CHANGE UNIVERSE: Magazine Jewels
Marrakech | PeopleMay 27, 2008

Queen Nour of Marrakech

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She is Brazilian, the color of her eyes, aquamarine and her astrological sign, like mine, an intensive double Scorpio. The Hippie-chic, Boho, Euro-gypsy-glam-girl, Adriana Bittencourt is my friend.

Renowned internationally as a successful, trendy fashion accessories designer, she had formerly been selling her designs out of a charming boutique in the heart of São Paulo. The shop is filled with custom jewelry, good luck charms, Brazilian amulets (reflecting her country culture), Texan Cowboy hats, Djellabas, Kaftans and beach and Yacht-wear cover ups.

Her limited series wrist watches, sandals, cell phone accessories and jewelry are custom designed for Brazilian companies like Guerreiro and Nokia. They enhance the sparkle of Jet-setters worldwide, especially on the Saint-Tropez-Ibiza-Saint Barth-Capri-London and Paris circuits.

With archetypes like Talitha Guetty, the muse of Yves Saint Laurent during the 60s, Adriana a few years ago confided to me she had a dream: Like Talitha she wished to have a living role in the "Magic, Red City of Marrakech and among others, own her personal Petit Palais that today she calls Ryad Nour meaning light.

Talitha had a style she made her own, tossing together Yves Saint Laurent, Palestinian wedding dresses, Ossie Clark, Valentino couture, Balinese wraps, little white leather boots and piles of dramatic Kenneth Jay Lane fake jewelry with a bohemian aplomb that Kate Moss might envy and Diana Vreeland think is terrific.

And, unconsciously, like some fascinating women at the turn of the century, icons that Andriana in the mist of her youth probably doesn't know yet, Misia Sert in Paris, the baroness Karen Von Blixen in Africa, and princess Gayatri Devi, the Maharani in India, she chooses to pick her part-time destiny in the Marrakech Medina renouncing her friends, her family, a comfortable life in São Paulo, as well as her faith of origin; she has now converted devotedly to Islam.

I am now in her newly renovated terrace with the help of a long time Brazilian friend of mine and partner, the interior designer Beto Galvez. We are sunbathing overlooking Jean Paul Gaultier roofs, drinking fresh lemonade with mint, honey and ginger, a recipe I brought a few years ago from Rishikesh in the foot of the Himalayas. Latifa, her cook, is discussing with her why the Moroccan eggplant appetizers do not taste like the others. Latifa's a cook temporarily borrowed from a Casablanca entrepreneur -- a friend and today a mentor Adriana met in Saint Tropez .

I try to concentrate on Latifa's explanation with attention but I can't help being overwhelmed by the mixture of smells and sounds of Juoao Gilberto's Bossa Nova, Eagles Hotel California, Rolling Stones Angie and the 12 o clock call for the salat prayers coming from all the mosques in each and every roof speaker adjacent to our ryad.

While she learns Arabic and belly dance, I beg her to understand not to necessarily expect from her servants the same treatment she gets from her Brazilian nanny of 20 or more years. I know for sure I am the one losing the battle.

Everywhere next to Adriana these days, in the Souqs with suppliers, at the Arab Baths for royal treats or at her favorite restaurant the traditional Dar Moha and former residence of fashion designer Pierre Balmain in the 70's or Villarosa alone or in company of royal family acquaintances, night scene key personas, French and Brazilians guests in the world of fashion, design and entertainment, we were treated with respect and devoted hospitality surrounded by Hassans, Salims, Abdallahs, Youssis, Noureddines, Muhammads, Camils, Simon Hameds, Nassers and plenty of Abdul Salams.

I am tired from the intensity of the day, I walk my way to the princess green room, a tone carefully picked by 80 year old interior designer Bill Willis, the undisputed maestro of grand Arab-chic homes of part-time Marrakechis like Yves Saint Laurent and Bernard-Henri Levy. Bill no longer is professionally active but was wittily charmed by Adriana with a smile and a Brazilian Figa amulet. Several pillows with small elephants from India are neatly organized on my bed.

Finally sitting on a charming Syrian mother-of-pearl inlaid chair, Adriana tells me she decided to give herself a Sabbatical year.  She'll evaluate the possibilities of partnerships in the real estate business, spending time in the creation of her Nour collection consisting of expensive and luxurious Kaftans, home fragrances, embroidered beach bags and the lifestyle of being one of the most talked-about hostesses in the mysterious Red Clay city.

I look at her, smile, and realize that only a few months in Marrakech during her sabbatical year, my dear friend and 'little sister' Adriana Bittencourt already reigns supreme.

Today listen to the song: Cest la Vie

Joelle on Adrian's Tips:

The Interior Designers Beto Galvez e Nórea De Vitto / São Paulo Tel: + 55 (11) 3085-5035 /(11) 3062-1913/ E- mail: contato@bninteriores.com.br

The Restaurants: Dar Moha 81,rue Dar El Bacha Medina, Marrakech

Reservations:+ 212 24 38 62 64 -E-mail: darmoha.ma

Villa Rosa Restaurant Reservations: +212 24 44 96 35- Email: villarosamarrakech@yahoo.fr

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