CHANGE UNIVERSE: Magazine Jewels
Marrakech | Shopping | Store GuideJune 3, 2008

Shopping Delights

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Marrakech has been the key commerce center since caravan traders set up camp here in the first millennium.

To outwit the merchants in the Medina's famous souks, you'll need a good sense of direction and razor-sharp bargaining powers! I went everywhere during these ten days and I have organized for you a small menu of my personal shopping delights. Enjoy!

Babouches

Most local crafts are still executed in the tiny workshops, many of which are to be found by walking north from place Jemaa el Fna p to Souk Marine. Marrakech is the capital of Morroco's maroquinerie (leather-working industry), and the most common exponent of the craft is the Babouche. The perky leather slippers are available all over the souqs, and as European fashion designers have incorporated them into their collections, local artisans have responded accordingly. Styles range from the classic pointy toe in canary yellow to the feminine styles adorned with tassels, sequins and etching work. At 100-150 dirahms, you can afford to buy several, which is recommended as the soles don't fare too well outdoors. Himmi 32-34 souk El Ghassoul Pres des Tenturiers- +212 024 390426

Akbar Delights

The boutique just near the Jemaa El Fna is a hit among le Jet, who pile in here to pick up their fine cotton pants, kaftans and scarf ensembles, fur trimmed bags and shawls, sequined slippers, antique skull caps and other riad-party garb. Although most of the pieces are made in India, they encapsulate the local vibe better than a lot of home-grown equivalents. The owners are collectors of antique photographs of Moroccan kings, many of which lines the walls of the boutique and showroom. Place Bab Fteuh Medina +(212) 071 661307

Beldi

The minuscule, wood-lined shop, which is located just inside the Jemaa El Fna entrance to the souk is unusual in that it actually has a front door. It's where Marrakech socialites like to shop. Owned by a pair of brothers whose family is well established in the city's rag trade, its European-style velvet jackets and trousers are certainly a cut above the rest. Impeccably finished linen pillowcases, cashmere blankets and fringed scarves very expensive but worthy! - 9-11 Soukiat Laksour, Bab Fleuh +212 024 44107

Mustafa Blaoui

This is the classiest, most beloved 'Best of Morocco' depot in town. It's a warehouse of a place that's crammed, racked, stacked and piled with floor-to ceiling irresistible -- lanterns, dishes, pots, bowls, vases, candlesticks, chandeliers, chests. If Mustafa does not have it, then you don't need it. He supplies a lot of the furnishings for local riads, even people who don't own a hotel will find it almost impossible to visit here and not fill a container lorry. Add to this the fact that Mustafa is an absolutely sweetheart. Check out the pictures in the gallery!- 142, Rue Bab Doukkala +(212) 024 385240

La Maison du Kaftan Marocain

It may have the unloved, rundown look of a vintage place but no, if you carefully explore and go to the hidden basement, it looks more like a hidden cavern of Ali Baba with the widest selection of Moroccan clothing for men, women and children in the souq, housed in a kitchy, but today very trendy palace-like space. Stock ranges from pantalon turque (traditional trousers for men), beautiful velvet jackets that remind me the Carnival in Venice and most interesting magnificent Brocard vintage kaftans that go for 20,000dh. Scouts from international fashion houses often drop by to place orders for inspiration 65, rue Sidi el Yamami +(212) 024 441051

Alyed Gallery

Owner Ouzid Mustafa has, in my opinion, one of the greatest specialty collections of vintage Moroccan and Berber jewelry, silver judaica and precious textiles. His small shop is easy to miss but if you go to Dar Charifa you will be able to find it easily. I went absolutely crazy with everything.- 66,rue Moassine Fha Chidmi +(212) 024 442961

Khartit Mustaph

Antique dusty old place filled with elegant mother-of-pearl inlay crafts and furniture, boho-style leather fringed Berber handbags, hundreds of semiprecious beads and stones, Orientalist paintings and sculptures and silver jewelry. I was talking so many pictures that Kharit asked me if I was really a journalist! -3-Fhai Chidmi Rue Moissine Marrakech+ (212) 0 24 442578

Nour Bougie

Sublime colorful candles are a must to take in your suitcase for a memorable evening at your place. A little far, 30 minutes drive from Marrakech, the trip is worth it. This incredible factory only with women workers (I was not able to photograph the work area this time, husbands get upset) is an example of good taste, elegance and charm. Different shapes, sizes and colors with encrusted Islamic motifs of calligraphy and khamsas. Check out the pictures!- 231,QI Sidi Ghanem +(212) 24 33 57 18 - www.nourbougie.com

I guess that is enough for now! I must prepare myself for an evening in my honor tonight. See you all!

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