Although I love the immediacy & ease of modern travel, in my mind I am exploring the world sometime around 1900, give or take some on either side. A time of slow travel: steamships, trunks & the all-important porter. The tags that would link you with your possessions, plus the name of your destination in order to minimise confusion upon your arrival!
When time was not measured by hours, but months & piles of correspondence, outposts & seaports. Here are a few examples of today’s version that can get you in the mood for your gallivanting, whether it be camel caravanning to the ancient oasis city of Samarkand, sailing down the Nile by Felucca, visiting the berbers in a bedouin tent in the Atlas Mountains, treehouse-sitting whilst on safari, horseracing on the Mongolian plains, combing the shores of the Black Sea for amber after a storm, dogsledding to a fur lined igloo in Iceland – ah the endless list of possibilities.
To get the look & feel, check out Steamline’s diplomat series. If you are feeling a more rugged look, get Filson’s canvas & leather bags or go for the classic Globetrotter. I’m loving safari and limited edition, Mohsin Ali. Don’t forget to pack the ultimate campaign camera to record all your adventures, the Leica limited edition Hermes leather M7 series.
The Marine Archaeology Museum in Bodrum is a wealth of information and understanding of the coast of Turkey. The fort of Bodrum is all turrets, knights and winding roads to trick pirates. Some of these engravings are the graffiti of knights circa 1492. There is rumour of a village that cannot be seen from water, where the villagers would flee to when ferocious pirates came to town. Now a ghost town, although I did not get to see, it sounds intriguing & steeped in the history of the area.
Various shipwrecks have revealed many a treasure of copper, glass, posts, ceramics, golds, seals, beads & boats!
In Ventura Lambrate for Salone (Milan Furniture Fair), there is a scattering of buildings/warehouses/schools/houses/garages/random industrial spaces & carparks where product designers, artists & creators exhibit their wares. One place that sparked my imagination was some form of an old workshop with a small front courtyard and smallish stable-like rooms that lead off it. Made of concrete, raw with a dado of Yves blue lining its perimeter. In the last stable was the most peasant of surprises. The hanging blankets, throws & cushions of gruppo di installazione filled me with joy. A mix of old & classic techniques and materials made modern: felted, wools, stitched, embroidered, loomed, goat, herringbone, crochet, monogrammed – mostly in neutrals with red.
Just next door to Maison Martin Margiela on Via Spiga is Marni. For Salone del Mobile, a collection of 100 chairs were made by Colombian ex-prisoners. Common chair shapes of armchairs, sunlounges & rockers were used: painted, woven & covered in multi-coloured PVC string (the same material French bistro chairs are made with). The project is in collaboration with creative, Francesco Jodice and the sale of the chairs raises monies for ICAM, Milan. Check out the Marni website for details.
I spent the afternoon on The Golden Horn, the body of water that stretches between Asia & Europe and provides access to The Black Sea. In ancient times, access was limited by a giant chain that stretched between the two lands, deterring undesirables from entering.
It became known as The Golden Horn when Zeus transformed his young pregnant lover Lo, into a white heifer to protect her from the wrath of his furious wife, Hera. Lo gave birth to daughter, Ceroessa on the banks of The Golden Horn, who was then reared into womanhood by water sprite, Semestra. Ceroessa hooked up with Poseidon, god of the seas, and had a baby boy, Byzas. He was raised by spring fairy, Bysias. Byzas became the founder of the Byzantium.
Who doesn’t love a story about gods, fairies, sprites & nymphs! And a little adultery for spice. Although the lands that edge The Golden Horn are no longer grassy hills perfect for grazing, they do show off some spectacular housing, perched precariously on its edge.