A beautiful alchemy of shades, materials and volumes for a highly sophisticated fashion approach: meet Laure Welfling.
Once upon a time there was Paris, where Laure Welfling and her husband Gipi de Richemont’s unique sense of esthetics used to shine bright across Rue Jacob and La Forge-Royale.
Creativity and imagination are the tireless travelers that took Laure and Gipi all the way to Tangier, where they established their own gallery in 1980.
With her incredible taste for colors, Laure creates kaleidoscopic couture caftans as well as exquisite custom-made handbags, embroidered evening dresses and other boho-chic garments. Such wardrobe deserves an appropriate home and that’s why the gallery, located right in Place de la Kasbah, within the old courthouse building, also sells extravagant design pieces, ceramic bowls and dishes originally hand-painted by Gipi.
So, Laure, could you tell us what first brought you from Paris to Tangier? What did you have in mind when you left?
Well, it was not something I did on purpose. I was an interior designer in Paris when I heard it was very easy to find gorgeous houses all the way from Algeria to Tangier for such little money. So I took the chance and, once I got here, I fell in love with this place and bought it on the spot. The building used to be the Spanish embassy in Tangier: I was fascinated by its history and by its magical atmosphere. Initially, it wasn’t an easy move: if compared to Paris, Tangier is a different world. After a while, though, we started settling in. It turned out to be a wonderful adventure and a life changing experience.
What do you like and fascinate you the most about Tangier today?
It doesn’t feel like you’re living in the real world here: the atmosphere is very European and Tangier is full of interesting characters and inspiring people. When I came here for the first time, around 30 years ago, it was just amazing: the city was so original, interesting, lively…it almost felt like some kind of Moroccan Saint-Tropez, a very chic destination packed with cool people having fun and partying all the time. Now the main “spirit” of Tangier has changed but the city still carries the signs of its unique history and holds the spark of a golden age bursting with charm and intellectual magnetism.
Where should we go for a memorable night out in Tangier?
If you want to party like a local, you should start from Café de Paris, once the favorite gathering point of all artists, poets and scholars. If you start feeling hungry, you should move towards Number One to sip some nice drinks and a taste of French/Moroccan tapas in an informal, lively ambience. Later on, head to Morocco Palace to have real fun while throwing shapes on the dance floor. If you are feeling nostalgic, Villa Josephine is a hotel built inside a historical palace dated back to the early 1900s: the bar and the restaurant make it the perfect spot for drinks and dinner in truly authentic Belle Époque style.
“The biggest specialty in Tangier is Nougat: head to the top of Petit Socco if you want to taste a really delicious one.”
What about any shopping recommendations?
Don’t miss Madini Oriental Perfumes: the scent of their fabulous fragrances fills the streets and will beg you to get inside for more. Ask for a bottle of orange flower essence to bring the purest memory of Tangier back home with you.
Where shall we go if we wanted to try the most delicious Northern Moroccan specialties in the city?
Street food is a really big thing here, especially when it comes to snail soup: you find people selling it out in the streets nowadays. The smell is disgusting but the taste is really nice! It is also very good for you: it’s cleansing and works wonderfully on the complexion of your skin. Other than that, the biggest specialty in Tangier is Nougat: head to the top of Petit Socco if you want to taste a really delicious one. Enter the souk and you’ll see a small square with a white, little shop: they sell delicious Nougat for only 16€ per kilo! Don’t take the one that’s wrapped in plastic but ask to have it freshly packed right there in front of you.
Is there a specific place in the city that you go visit when you’re seeking inspiration?
Everything here in Tangier is inspiring. The colors make it a super interesting place to anyone who’s got an eye: whether you’re a painter, a photographer or a designer…the light is very unique here that’s almost impossible to miss a picture. Even the grass looks greener in Tangier!
What’s the best season to come here?
Well, it depends. If you looking for parties I’d say the month of October.
Are there any interesting art galleries in Tangier?
Oh yes. The most famous is Galerie Conil in the Old Medina.
What do you want to leave into travelers and local minds visiting your gallery?
Happiness. Pleasure. Excitement. I believe it’s all about that when you buy clothes, isn’t it?