When Casablanca burst onto the scene in October 2018, I remember seeing a singular article by Vogue magazine online to a mild wave of fanfare. It arrived to occupy its place as the exotic younger brother of riviera-esque (think Monaco or St Tropez) brand Jacquemus, hailing from Morocco. These sentiments were present and rich in every sense of the word, from the silks and cashmeres to the vibrant and deep pinks, greens, reds, blues and of course the iconic citrus orange – the brand’s recognisable motif.
Within a short space of a year and a half and three shows later, the brand’s elevated Après-sport sensibility is fuelling it’s success and has made it one of the more interesting new brands at the forefront, with a loud; yet laissez-faire luxury presence. The founder Charaf Tajer is French-Moroccan, retelling luxury with his background in architecture and already a well-known fixture in circle of the “new school” class of fashion creatives with the likes of Virgil Abloh has since had his designs worn by everyone from Burna Boy, Rosalia, Skepta, Lil Nas X, DJ Khaled, J Balvin and the late great Nipsey Hussle. The silk shirts are a personal favourite, with their luscious and rich prints, reminiscent of a 70s successful tennis playing empresario. The collections present a multitude of layers and dyes that tell a story of the jet set lifestyle reminiscent of the Versace mantra, translated perfectly even into their Fall collection.
At the turn of the new year, Charaf was included amongst the coveted LVMH prize finalists for 2020. Announced in March, we are slightly biased* and are hoping the brand take the prize in June**
A lot has happened since the beginning of the year (with the global manifestation COVID-19 in particular) but that has not stopped the brand from launching their distinct womenswear pieces (previous pieces have been unisex) and their new drop ‘Só Alegria!’ is here and it is ever so tantalising, if only we could still book a trip to Marbella and showcase the looks in all their glory as intended.
Not only this, but the brand has a freshly squeezed drop with their New Balance 327 ‘Idéaliste’ collaboration capsule which arrived recently on the 18th April – the trainers, trimmed with a citrus orange and a Wimbledon grass green panel are already one the most buzzed about items. A modern twist to the iconic brand’s retro design. We’re in luck and cannot wait to get our hands on a pair for a cool $150!
*A little personal history: One of our Brands and Boutiques Consultant has an existing friendship with Charaf, and so before the brand launched would tell us about this “new amazing brand” that his friend was going to launch called Casablanca. So pre-launch I had been anticipating it, (our consultant never misses, so his word is gospel) and was not disappointed. A few months into 2019 I bumped into the sales and marketing director at Selfridges and recognised the brand by the T-shirt he was wearing, to which he remarked that “I had made his day, as a new brand, not a lot of people recognise them, so me stopping to compliment them on the design and mentioning the brand was heart- warming” About a month later I got one of the T-shirts in the post…probably one of the first people to get one at that, a taste of the influencer life!
** It was announced by the LVMH committee that due to COVID-19 the prize would be shared between all 8 finalists this year. Ahluwalia, Casablanca, Chopova Lowena, Nicholas Deley, Peter Do, Sindiso Khumalo, Supriya Lele and Tomo Kopizumi – congratulations to all.