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VILLA JOSEPHINE

James Andrew at Villa Josephine, Tangier. Click to enlarge.

Scott McBee and I were beyond thrilled to end our stay in Tangier at the incomparable Villa Josephine.

Simply put, Villa Josephine is perfection – an exceedingly rare place where dreams and actuality coalesce.

Poolside at Villa Josephine

It is not surprising that the villa has been coveted by a series of notable figures. The most famous of which was the British Walter Burton Harris (1866-1933). Times correspondent and author, his tumultuous life of adventure inspired the legend of Indiana Jones. The villa was also owned by the Duke of Tovar, a Spanish grandee, who after having led a lavish lifestyle, lost his money in circumstances that still remain somewhat of a mystery. In another incarnation, the villa was the summer residence of Glaoui, Pasha of Marrakech!

The bar at Villa Josephine.

Villa Josephine is now in the brilliant hands of Jean-Marie Fisse, who just gets everything right. The beds are clad in embroidered linen sheets, and heaped with cloud-like down pillows and comforters. The terrace tables are crisply set with Porthault table linens, and delicious cuisine is splendidly served. It’s a sort of English aristocrat’s retreat in Tangier, but with high French refinement. It is in fact the only place I would suggest one stay in Tangier, and is situated well for excursions into the rest of the city (if one can tear oneself from the Josephine grounds!).

Chambre 6 at Villa Josephine.

The Villa Josephine dining room.

Porthault table linens – VIlla Josephine.

There are the most spectacular views from Villa Josephine of the Strait of Gibraltar – French Riviera with an African twist – it’s all magic and beauty.

From chambre 6 at Villa Josephine.

McBee and I plan to return to Tangier at the end of this August – it probably goes without saying that several days at Villa Josephine will be in order.

For our farewell dinner in Tangier at Villa Josephine (top) I’m sporting a Tom Ford floral dinner jacket, black linen pants, blue silk brocade slippers, a Moroccan style shirt by Gucci, Cartier Tank Divan Watch, Charvet black silk pocket square, and my fragrance is Tom Ford Madarino di Amalfi.

James Andrew – dressed for a farewell lunch at Villa Josephine.

(Above) Dressed for our final day in Tangier and our farewell luncheon with a collection of fabulous friends at Villa Josephine, I’m wearing a Tom Ford blue and ivory silk glen plaid jacket, de Valsco Tangier pale blue linen Moroccan style shirt, Polo Ralph Lauren ivory and blue linen pin stripe pants, Gucci leopard espadrilles, Charvet silk retro print pocket square, Cartier Tank Divan watch and my fragrance is Madini Tangier gardenia.

LES MAISONS DE TANGER

James Andrew on the grounds of Veere Grenney’s Tangier home.

The best of Tangier is often hidden behind walls and doors. One could say this is a great part of its allure! Thankfully we’re blessed to have friends like Monica di Valmarana to help open those exclusive doors, revealing some of the great splendors that lie beyond.

As you may recall we recently shared our friend Veere Grenney’s terrific tome, Veere Grenney: A Point of View on Decorating. On our recent trip to Tangier we were thrilled to be treated to a luncheon at “Gazebo,” Grenney’s home, and given a tour through the glorious grounds. It was an absolute dream! I’ve included a few snaps here but one must really get his book to see more – the last chapter, entitled “Home at Last,” is dedicated to his beloved Tangier!

In Veere Grenney’s Tangier home.

Veere Grenney’s home.

Veere Grenney’s home.

Veere Grenney’s gardens.

Veere Grenney’s dining room.

Another fabulous friend, fellow designer Nicolò Castellini Baldissera, invited us to a super chic cocktail party and dinner at his villa (which happened to have graced the cover of World of Interiors a few years ago). I was so enthralled by the beauty of it all that I had to return in the daylight to get a better look at the intimate gardens. Luckily for us, Baldissera has created the most beautiful soon to be released book, Inside Tangier: Houses & Garden, which promises to bring us more of the spectacular homes there along with a virtual introduction to some of their eccentric inhabitants! Pre-order your copy today – coming September 18th!

James Andrew at Nicolò Castellini Baldissera’s Tangier home.

At Nicolò Castellini Baldissera’s Tangier home.

Nicolò Castellini Baldissera’s Tangier home.

At Nicolò Castellini Baldissera’s Tangier home.

James Andrew at At Nicolò Castellini Baldissera’s Tangier home.

Dressed for a luncheon at Grenney’s beloved “Gazebo” (top), I’m sporting a Tom Ford pale blue linen “Shelton” suit, white cotton shirt and silk pocket square in grays and blues, Seaman Schepps pearl and pale blue sapphire cufflinks, Cartier Tank Divan watch, Polo Ralph Lauren blue leather driving mocs, and my fragrance is Tom Ford Madarino di Amalfi.

Touring Baldissera villa and garden (seventh picture from top), I’m sporting a black cashmere Moroccan style jacket by Olas – Tangier, Michael Kors ivory knit shirt, Tom Ford royal blue cotton pants, Gucci leopard espadrilles, a Lock & Co hat, Cartier Tank Divan Watch, Tom Ford “Marco” sunglasses, and my fragrance is Madini Tangier gardenia.

RETURN TO TANGIER

James Andrew in the Kasbah Museum garden. Click to enlarge.

Dressed for an afternoon exploring the Kasbah, I’m sporting a Tom Ford royal and ivory glen plaid silk jacket and ocean blue silk pocket square, Liberty of London floral print shirt, Paul Stuart blue and white ribbon belt, Uniqlo white jean, Polo Ralph Lauren blue leather driving mocs, Cartier Tank Divan, Lock & Co stray hat, and my fragrance is Madini Tangier gardenia.

As many of you may remember, WIJW made a journey to Tangier back in 2017 and were mesmerized by the place. We’ve been plotting a return ever since and thankfully we just recently made a tremendous return to Tangier. My beloved Scott Mcbee and I had not taken a proper holiday in ages and so we were more than happy to treat ourselves to an extended stay, giving us ample time to luxuriate and catch up with our fab collection of friends there.

On our recent stay, we managed to discover even more of the elusive charms and beauty of Tangier. Getting lost in the Kasbah is always a treat and a visit to the Kasbah Museum and Garden is a terrific treat. When in the Kasbah. a lunch at Salon Bleu is always a good idea with its divine cuisine and incredible vistas – and a stroll through the Laure Welfling gallery should certainly be included.

The Kasbah Museum courtyard.

On our last visit, we stayed at the legendary El Minzah Hotel. It opened its doors in 1930 at the command of John Crichton-Stuart, the 4th marquis of Lord Bute (a British aristocrat with extensive interests in the area). It was a Moroccan/Andulusian confection in the tradition of the grand hotel of yesteryear. Located near the medina, it is terribly handy to all the must-see sights, restaurants and boutiques. Needless to say we were excited to return there, but we were in for a pretty huge disappointment. Sadly the hotel has recently been subjected to a rather hideous refurbishment – bathrooms redone with commercial tile (think: something below a Home Depot find); industrial looking wall to wall carpet in the hallways; cheap fabric and tile throughout the hotel – all very in le goût Saddam Hussein. I am utterly baffled by this, seeing that there really is no shortage of Moroccan artisans and craftsman! The hotel could have been refurbished with the most marvelous Moroccan materials – instead it was just cheap and soulless. One wants to feel like one is in Morocco! Luckily none of the architecture has been messed with, so there is hope that a tasteful redecoration could happen – fingers crossed – El Minzah could be rather fabulous once again. Until such time, I cant say I would suggest it to anyone. This is definitely not up to WIJW standards.

The Kasbah Museum Garden.

It was a bit of a struggle for me at El Minzah. As a decorator, I am extremely sensitive to my surroundings, so, alas, I spent way too much time thinking what I would have done differently with the design and decoration. Luckily my exquisite friends provided endless distraction – especially Monica di Valmarana who was instrumental in sharing some of the sometimes elusive beauty and charm of Tangier – she organized a lovely luncheon at the seaside restaurant – L’Ocean. It is certainly one of the best restaurants in Tangier – no wonder the chicest of the chic Tangerinos are always dining here.

Additionally, di Valmarana opened up some of the creative heart of Tangier – the sources available in Tangier for tiles, wicker, rattan, pottery, etc., as well as clothing. Olas, an off shoot of de Velasco, has branched out on their own and are doing marvelous things. In fact, I will be doing a bit of custom clothing with them – kaftans and jackets in Taroni fabrics. Stay tuned!

James Andrew in the El Minzah hotel courtyard.

Whilst at El Minzah enjoying the courtyard, I’m wearing a Gucci white cotton safari jacket, lilac linen Moroccan style shirt from De Velasco, Tom Ford floral pants, Polo Ralph Lauren white leather driving mocs, Cartier Tank Divan watch , and my fragrance is
Madini Tangier gardenia.