IN BRUNO FRISONI’S SHOES: IDYLLIC LIFE AND VILLA IN TANGIERS




It’s in the cosmopolitan, bustling port city of Tangiers – the now hip Moroccan crossroads where Northern Africa meets Europe, the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean, and hedonism and history seem to intermix – that Bruno Frisoni comes and takes refuge from the intoxicating but all-consuming life he leads in Paris as artistic director of the luxury shoe and accessories French company Rogier Vivier – credited with the design of the first stiletto heel and renowned internationally since the 1950s for encasing the feet of a discerning clientèle ranging from Ava Gardner, Lee Radziwill to Catherine Deneuve and of course Queen Elizabeth II, a staunch customer since her Coronation in 1953.


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 Published in both AD France and Vogue magazines (with text, in the latter, by
über stylish Hamish Bowles – see by yourself here) in the last few weeks,
A-Gent of Style drooled over the photographs of the ravishing abode Frisoni and his partner, the contemporary furniture designer Hervé Van Der Straeten, created for themselves in the wind-blown and charming Moroccan enclave, a typical melting pot between Moorish, Hispanic, Art Deco, French Riviera and of course Arabic influences. A new generation of globe-trotting, jet-setting artists, socialites and expats like Frisoni and Van Der Straeten (the trend-setting ‘A’ gays have flocked
en masse apparently – who else) have given this fabulously shabby port a new glamorous shine. Even the young king, the 45-year-old Mohammed VI, is an enthusiast, unlike his father – the late King Hassan II who ruled Morocco for
38 years – who was said to have despised Tangier.

Bruno Frisoni and Herve Van Der Straeten

Bruno Frisoni and Herve Van Der Straeten

 

After a few years of re-thinking and re-designing the look of their
“home away from home”but also collating intimate images from their personal experiences and mutual travels stretching from Aleppo in Syria,
Seville’s Casa de Pilatos to the Alhambra Palace of Granada and Damascus, the two designers built an architecturally and detail strong, 300 sq.m. jewel box that juxtaposes tradition and modernity. Whilst the uncluttered and streamlined feel of the first floor sitting room and master bedroom oozes the sophistication of the western world (and especially Parisian art and design galleries), the eclectic second floor comprising the study and fumoir boast intricate Mashrabiya fretted woodwork, elaborate plasterwork, sober Roman arches and monastic arcades reminiscent of the surrealist paintings of Giorgio de Chirico – all locally crafted – that happily cohabit with an injection of colourful and bright 1960s Pop Art-inspired paraphernalia.
With its chic white Carrara marble floors laid throughout the house, its either cloudless, sky-blue or white-washed walls and ceilings, Frisoni’s villa radiates an undeniable air of ethereal tranquillity and relaxed elegance. As for the third floor, an open-air patio enjoys gorgeous panoramic views of the city and the port, and enticing areas to relax in the shade and the cooling breeze.

With such inspirational, picture-perfect locale and the same amount of delightful whimsicality found in Frisoni’s interiors as his sculptured shoes,
A-Gent of Style has now no more excuses to decline a friend’s invitation to holiday in Tangiers this year. All for the sake of research, of course…




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Bruno Frisoni in his study. Modernist Crittal windows (you can view here A-Gent of Style’s special feature on Crittals), a pair of bespoke banquettes built by a Moroccan craftsman A small, round, silver ‘Capsule’ coffee table by Hervé Van Der Straeten and a vintage Migeon et Migeon lamp on the right-hand side. Unfussy window treatment, curtains in a Dedar fabric.



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Geometric, coffered ceiling. Turquoise fabric on the curtains this time in this shoot for Vogue. Vintage Modernist furniture.



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In the sitting room, on the left, a vintage silver coffee table, a 1970s lamp, a pair of wooden chairs and a pair of armchairs. Two ‘Capsule’ white lacquered metal round coffee tables and a ‘Virevolte’ alabaster and bronze ceiling light by Hervé Van Der Straeten.
Crittal French doors. Dedar fabric on the sofa.


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A bespoke Art Deco-inspired, Carrara marble fireplace in keeping with the floor, with two vases and a ceramic bowl by Olivier Gagnère. A Thebes stool in the foreground.



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For this Vogue shoot, the sofa was swapped by the two lattice-backed chairs and, in the right-hand corner, a bench upholstered in leather that looks like a vintage Eileen Gray.



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Klismos chairs and an Ettore Sottsass-esque table from by Hervé Van Der Straeten.



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In ‘le petit salon’, a vintage club armchair, found in the Flea Market of Saint- Ouen, Paris, from Christian Sapet, upholstered in a shiny teal (!!) faux-leather. Moroccan tables sourced locally. Intricate fretwork and plasterwork.


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Entrance to the kitchen: Moroccan keyhole arch and door, traditional elements of Islamic architecture. White Carrara on the kitchen worktop and splashback.



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In the monastic-looking hallway, a console table, wall sconces and cubist lamp lantern, all by Hervé Van der Straeten. Selection of vintage ceramics.
Full length curtains enhance the dramatic ceiling height.



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An old Chinese chair, Iznik vase,  jaguar head sculpture made of Mexican pearls and a Syrian lantern.



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In the Pop Art, primary-colour red and yellow smoking room, cushions
and a pebble-shaped ashtray by India Mahdavi, yellow fabric by Dedar on the customised banquettes, a pair of red coffee tables by Hervé Van der Straeten and a ceramic and metal ashtray by Roger Capron. Stools from Habitat.


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A vibrant corner with a charming echoing of gold details.


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A fresh-looking sitting room with a soothing palette abound with traditional Moroccan motifs.


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In the master bedroom, instead of a painting, an old Moroccan door found in Rabat presides over the bed. A black and white polka dots embroidered bedspread, possibly from François Gilles.
A white bedside table by Hervé Van der Straeten with a vintage 1970s lamp found in Saint-Ouen. Two white varnished Chinese stools by Asiatides.


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A-Gent of Style‘s favourite item in the villa: an ingenious and beautifully sculpted marble step paves the way to the traditional Syrian-inspired bathroom directly opposite the bed.


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Sunken bath and striking black and white horizontal tiles in this spa-room.
Two turquoise and white Chinese ceramic stools (and a Goyard monogrammed washbag. Le Sigh).



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A vibrant souk-like guest bedroom swathed in multifarious vintage fabrics, possibly from François Gilles, and shoe-patterned, embroidered bedspread, possibly Frisoni’s own sketches,
and a Chiavari chair.



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Two AA Butterfly armchairs and a red lacquered ‘Capsule’
by Hervé Van Der Straeten in the exotic but shady patio.



– Photos by Vogue (François Halard) & AD France –




BLOWING IN THE WIND: ISABELLA BLOW





This week promises to be full of exciting projects, events and invitations
for A-Gent of Style who will be revealing the various subjects that are enthralling him in the course of the next two weeks.




Last weekend, whilst flicking through a magazine, A-Gent of Style came across a photo of Lady Gaga, circa 2010, arriving at a party with a diamond-encrusted lobster headpiece. A-Gent couldn’t help thinking that, whilst the popstar did turn heads wearing said crustacean on her head, there was nothing new, surprising or original about this statement. It had been done before. To be precise, it was in 1998 at a Julien Macdonald’s London Fashion Week show that the Surrealist and Dali-esque ornament had made a first apparition on the head of the incomparable Isabella Blow.




The late fashion editor and stylist Isabella Blow, who started her career as
Anna Wintour’s assistant at US Vogue then worked for Tatler, British Vogue and the Sunday Times Style as editor before returning to Tatler as fashion director, is being honoured in a new exhibition at Somerset House 
aptly named Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! in partnership with
the Isabella Blow Foundation and Central Saint Martins.

Curated by Shonagh Marshall and Alistair O’Neil, and styled by Amanda Harlech, this retrospective of her life and career, starting this Wednesday until March 2, 2014, will provide an intimate portrait of a formidable woman throughout 500 odd pieces from her wardrobe, and reinstate her legacy and its significance after her untimely death in 2007 (she drank a bottle of weedkiller after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer and suffering from long-term depression; her seventh suicide attempt in fourteen months proved to be fatal).



Due to her extravagant taste and insatiable, passionate approach to life, Issie, as she was known to her close friends, had accumulated an impressive and expensive collection of clothes – which left her impoverished most of her life – which was bought in its entirety in 2010 by her long-standing friend Daphne Guinness, another iconic muse of the fashion world and art-director of the exhibition.

This intimate portrait of the eccentric Blow will represent many models and designers whose career Blow helped launch: Sophie Dahl, Stella Tennant, Hussein Chalayan, Julian Macdonald, Viktor & Rolf, John Galliano and of course her protégés Philip Treacy and Alexander McQueen.




Blow was presumably misunderstood by many and unfairly represented by the media as a flighty, provocative enfant terrible of fashion living in a fickle, airy-fairy world, which would probably explain why Blow used her outfits as a protective armour to protect herself from the outside world. 

It is not only the sensational collection of clothes, arguably one of the most important private ones of the last twenty years, nor the legendary figure’s timeless and inimitable style that are the focus of Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! but it is also aimed as an appreciation and re-evaluation of her wonderful spirit, her fearless and original character and also her bigger-than-life and somewhat tragic life, away from the limelight, the smeared red lipstick and the ostentatious headgear that became her trademark. 




As she turned up one morning at the Standard Hotel in Los Angeles adorning unselfconsciously another outlandish outfit of hers with an equally ostentatious headpiece, Isabella is quoted to have said “I don’t understand, everyone keeps saying, ‘Where’s the party?'”.




Unfortunately, most of us will not have had the privilege to go to a party
with ‘La Dame Bleue’ (as McQueen’s S/S 2008 collection dedicated to the memory of his dear friend was called) but at least Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! will provide us with a profusion of theatricality, style and ingenuity from a bona fide maverick.








Jeremy Langmead talked about employing Isabella Blow
at The Sunday Times Style Magazine and her incredible work as a fashion editor.


http://vimeo.com/78807054




MADEMOISELLE C



 

   

After ten years at the helm of Vogue Paris, Carine Roitfield, who resigned her editorship in January 2011, is the star of her very own documentary entitled Mademoiselle C, made by the same production team as The September Issue.




One of fashion’s most influential movers with an inimitable style – part punk, part provocatrice, wearing lashings of black Kohl eyeliner and Alaïa skintight leather – gives a rare inside glimpse into her world and chronicles her transition from Vogue to the launch of her new magazine “CR Fashion Book”. The chic 58-year-old grandmother and stylist features her inner circle of friends including Donatella Versace, Tom Ford, Karl Lagerfeld, Mario Testino, Riccardo Tisci, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Alexander Wang.

The film is now out on DVD. Perfect night in with ‘Galfriends’ and cocktails.









Have a great weekend, A-Gentees.



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