Roy dress below — $79, Rachel Roy) and an oversized wooded or beaded statement necklace (below, both by Stella & Dot, $59 and $79 respectively):

Or, for something even bolder, this gorgeous Malene Birger statement piece ($260, Saks):

While we’re on the subject of bold neckwear, this Amrita Singh jet-black-stone necklace would be the perfect accompaniment to many of the looks above ($250, Couture Candy):

If you’re looking for color — Morocco is, after all, full of vibrant color — how about this aptly-named Tory Burch “Moroccan Bib Necklace” ($295, Tory Burch):

Perfect paired with a billowy white blouse and some white shorts — and maybe some kicky hot pink sandals?  I’m in love with these Belle by Sigerson Morrison strappy sandals ($195, ShopZoe):

They’d look killer with this boho chic maxi dress by T-Bags as well ($220, Net-A-Porter):

The dress would also look gorgeous with simple gold t-straps and either polished gold enorma-studs or these Dream Mullick earrings ($80, Max & Chloe):

Alternately — and I’ve had my eye on this dress for my bachelorette party — this pop-of-hot-pink Tibi frock ($385, Shopbop):

I’d style it with simple gold heels like the Manolos above and a little hard-case gold clutch — a Kotur brand style (shown below) would be right on the money:

The vibrant pink reminds me that you needn’t limit your new Moroccan-influenced styling to yourself — consider sprucing up your home with kicky North African chic accents, like these Madeline Weinrib throw pillows:

Adorable and very modern-looking.  Jayson Home and Garden offers similar pillows at their chic home goods eBoutique, including this “Spice Ikat” ($225, Jayson):

I’d probably accent with this cozy-looking, exotic-print throw ($112, World Market):

So step outside the comfort zone and connect with your inner Talitha Getty to update your look this season!

  1. Nice Blog.. I love it.. Keep up the good work..

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