A LONDONER IN TANGIER: ASILAH




After a much-needed, month-long hiatus, A-Gent of Style returns as the holiday season draws to a close, at that time of year when summer will soon be a distant memory.

 This summer, A-Gent of Style holidayed in Tangier, Morocco. There will be a few features of this magical city coming up on the blog in the next couple of weeks but today, A-Gent of Style would like to transport you to another enchanting destination.


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On the recommendations of many friends, A-Gent of Style was whisked away on his first day to Asilah, the impossibly charming, laid-back fortified resort town located on the Atlantic coast just some 30km south of Tangier. With its impressive gateworks and square stone ramparts flanked by palm trees, Asilah also boasts wide, stretching sandy beaches. It has of course an undeniable Moroccan identity but also a rich history and past, and strong cultural influences, mainly Spanish and Portuguese.

But the most elegant and impressive part of Asilah which took A-Gent of Style‘s breath away is the Medina with its labyrinthine lanes of gorgeous white-washed buildings suffused with splashes of pastel and vivid colours, where combinations of green and blue can be seen in droves (you can imagine A-Gent‘s reaction), and where patterns in all shapes and forms unravel before your eyes in the most incongruous places, all against a pitch-perfect blue sky. Utterly delightful and inspiring. A-Gent of Style defies anyone not to fall for the authentic, unspoiled Asilah. Judge by yourself now.

 

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– Photos by A-Gent of Style – 








LILY-WHITE MAY DAY



Grace Kelly, 1970s



A-Gent of Style arrived in Paris last Thursday evening on May 1, not only Labour Day in France but also la journée du muguet, or lily of the valley day. On that special day, everywhere in the City of Light and also throughout the gallic country, you will see vendors at street corners selling the delicate green sprigs capped with their tiny white bells.
When A-Gent of Style got reunited last Saturday night with fellow blogger The Parisian Eye, over cocktails (try the lush E.V.A!), this time at the George V hotel, he was bowled over to be faced, as he entered the prestigious hotel, with a wondrous flower installation replete with muguet which suffused the foyer with its seducing scent, courtesy of the brilliant artistic director in residence at the Four Seasons and flower artist, Jeff Leatham. In France, the tradition goes that people should offer un bouquet to their loved ones; a lover perhaps, your mother, grandmother, or anyone special.
It isn’t unusual to see on May men wear a few stems of muguet in their lapel (A-Gent of Style obliged on the day) and women don the delicate flower in their hair. Delightful, n’est-ce pas! There’s a lot to be said about tradition.

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Le George V hotel, Paris

Le George V hotel, Paris, with floral arrangements by Jeff Leatham

 

Le George V hotel, Paris

Le George V hotel, Paris



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As the story goes, on the first of May 1561, King Charles IX of France, who was ten at the time, was presented with a fragrant bunch of muguet. It was a gesture which touched the king so much that he continued the tradition by giving the sweet-smelling blossoms to the ladies of his court each year on the same day.


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Lily of the valley has come to represent happiness, luck, rebirth and prosperity and the traditional Fête du Muguet continues in France today, almost five hundred years later.
When he was a kid,
A-Gent of Style and his family would go every year without fail on May 1 to the woods and after the picnic they would take a postprandial stroll and pick as much lily of the valley as possible. Its scent is now firmly rooted in his consciousness and highly evocative.


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The scent of these ephemeral flowers – in bloom just a couple of weeks each year – has bewitched perfumers for centuries as it is impossible to distil (did you also know that the flowers only grow on one side of the stem?), and its subtle perfume is recomposed in the secrecy of laboratories.

Lily of the valley has been represented throughout the centuries not only in perfume (Caron was one of the first to ‘bottle’ the scent; Dior’s lily of the valley-scented perfume Diorissimo is one of their best sellers to date) but also in fashion (Christian Dior adored the flower so much he based and named several of his collections ‘Muguet en mai’; Hubert de Givenchy too created a few gowns called ‘Les Muguets’; Helen Mirren donned last year a Dolce & Gabbana lily of the valley-print dress, on three different public appearances), in luxury goods (Lalique crystal vases, Van Cleef and Arpels jewellery for instance), at weddings (from Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn to the Duchess of Cambridge) and in candles, room sprays, soaps even teas and macaroons to name a few.

  Come take a look and celebrate le muguet:


calotte en muguet Paulette 1958‘Calotte en muguet’, Paulette 1958



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Arbre_De_Matisse_Lourdes_Gutierrrezby Tory Burch


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Givenchy 56Audrey Hepburn, Givenchy 1956



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The “Muguet”, Lily of the Valley dress (1954) by Christian DiorThe “Muguet” dress by Christian Dior, 1954


Sicily bag in an emerald green hue & weaved PVC Dolce Bag in the very fashionable bucket bag shape.


Robert Doisneau, 1953, Le Muguet du Métro‘Le Muguet du Métro’ by Robert Doisneau 1953


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Les Muguets’ (Lily of the Valley)‘Les Muguets’ by Hubert de Givenchy



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Fashion Show, Menswear, Fall Winter 2011, Milan

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1932LALIQUE 'LILY OF THE VALLEY' CRYSTAL PERFUME BOTTLELalique ‘Lily of the Valley’ crystal perfume bottle 1932



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Jean berthet 1964Jean Berthet 1964



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Van Cleef and Arpels Lucky – charm nature Muguet clip, platinum, diamonds and emeraldsVan Cleef and Arpels lucky-charm ‘Muguet’ clip in platinum, diamonds and emeralds


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wedding of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier, Monaco in April, 1956, dress designed byMGM wardrobe designer Helen RoseGrace Kelly at her wedding to Prince Rainier, Monaco April 1956 in a dress designed by MGM wardrobe designer Helen Rose



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“A LONDONER IN PARIS”: MAY 2014



 
A-Gent of Style arrived in gai Paree last night for a short week (next Monday is Labour Day in France) to resume his series “A Londoner in Paris” and to work on two exciting forthcoming features. Stay tuned, chers amis.

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