I just had to share this awesome Gypset inspired editorial piece by net-a-porter…
“The 1960s rock star ushered in the trend, the collision of the jet set and hippie backpackers”
New York City travel writer, author and tastemaker Julia Chaplin has spent years traveling the world following the trail of the gypset (gypsy + jetset), the name she coined for a particular kind of luxurious bohemian globetrotter. Here she charts the history of this stylishly nomadic movement and reveals how gypset style influences us all today…
“I first encountered the gypset while working as a travel writer for the New York Times. Every time I spent days on small planes and bouncing down dirt roads in search of the perfect little town, the same thing would happen: some gypsetter had already arrived years before and set up in some cool house. After stops in Montauk (US), Cuixmala (Mexico), Lamu (Kenya), Guethary (France) and others I began to realize this was actually a movement.
The gypset are an emerging group of artists, musicians, fashion designers, surfers, and bon vivants who lead semi-nomadic, unconventional lives. They are people who have perfected a high-low approach that fuses the freelance and nomadic wile of a gypsy with the sophistication and global references of the jet set. It’s an alternative way of traveling and living that’s based more on creativity then cold cash. They’ll be holed up in a teepee in Ibiza, rather than basking in a luxury hotel in St Tropez.
Not surprisingly, gypsetters have their a unique take on fashion. They sample far-flung cultures and refract it through an urban lens: think free spirits such as Kate Moss, Alice Temperley and Jade Jagger. They will mix an exquisite investment piece with a pair of gladiator sandals found at the bazaar in Bodrum or an alpaca poncho scored in a Peruvian mountain village.
And what of the gypset’s decadent roots? They date back at least to the 19th century with such counter-culture eccentrics as Lord Byron, Victorian era adventuresses like Isabelle Eberhardt, and the beatniks in 1940s Tangier; all bohemians who snubbed convention and did it their way. It was the 1960s rock star, though, who really ushered in the trend. They were the collision of the moneyed jet set and the hippie backpackers. Rock stars could easily afford the jet-set lifestyle that was playing out over cocktails in Gstaad and Sardinia, but they rejected it in favor of something more soulful. They took the grungy hippie trail and paved it over with style and glamour. Consider the Beatles holed up at an ashram in the Himalayan foothill town of Rishikesh, India, clad in white tunics, marigolds draped around their shoulders. Or Jimi Hendrix in leather tassels barreling into Essaouria, a white-washed fishing village in Morocco, in a beat up second hand Chrysler, and boho-folk deities Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan making the sea voyage towards the mystical rocks of Ibiza. These secret enclaves were way off the high roller map and unthinkable to jet setters in need of running hot water, hair dryers, and a nearby airport. Which was exactly the point.
The fashion world took note. In Paris young designers drew up collections that had one foot in ethnic culture and the other in the jet stream. At Christian Dior, Marc Bohan upgraded the tunic with brocade and sequins. Yves Saint Laurent was now a fixture along with his trust fund gypsetter friends J.P. and Talitha Getty in the Marrakech social whirl of all-night parties and dilapidated palaces. No one looked cooler than Yves Saint Laurent sprawling on Moroccan rugs in his palace garden in a long white djellaba. He presented his legendary North African-themed collection in the summer of 1970 with gauzy headscarves and transparent gossamer-chiffon floor length dresses that conjured up the Queen Sheba by way of Rue Saint-Honore. The bar for ethnic chic was set.
And what’s the gypset uniform? Personally, I love to wear my floor length Emilio Pucci kaftan in the summer in Montauk, a surf town at the end of Long Island, but only when it’s wrinkled and scented from the sea and sand. The red beaded necklace that I found in the Brazilian village of Trancoso looks great over a black turtleneck strolling down the streets of New York City. In Kenya recently, I was so enamored with the kangas (sarongs with tropical prints), that I hauled a few bolts home and designed a line of dresses. The idea is you can wear the dress out dancing all night, fall asleep in it, and sport it on the beach the next day. True gypset luxury!
To perfect the look, start with key pieces such as a kaftan, always in a luxurious fabric (see Emilio Pucci or Roberto Cavalli). Invest in a slew of maxi dresses too – from tribal at Diane von Furstenburg to bold, strappy styles at Matthew Williamson, and partner with embellished flats. And finally, perfect every look with statement accessories – try chandelier earrings in gold or silver (note Isharya and Erickson Beamon), layered gold chain necklaces, one or two gobstopper rings, piles of gold bangles and an occasional headscarf worn just so.”
For more information on the gypset lifestyle see gypset.com
To order Julia’s book ‘Gypset Style’ here
Gypset Style is a coffee table format book about an emerging group of semi-nomadic creatives and the bohemian enclaves they inhabit from Montauk, New York, Cornwall, England to the RIft Valley in Kenya. The book also defines the Gypset philosophy and traces the movement’s history from the British romantic poets, Victorian adventurers, surrealists, beats, hippies, and ravers.