Jardin Majorelle Collection
J
Jardin Majorelle Collection
VIEW ALL PHOTOS
As I enter the discreet arch leading into Jardin Majorelle, I enter an enchanted garden of tropical trees and plants brought back to life with care and thoughtfulness by Pierre Berge and Yves Saint Laurent. In the far corner of the garden is a gem of a boutique curated by Stephen Renza, the former Creative Director of Alfred Dunhill. Renza has curated a stunning selection of handcrafted artisan textiles and design objects now shown exclusively through Esensual Living.

Where It All Began

After a long sejourn in Paris, Stephen di Renza moved to Fez in 1999. He was the first Western person to buy a riad in town which he entirely restored and turned into a magical guesthouse. Riad Numero 9 has become an institution in Fez.

It's in the process of restoring this medina house that I became interested in the local craftmanship. All the research I did came out of a natural curiosity. People were generous with their time and I went deeper and deeper into the process as I realised Fez offered the most remarquable savoir faire. A well hidden secret.

Stephen di Renza met with Pierre Bergé who, with Yves Saint Laurent, rescued from destruction the botanical garden designed in the 30ties by Jacques Majorelle. It is known today as the Jardin Majorelle and has become a major attraction in Marrakech. Both men found a community of interest in their love of Morocco and the local culture. Stephen di Renza was offered a job by Bergé as creative director for the Jardin Majorelle lines of accessoiries and fashion. He moved to Marrakech in 2013.

A Passion for Craftsmanship

I travelled all over the country, visiting up to twenty six workshops to select THE one that would, for example, work leather to perfection. Between its conception and the moment it gets to the boutique a product often goes through the hands of four to six different master artesans for the embroidery, the detailling, the finishing touches... Through our designs I aim to communicate a bit of the soul of the place.

Garnments are made out of the finest silks, throws and blankets of the lightest wool, bags and cushions the softest leather. Embosseled tea pots and trays with finely knitted leather handles are exposed in this exquisite boutique painted in Majorelle blue. The setting and goods all breathe high quality and refine esthetics. Great care is taken at all steps of the procedure.

All the raw materials are produced locally which often allows the revival of dwindling traditions. For our blankets and throws, instead of using dead wool as it's generally done here nowadays , I found an organic farm outside of Fez where I got them to sheer the animals alive which gives a super quality wool. It is then processed and woven on traditional looms. Everything here is hand made:the embroidery at a non profit women cooperative, the jewelry in Tiznit, a traditional silversmith region. As for our leather, which is exceptionally soft, it all comes from Morocco. Jardin Majorelle is the only brand to offer locally such exceptional quality goods.»

Colour for the Senses

Pierre Bergé often mentionned that Saint Laurent credited his bold sense of colour to Marrakech. This becomes perfectly obvious as one visits the rooms of the museum where are exposed a set of stunning outfits, that make us take up the measure of his extreme talent . So it is with the garden the architecture of which is painted in mediterraneen cobalt blue with shots of pink, white and yellow.

A source of inspiration is tucked away in the gardens, a few steps away from the fascinating Musée Berbère, which now displays his creations for the home and fashion that reflect an ancestral savoir faire. This non profit Foundation participates to the creation of scholarships and the preservation of indigenous architecture

Strong colour statements became an inspiration for Stephen di Renza when he started designing his lines for the boutique.

"Everyday I walk in the gardens. I look at what Saint Laurent saw. I am surrounded by what he liked. My colour ranges derive from the spirit of the place. As for the design, it reflects the beauty of islamic art, of traditional motifs. I work on the original design, strip it down, rescale and recolour it to get to the essence of it, to make it a tribute to Moroccan culture and know how while adapting it to our international visitors taste and style. When people bring back something from our boutique, they should feel something of the hand that made it with love and fine artistry. That is my goal and my tribute to this wonderful place, my way to acknowledge the involment of Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent for Marrakech and Morocco."

About Stephen di Renza

 Stephen di Renza was born in Philadelphia. After a BA in film study in NYU he became as a young man photo stylist for the magazine Interview.This started his carrier which was always focused in visual arts, developing products as a fashion then accessoiries and ultimately creative director for the luxury world.

In 1990, he went to Vietnam where his created lines for Habitat. He then became fashion director for Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman .

Other articles you will appreciate