A Designer’s Journey to Morocco
From its ancient Roman ruins, to the caravans of camels trekking across the Sahara Desert, to what remains of a palm and olive tree-lined paradise today— a visit to Morocco feels a bit like going back in time. When I arrived, it was an exotic yet enchanting feast for the senses. I found myself immersed in this magical North African country and fascinated by its friendly people, rich culture, and its colorful, mazelike bazaars or “souks.” I was stunned by the deeply detailed and exquisite beauty of Morocco’s architecture, artistry, and craftsmanship. Morocco...it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller. And so, the Casablanca Collection was born.
— Catherine Hong —
behind the design
I sketched endlessly different shapes, motifs and styles and I immediately recognized that the collection needed to be black and white. Being able to custom design and print fabric and leather allows me to be detailed and unique when designing prints. Each border, motif, and layout represents an authentic Moroccan design element.
PRINTS & TILES
“Centuries old craftsmanship”
Morocco’s history with tile, known as Zellige, is centuries old and the craftsmanship is passed down from generation to generation. Zellige is considered an art in itself. Zellige tile was used to decorate homes and buildings as a sign of luxury and sophistication.
“Endlessly different shapes”
When beginning to design the Casablanca collection, I knew that all the architectural detail and stunning craftsmanship I witnessed needed to be encapsulated into the print.
I was especially inspired by the black and white tiles of La Mamounia, a grand Moroccan palace and many other smaller villas and structures with black and white tile.
“Beautiful hand sculpted from clay”
Incorporating the sophisticated and modern look of black and white, the matching ceramic jewelry collection mimics Moroccan tile and captures part of the print on each necklace. Similar to actual ceramic tile, each necklace pendant is hand sculpted from clay, fired in a kiln, then decorated with art.
“Passed from mother to daughter”
Embroidered linens are found in almost every Moroccan home, whether they are embroidered window coverings, napkins, or tablecloths. Moroccan embroidery is treasured and plays a key role in Moroccan culture.
The art of embroidery is passed from mother to daughter and serves as a great social environment for the women. Moroccan hand embroidery generally consists of geometric shapes, cross stitch, and one main color.
“78,000 stitches, over four hours”
For the embroidered pieces in the Casablanca collection, I used black thread to create a bold pattern on white leather. Each motif relates to the printed totes in the collection, as well as elements found in the matching jewelry collections.
Shop The Collection
“A wealth in heritage”
The making of jewelry has a long and diverse history in Morocco. Jewelry is traditionally worn by the women and considered heirlooms within the family. Each piece of jewelry a woman wears is symbolic of her status and wealth.
“Modern twist on a classic”
“I remember every detail...”
Casablanca translates to “white house,” so it seemed only fitting to design a jewelry collection that was light in color and rich in pattern. The embossed pattern on the bag is the same art etched on the matching jewelry. The tassel was inspired by the iconic Moroccan lanterns.
To coordinate with the black and white pattern in the print - I’ve added black line work and patterns, as well as accents of jet-black Swarovski crystals.
“...once seen, is never forgotten”
Photo was taken in the courtyard richly carved in cedar, marble and stucco
Ben Youssef Madrasa
Located in Marrakesh, this main square is used by locals and visited by tourists
Jemaa El Fna Square
One of the many Moroccan lantern shops found within Marrakesh’s medina quarter
Beautiful tile work at La Mamounia
a palace-hotel in Marrakesh
Riad Enija in Marrakesh
One of the many “souks” of Marrakesh
Grand gateway into the heart of Marrakesh
Photo was taken on the grand and decorative verandas of La Mamounia