Dream of a lifetime. La dolce vita. I am sitting writing this in our sweet little apartment perched high on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea on Italy's Amalfi Coast. Mambo and I have just spent four glorious days here in Italian paradise and words will never be enough to describe how beautiful this enchanted little corner of the world is.
It's actually amazing that I am here at all. It took all my willpower to overcome my fear of heights on the ungodly little roads that snake around these steep and treacherous cliffs. I spent most of the drive here struggling to even look out at the incredible view through all my squealing and gripping the armrests and praying for help. Worse than any scary carnival ride. But in the end I am so glad I made it.
Tiny villages perched on cliffs, ancient pastel-coloured houses covered in shockingly bright pink and orange bougainvillea, bunches of wild flowers sprouting from every crevice and rock. Tiny churches with colourful tiled roofs alive with the tinkling of church bells. Seafood restaurants with grapevine-coveredpergolas and crisp white tablecloths on balconies overlooking the vast blue sea. The colours are enough to make me faint.
I imagined in this touristy part of Italy, where the rich and famous come to play, that the people in the shops and restaurants would be uppity and snobbish. Instead we have been so pleasantly surprised at the warmth and kindness of everyone we have met.
Not to mention the fabulous fashion inspiration around every corner, both in the divine colours and the mix of classic with cutting-edge styles. The Amalfi Coast is where the hippies of the '60s and '70s would come to spend their summers, and that history is reflected in the amazing boutiques here now, which capture the 'endless summer' look like nowhere else in the world.
Beach fashion was born here. The city folk wold come to spend their summers here and wanted clothes to reflect the climate and atmosphere of gorgeous beaches and breathtaking sea views. The local tailors and shopkeepers began to create incredible outfits out of anything they could lay their hands on.
Antique tablecloths, lace curtains, hand-embroidered linen towels, the crochet doilies of Italian grandmothers... these treasure troves were masterfully turned into stunning and unique bohemian dresses that defined the fashion of an entire generation.
Visiting fashionistas like Benetton and Fiorucci shared their knowledge of sewing and dyeing with the locals, and soon many small artisan factories sprung up all over the area. Some of them still survive to this day, including the divine Antica Sartoria, Nadir Positano, and La Bottega di Brunella. Their collections offer the ultimate in sun-drenched bohemian style and have formed the inspiration for Sea Gypsy since our earliest days.
So as you can imagine, I am totally in my element. As I dream up the latest Sea Gypsy range, I can't imagine a more inspirational place than the birthplace of boho beach fashion. This fabulous region is full of reminders of my first loves: embroidery, crochet, lace and beautifully upcycled handmade pieces built to last a lifetime.
I have truly found my mecca. And as I think of leaving this beautiful slice of heaven, I know I will return with a newfound sparkle in my eyes, the sound of waves still crashing in my ears, and best of all, a worn sketchbook full of new designs for my Sea Gypsy sisters around the world.