“It is me now interviewing you,” states Serge Lutens, not 10 minutes into our conversation. I visited M. Lutens at his palatial home in Marrakech this past June for this issue’s cover story. He was intrigued by my move to Florence and then asked me my sign—I am a Cancer. “Good, auspicious,” he tells me. Lutens is a Pisces.
Apparently, we make a good match. Perhaps that’s why he was so forthcoming, candid, and generous with his time. I am extremely grateful for the experiences and people I have been able to meet during my tenure as editor for NUVO but never as nervous as I was to step foot into the octogenarian’s labyrinthine palace hidden in the heart of Marrakech’s ancient medina. Lutens may best be known as the reclusive Frenchman who launched niche perfumery. He is a portrait of a quiet, complex, incredibly talented man with a painful past. As I write:
Behind an anonymous latticed black wall is a Lewis Carroll–like rabbit hole that engulfs the visitor. This architectural marvel, the Serge Lutens Foundation, is a tribute to Moroccan craftsmanship. Some 500 workers, at times entire families, took turns working on the ceremonial salons of marble and precious wood. The maze of a home is a peek inside the mind of a creative genius—the intricate details are dizzying, the rooms increasingly opulent, the smell of wenge from all the wood intoxicating. The sculpted ceilings reach heights of 10 metres, and in one bathroom there is a sunken marble bath that has never been used, but could be. Lutens designed every single detail, from the Moorish patterns on the walls to the filigree of each lamp and the traditional hammam. The house grew without an architect’s plan, almost following instinct. “This is a home that has no end. It is never finished,” Lutens says. “It is not really a home but an obsession.”
I didn’t ask Jessica Rosval her sign when I visited her in Modena earlier this year. In 2013, Rosval left Canada—her first trip outside of the country—for Italy. As she recounts, seven days after she arrived in the Italy, she had a table reserved at Osteria Francescana. After dining there, she was determined to work with Massimo Bottura. A weekend trial in his kitchen became two weeks, and then she “just never left.” Rosval worked her way up to chef de parti at the three-star Michelin restaurant before becoming head chef at Casa Maria Luigia, the effortlessly cool guesthouse Bottura and his wife, Lara Gilmore, have opened in the Emilia Romagna countryside. Read more of her story, and must-when-in-Modena experience.
Magazines are a collective effort, a group of words and pictures conceived by a team of creatives whose goal is journalistic excellence. For this autumn edition, Issue 94, Elia Essen profiles contemporary artist Elizabeth Zvonar. Daniel Terna photographed Sebastian ErraZuriz at his apartment in New York for “Sebastian ErraZuriz’ Expression of Ideas”. And Isabel Slone caught up with Tibi founder Amy Smilovic for “Amy Smilovic Talks 25 Years of Her Brand, Tibi”, while Josh Greenblatt conversed with former Schitt’s Creek now music man Noah Reid for “Noah Reid on Switching Gears and Making Adjustments”. For our Portfolio pages, the images of Royal Gilbert highlight this season’s fashion essentials in “Step Into Fall”, and in “Cross Court”, Brad Walls captures the geometry of sport through aerial photography.
Italy is home to the Vatican, and the Catholic Church teaches against the use of horoscopes and other fortune-telling practices such as astrology, palm reading, clairvoyance, ouija boards—the list goes on. Yet apparently, Italy is the birthplace of the tarot in the 15th century, and nowhere else am I continually asked like in this country, What’s your sign?
Keep an eye on NUVOmagazine.com over the coming weeks for stories from the autumn edition of NUVO, Issue 94. Click here to receive a copy of your own.