One of the trendier shops in the souk, +Michi would fit right in on a street in NoLita in New York or the Marais in Paris. The owners, who are Japanese and Moroccan, have brought a slightly urban edge to Moroccan crafts, so you will find traditional babouche style slippers crafted out of industrial grain sacks. The one-of-a-kind tops and coats have a Marrakech meets Tokyo trendy quality.
33 Rue Majorelle
This new concept store just outside the Medina has been likened to Paris’ Colette. The collections were curated by plugged-in stylist Monique Bresson and feature the fashion and home wares of some fifty designers. Kaowa, a juice bar, is also on the premises.
Click here to read a Q&A with one of 33 Rue Majorelle’s owners.
Tucked just around the corner from the Place Jemaa El Fna, Akbar Delights sells some of the most stylish kaftans and Moroccan-influenced fashion in Marrakech. When Yann Dory and Isabelle Duchet-Annez, a worldly brother and sister team who settled in Marrkach, opened Akbar in 2004, it was the first boutique in the souk owned by expats. And while most of the products are made in India, they capture the Morocco vibe in a refined way. Akbar is known for colorful thin cotton cover-ups, which are often embellished with embroidery or sequins. You will also find attractive evening bags, pillows and objects. The brand has been such a hit that Akbar items can be found at Akbar in Paris as well as stylish hotels throughout Morocco like Amanjena and Ksar Char Bagh. In recent years, the proprietor has expanded her buying to include unusual housewares as well, such as bronzed antlers, West African sculptures and wooden cartouches, which were once used as contracts. Akbar displays only a few of these. For more, you should visit Moor and the Akbar Showroom.
With no sign on the door, Atelier Moro remains a bit of an insider secret, even if you do have the address. You will have to knock on the large wooden door and wait for a salesperson to descend the very steep stairway that leads to the second story shop. It is worth the sleuthing to find the boutique, though, because it is one of the best shops in the city. Run by a former manager of the Riad El Fenn, Viviana Gonzalez, Atelier Moro sells some of the best crafts made by other designers as well as some original designs. Look for soft embroidered kaftans, fabric wraps from West Africa, calf skin saddle bags with vivid red trim, suede satchels adorned with silver hands of Fatima, great silver jewelry and fun glass numeral rings. Closed Friday.
On one of the main shopping streets in Guéliz, or the new town, is a non-descript looking shoe store called Atika. But do not pass it by. Inside, you will find leather and suede shoes for men, women and children. Some are exact copies of Tod’s driving shoes; others attractive derivations of other classic shoe designs, but all are very well made and fabulously priced. The Tod’s like moccasins, which come in dozens of colors and skins begin at 40 euros. Suede tasseled loafers with wooden soles are 45 euro. Tall black suede boots with a stacked heel and lovely detailing like those sold by Michael Kors sells for 120 euros. Hugely popular are the suede and leather simple slip-ons in the back that are incredibly comfortable and only 30 euros. Some women buy a dozen at a time. There is a small selection of children’s shoes by the cash register, but at the beginning of the same street, the sister store Tesoruccio, sells many more. Closed Sundays.
Au Fil d’Or
This small shop in the souk has a cult following among repeat visitors to Marrakech. The owner makes kaftans, shirts and jackets with traditional elements but a flair that appeals to a Western customer. You will need to descend to the lower floor to see samples. Among the most popular are the velvet and Moroccan cashmere jackets (around $250) with embroidered trim, which come in blazer and coat lengths and the suede babouche slippers. If you do not see exactly what you like, Mohammed will have it made within a few days and ships FedEx to the U.S. regularly. His nephew has opened the more modern accessories shop Zenobie. Closed Friday
Nawal El Hriti designs simple, sophisticated caftans and djellabas, all hand-embroidered with silk thread by Berbers and with variations like deep necklines and fluted sleeves. Prices are a lot higher than in the souks (from around $158), but we’re talking high-quality fashion here. It’s best to visit near the beginning of your trip, as El Hriti gets busy, and it can take a few days to make you something. Call ahead, as opening hours can be sporadic.
Marrakech Bohemian life is the boutique’s motto, and here you will find local classics like kaftans and straw bags with a hippie twist, like peace signs and fringe; leather poufs in pastel and metallic colors; or cowboy boots in kilim. And yes, you will find the colorful Moroccan slippers, babouches, for which the store is named.
Popular with Marrakech socialites and the likes of Paloma Picasso, this chic little den offers lush velvet coats, hemstitched caftans and loose linen shirts. Considered the haute couturier of Marrakech, the wizard behind Beldi sells kaftans that are all made of the finest silks and crepe de chine with detailed embroidery. Many expats come to view the vintage fabrics that he imports and order custom pieces.
The huge, brilliant new boutique is a boho heaven, with sequined and embroidered caftans, linen dresses and stylishly cut jackets, hooded djellabas, sparkly slippers and top-quality knock-off designer handbags. They can alter things overnight and also make things from scratch. Everything is wearable, and all prices are negotiable. This is the shop that crafts many of the coverups and blouses that are sold at Calypso in the States, but here they can be customized and bought at slightly lower prices.
Boutique Fadila el Gadi
Until recently the modern Moroccan fashions of Fadila el Gadi could only be found in her shop in Tangers, the boutiques at La Mamounia or Ksar Char Bagh or at her showroom. Now she has a small but exclusive boutique of her own at the Bab Hotel. You will find her lusciously embroidered kaftanesque coats, sheer silk kaftan cover-ups, billowing printed blouses and wonderful one-of-a-kind leather bags and chunky beaded accessories.
Créations et Passementerie
The narrow, non-descript entry to this shop is deceiving. Make your way inside and you will find two floors of colorful fashions and accessories. The ground floor contains racks of silk and cotton caftans and blouses as well as the cotton throws that are great for bed coverings. Upstairs, you will find the tassels and embroidery trimds from which the store gets its name. Tassels of every color are sold along with pom-poms, decorative balls, silk cords and ribbons as well as jewelry and bags adorned with them.
El Iouami Ahmed
On the narrow shopping street in the medina, just next door to Kasbek, is the shop and atelier of raffia shoe maker Ahmed El Iouami. There’s a work table in the front room and many styles on display in the room next door, from colorful pointed slippers and slides to sandals and striped loafer like models. All are made of woven raffia with leather soles. A twig ladder leads upstairs to where he keeps even more so if no one is visible in the shop, give a holler and he will descend. If he doesn’t have your size or you want a different color or variation on a style, he can do custom work quickly. Closed Fridays.
Beatrice Paul worked for Claude Montana for almost twenty years before moving to Marrakech. Her specialty is turning traditional Moroccan djellabas into sophisticated eveningwear that is suitable for Paris or New York but with a mystical flair.
One of the trendy Moroccan shops that have opened near the Majorelle Gardens, Hadaya has fun leather pouches, jewelry and fashions.
Jardin Majorelle Boutique
Not your average tourist site gift shop, the Boutique at the Jardin Majorelle carries some of the best Moroccan crafts and fashions. Shoppers get to wend their way through the glorious gardens to arrive at this boutique. The prices are not cheap but the selection is well curated by Bernard Sanz, who worked with Yves Saint Laurent for years, and many of the top local designers have created exclusive lines for him. Products range from vintage photos and prints to colorful leather accessories, silk embroidered pillows and unusual ceramics and jewelry.
Australian Cassie Karinsky and her business partner, Rebecca Wilford, are among those making more interesting fashion in the medina. Inspired by the glamour of the ‘60s jet-set expats who elevated the djellaba to evening wear, they are creating flowy tunics in solid clingy fabrics that drape and shape in elegant ways. Their fun blousy tops in colorful fabrics have been snapped up by stylish buyers in the U.S. and can be found in shops like Carleen Ligozo in Southampton. However, their most interesting pieces are those that they have refashioned from vintage kaftans that they have bought in the markets and from Moroccan woman. Their prized fabrics may silver and lacey or silky electric green woven with gold thread or deep emerald velvet adorned with silver sequined beads in a floral motif. Anderson and her partner clean the garments and recut them for a more refined fit or shape, creating, for instance a slim-fitting long jacket out of a kaftan. Other popular items are the fabulous brass bangles, cowrie shell necklaces, rainbow striped nylon market bags and cotton wraps that you’ll find rolled up in a basket. Open seven days.
UPDATE: Kasbek has moved into Aya’s at the address above.
On her first trip to Morocco, French woman Stéphanie Bénetière fell instantly in love with the country’s colors and tradition of craftsmanship. She works with local artisans to create beautiful clothes for men, women and children as well as house wares, which she sells in her three boutiques in Morocco (Marrakech, Casablanca and Essaouira). You’ll find everything from lace-up suede corset belts and leather satchels with colorful embroidery to colorful children’s djellaba nightgowns and suede throw pillows. Great for the one-stop shop for gifts.
KIS (Keep It Secret)
Originally a by-appointment store launched by Brazilian jet-setter Adriana Bittencourt, KIS is now open to the public. The collections are still edited with a keen sense of style and include the wares of Moroccan designer Karim Bouriad, Stella H and Toile et Cuire leather goods, as well as some stylish clothes and accessories that were designed exclusively for KIS. Now it is much easier to find as a large wooden sign in signature turquoise is propped in the lane outside pointing the way. Upstairs you will also find a new terrace café.
Ksar Char Bagh
The exquisite small hotel, Ksar Char Bagh, in the Palmeraie only welcomes outside guests for dinners but if you do come, be sure to visit the series of gift shops that are arranged like a traditional village, with five different mud brick buildings. You may have to stoop to enter the low doorways of each house but within you will find one filled with kaftans, another displaying jewelry, another housewares, and another devoted to Morocco-inspired and appropriate bath and beauty products and so on.
La Maison du Kaftan
As the name suggests, this shop specializes in caftans, ranging from cotton-embroidered ones to elaborate velvet and silk embroidered designs. In addition, there are wonderful linens for the table or bed with hand embroidery.
French party planner and stylist Laetitia Trouillet, who has become the city’s most famous personal shopper. She has escorted celebrity interior designers from L.A., fashion designers from New York, even Gwyneth Paltrow and Sarah Jessica Parker through the maze-like souk in search of treasures and now she has opened her own boutique. Under the design label Lalla, Trouillet fashions charming handbags from straw bags with metallic embellishments to silk pouch evening clutches with tasseled zippers as well as funky leather and vintage fabric totes. Open every day 10am-6pm
Click here to shop Lalla
Here you’ll find traditional but wearable handmade caftans (from about $200) in beautiful silks and high-quality cotton. It’s rumored that the Moroccan king shops here. If you see exactly what you want, ask; many items can be made to measure.
Fashions have been sold in the medina since the 12th century but never before have the walls held a “concept shop” mixing many designers’ work in a space that feels like a stylish salon. Just across from the Mouassine fountain, a massive wooden door reveals a wonderland of modern Moroccan designs. The visionaries behind Maktoub are Belgians Jan Pauwels and Moroccan Maximilien Scharl who have lived in Morocco for years and sold their clothes under the label Max & Jean at chic hotel shops, their own boutiques and 33 Rue Majorelle. Their motto is “Glam in the Medina,” and they have been true to it. You’ll find elegant flowing caftans and fabulous jersey pieces with embroidered necklines in bold contrasting colors. Slinky t-shirt dresses, brightly colored leggings and ruched cotton tops mix with necklaces that use traditional Berber elements to make ethnic chic statement pieces. Everything from the children’s clothing and housewares to bath products and yes, skateboards, are made in Morocco by up-and-coming artisans and designers who bring a modern vibe to traditional techniques. Berber rugs, art books, photographs and a cozy seating section around a corner fireplace lend a warmth to the space, as does the friendly stylist Joao who is often on hand to steer shoppers through the collection. Open daily 10 to 5.
Michèle Baconnier Boutique
On a tiny street off of Rue de la Liberté, just down from Moor, French expat Michèle Baconnier has a charming boutique that is piled high with all sorts of colorful treasures, from whimsical leather slippers with polka dot embroidery and extravagantly embellished kaftans to silver Berber jewelry and Suzani-esque boots. Baconnier herself is often in the shop to help customers navigate the huge selection and find sizes. In addition to all of the clothing, Baconnier sells fantastic suzanis, linens and ceramics. Sarah Jessica Parker shopped here when filming Sex and the City 2. Do not miss Michèle’s gorgeous necklaces, which she makes by sewing semi-precious stones on to fabric. Closed Sundays.
The famous Moroccan market bags that you see everywhere can be customized here with initials, designs or fun sayings. They come in many sizes and shapes.
Dating back to French colonial days, Place Vendome is a leather institution. The large shop in the new town has been selling leather and suede bags and clothes to visiting Europeans for more than fifty years, so the styles are more classic (some straight knock-offs) than they are trendy but the quality is excellent. In addition to leather wallets, tote bags, carry-ons and hand bags of all shapes and sizes, you will find super soft suede shirts in Hermès orange and floor length suede dusters for a tenth of the cost that they would be at Loro Piana. They even make exquisite custom saddles. If you don’t see exactly what you want, ask if they can make it and chances are they will have it finished in a few days or they can ship. Closed Sundays.
Sylvie Pissard combines a spare elegant aesthetic and palette of muted colors with a love for Morocco. The result: modern exotic fashion and housewares, including fine white ceramic plates with her trademark camel and canvas totes with photos of veiled women.
Marrakech’s legendary personal shopper Laetitia Trouillet has opened a showroom on Rue de la Liberté where she features the full range of her bag collection as well as hosts visiting designers. The large, light-filled space displays her leather and fabric bags with clothes and accessories of up-and-coming talents that Laetitia has discovered. Call ahead for an appointment.
The French designer behind this shop had been selling her designs at 33 Majorelle but now she has opened her own universe. Not much bigger than a large closet with a patio, Topolina bursts with color, whimsy and charm. A shoe stand features men’s loafers in plaid with brightly colored leather tassels. A navy crushed velvet jacket with richly embroidered sleeves is lined with fur. Pieces are all one-of-a-kind and range from flea market chic purses and patterned caftans to her extravagant statement jackets.
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