Eclectic decor is all the rage right now and African prints particularly African wax prints (known as Ankara or dutch wax) have garnered tremendous success for their vibrant colors. Even though associated with African culture, wax fabrics are increasingly gaining popularity among those who are looking to incorporate ethnic touches to their homes.

 

Maison Château Rouge, a luxury clothing brand created by three brothers Fofana, Youssouf, and Mamadou has capitalized on that momentum to offer an African-inspired clothing line that is both urban and minimalist. This Parisian-based brand not only exudes Parisian flair but aptly blends African influences for which Paris is known for, particularly the vibrant quartier de Château Rouge, a pan African hub (think Harlem in New York City or Brixton in London) that houses ethnic restaurants shops, hair salons, barber shops, from the entire African diaspora

 

 

 

The use of wax fabric is not solely limited to clothing. I have personally purchased wax fabric by the ward to create my own tote bags, pillows and bed throw.  It really spruces up your decor without being overbearing or necessarily too loud.

Minimalist lovers can easily incorporate an accent piece with strong geometry patterns and a lovely pop of color.

Wax Print is our Favourite Fabric

Or use as a way to contrast a monochrome palette such as this couch:

Canapé Salon Coussins Appartement Paris Alix Thomsen

 

Or why not add a pop of color to bring out the dark theme of this room?   The strong geometrical pattern brings focus on the print itself without being distracting or cringe-inducing. In this example, the bedroom retains its minimalist appeal, but the global character makes it inviting, chic and contemporary.

 

Chambre Paris Appartement Alix Thomsen

Those reupholstered stools and pillows are also a good way to make an eclectic statement against that neutral charcoal painted wall. It draws the attention effortlessly.

 

xx, Kenza

Photography: Maison Château Rouge  and Constance Gennari via the socialite family 

I have been witnessing a paradigm shift in the fashion scene with the spread of gender fluidity which seeks to transcend unyielding social constructs. It is my belief that fashion can be leveraged as a way to rise above conformities. True fashion is an art form that transcends aesthetic and reveals strengths and vulnerabilities. It also affords an opportunity to decolonize space and reclaim agency by being bold, daring and unapologetic.

Power comes hand in hand with awareness. Awareness of self, along with the confidence to rise above ascribed stereotypes. Fashion within this frame can be waged as a political act of defiance against the status quo. To me, fashion was never meant to be a top-down concept, it is an artform design to empower ordinary men and woman to reclaim their identity. It is increasingly jarring for me to witness fashion houses that sorely miss the mark, settling behind luxury instead of guiding the thread to engender constructive discourse. Creating a collection for mere shock values misses the mark for what is shock value without eliciting a sense of self-retrospect (at the very least)?  Do we shock to merely be spoken about?  or do we shock to disrupt the comfortable gaze and make a political statement? Fashion should be revolutionary, rather than complacent. It should be undergirded with an agenda (political or social) to move our society forward.

One artist who understands those tenets is Morrocan designer Amine Bendriouich who amassed massive global attention with his brand ABCB which stands for Amine Bendriouich Couture & Bullshit.   The Marrakesh-based designer prides itself on creating bespoke pieces that are unisex, leaving it up to people to decide how they will dress.  Gender fluidity lies at the heart of his work; his collections are theme-based and designed by local villagers who blend traditional north african berber traditions with global urban influences. His irreplicable talent has garnered the attention of entertaining icons such as Usher and Will Smith, just to name a few.

xx, Kenza

 

 

 

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Image credits by Aurore de Bettignies via vogue magazine

Other images via Amine Bedriouich’s Instagram 

 

These past two weeks have been entirely grueling mentally and physically with the end of the fiscal year ending and work deadlines that got me stuck in the office working frantically to meet the rush of proposal deadlines that fall under my grants portfolio. Yes, working for a nonprofit can be tremendously rewarding, but at times it gets very stressful and is really no more different than working for any for-profit organizations.  In sum, stress got me looking forward to my November trip to Marrakesh! I’m beyond excited! And this beautiful boutique hotel is making me that much more eager. While I haven’t finalized my traveling plans just yet, I couldn’t resist sharing this beautiful gemstone that is the El Fenn hotel

Nestled just five minutes away from Djemaa el Fna, and surrounded by tree-filled courtyards, El Fenn offers a whimsical and shelter from the hustle and bustle of the city.

 

 

 

My eyes are simply fixed on this drop-dead gorgeous bathtub, oh how I wish I could be there right now.

 

 

What is there not to like? From this inviting mustard yellow velvet couch, Moroccan embroidery motifs, and french checker tiles which make this space completely spellbinding, just everything evokes complete relaxation.

It is no surprise that Morocco is considered the country of allure, magic, and mystery. Moroccan decor and architectural elements that draw inspiration from Islam are omnipresent, just as much as the Moorish architecture and earth tone colors that are so soothing to the eye, not to mention holds the soul hostage.

 

 

Oh, and those burgundy pink painted walls are so inviting and contrast with the previous bathroom seen earlier. And this silver clawfoot bathtub adds such a touch of sophistication!

What also makes this hotel so inviting is that it’s home to a lovely store that curates the best of what Marrakesh has to offer, from vintage accessories, leather goods, to pottery and jewelry, and even artwork all locally crafted with passion and love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Decisions, decisions.  Selecting a hotel has never been as difficult with the abundance of Ryads and boutique hotels found abound throughout the city. I still have a few weeks to book my hotel reservation, but I am definitely swooning over El Fenn hotel.

xx, Kenza

 

Photo credits: via El Fenn Hotel

 

This whimsical courtyard filled with luscious giant birds of paradise overlooking this emerald green plunge pool makes me want to get on a red-eye flight and head out to Marrakesh. It’s been many years since I have gone back to Morroco and the need to go back to my roots–the land of my ancestors is stronger than ever, especially after stumbling into this mesmerizing riad and its wondrous exotic courtyard. Located near the Pasha’s palace and just a few minutes from the Jamaa El Fna.

 

Nestled in the heard of Marrakesh’s medina, Villa Dar Cheref offers a reprieve from the scorching heat during the hot summer months. A lot of courtyards in Morroco have been built with the heat in mind, and the abundance of luscious exotic trees help keep this courtyard shaded and breezy.

 

 

 

I am also in swooning over this gorgeous lovely terrace and could see myself soaking up the sun on one of those lounge chairs, a world away from the daily LA hustle and grind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rest of this magical riad can be accessed here.

xx, Kenza

Photos credits: Villanova 

 

Finding the perfect nursery can be a hit or miss but a downright necessity if you want your plant to be happy and thrive! After buying a fiddle leaf tree at one of the bigger chain retailers, I learned an important lesson when my fiddle started dropping leaves due to a major bacterial infection which is something that cannot be overcome and has caused  (after money, labor and time wasted and 10 dropped leaves) my plant to be on her deathbed.  As you can tell where you buy your plant matters a great deal, so this time around, I did my research and stumbled upon Mickey Hargitay Plants.

If you’re in LA and love plants, you must check them out. This lush oasis which definitely lives up to the hype is located dead smack in the heart of LA and all I can say is that experience was beyond superlative, but more importantly, those plants were full of life.  Good thing hubby was there with me, because I would have went bankrupt!  Hubby and I found ourselves wandering around in all the corners nooks that housed such a wide variety of flowers, exotic plants, Buddha statues for all you yoga heads out there and a large selection of pottery and handmade woven baskets from local artists.  They have pretty everything, from ficus plants, lyrata, elastica, weeping figs, and they alreay carry pilea and snake plants; yaaaas.  This is such a zen place with a very friendly, helpful and knowledgeable staff.  I ended buying another fiddle leaf and some other plants, this time smaller, but it’s thriving here at home!

xx, Kenza