Eight years ago, I fell down a rabbit hole and landed in a a fantastical world of festivity in Marrakech. When the invitation arrived from my friend and ibu ambassador, Meryanne Loum-Martin, I knew not to miss her merriment. Meryanne weaves together her global friendships with ease and finesse, conjures mad magic at her soirees, and lights the air with mystery. Each night’s party began at 9:00 and didn’t stop until each stranger had become a friend.
It was during those days I learned to love a caftan. What other dress can hold the spell of an exotic evening, can flow like music, can mirror the allure of a midnight sky? I took my cue from our host, stunning in her white and black caftan, below, and wondered where she found her enviable wardrobe.
Eight years later, she revealed her secrets - for ibu. I was visiting with her again this spring, when Meryanne took me to a remarkable Marrakech exhibit of caftans by Tami Tazi. I swooned; I studied the embroidery techniques, and finally I met the woman who makes Meryanne’s magic. Nawal, in the selfie below, poured over swatches with me; we conjured caftans. Over our two days together, she shared with me stories of her young childhood when her mother died and she was brought to the Jewish quarter of the city where embroidery was learned; how she mastered the complicated threads through her tears. Now, years later, she works with women just outside Marrakech to create this beauty she loves.
The caftans I crafted with Nawal are here now. I love their classic design - not trendy, never out of style. I wear one every chance I get - to dinner at a friend’s home, to dinner in my own home, cocktails in the garden, at the beach. I wear them because I don’t know of anything both so comfortable and chic. I wear them because the women in Morocco are carrying forward a remarkable skill that I want alive in the world.
I want to wear them everywhere. Down rabbit holes. Into midnight mysteries. Into magic, everywhere.
I bet you do, too.
All the best,
Susan Hull Walker