Moroccan magic: Jade Jagger has brought her brand of bohemian style to a luxury Marrakech development

She tells Caroline Roux why she still loves hippie chic
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The Independent Online

Jade Jagger has become almost synonymous with Ibiza and its hippie-chic lifestyle. But that might be about to change. Though she regularly visits her house in the island's beautiful north, she's been living in London (currently in a rented loft) with her family – Assisi, 18; Amba, 14; boyfriend Dan Williams and his son, Ty – for four years. And now she's setting her sights on Marrakech.

"I've been coming here since I was four," she says, when we meet in the show home of a new development by the Baglioni hotel group, that she's been working on with the London-based design-led development company, Yoo. "My dad liked coming to Morocco, and we'd go to a house in the country in the Ourika Valley. It was quiet and different, but closer than India."

Of course, when most people reference their dad, it doesn't mean much. Coming from Jagger's mouth, the words cause a little jolt. Her father is, after all, so ridiculously, iconically famous. But Jade seems to have capitalised cleverly on the instant branding that her name has provided. First she set up Jade Inc in 1996, making jewellery and clothes. Then that morphed into Jade Jagger, which is also a Notting Hill shop, selling her stuff. She was creative director at the jewellery company Garrard, which is almost 300-years-old, for a colourful few years in the early noughties, creating pieces that owed more to the bling-bling of hip hop and the motifs of rave culture than the Royal Family. And she has a company called Jezebel which she describes as "an anti-brand antithesis of the conformist things that I was doing at Garrard. We have a studio in Ibiza to work with music. And it's my middle name. We've used it mostly to do music, but to do T-shirts and to do art, whatever." (If she had chosen her other middle name, it would have been called Sheena. Not so good.)

Her involvement with Yoo began in 2005, when she joined forces with young London architect Tom Bartlett to create the interiors for a new building in Chelsea, New York, called the Jade NYC. "That was a great project to start with," she says, padding round the shiny new show house in studded sandals, a slinky black satin Margiela blouse and leopard print chiffon shorts from Topshop so teeny tiny that I am compelled to tell you that she has not a trace of cellulite on her muscly tanned thighs. "It was very different to this – very small spaces to work with. We came up with a jewellery box concept where everything was inside a piece of furniture which was floating inside the room, so you could keep that sense of open space and luxury and preciousness." The apartments were a success. "I've heard that a couple of friends, people I've met, actually liked what I'd done and bought one," she says.

Bartlett and Jagger have continued working for Yoo, who also employ rather more conventional names in the design world – French superstar Philippe Starck, British queen of bourgeois minimalism Kelly Hoppen and the pattern-loving Dutchman Marcel Wanders – to create interiors for their high-end developments. It's inevitable that Jagger's involvement invites a certain amount of suspicion, along the lines of "what does she actually do?" She did study painting for a while in Florence (where she met Piers Jackson, the father of her children) and has made jewellery since 1996. She clearly has a passion and knowledge of design. "The jewellery, the interiors, it's all coming from the same thing. One is microcosmic. One is macrocosmic. But they all relate back to the same thing – giving people something wonderful."

So just what wonder will Jagger be bringing to Marrakech? The development, about 20 minutes drive from the city's Medina, but conveniently close to the airport, will offer fifteen four and five bedroom villas built around a hotel by the five-star Italian Baglioni chain. They will have plenty of space (the four beds are 675m square, the five beds 840m square and that is almost doubled when you included the outside space), pools and privacy. At about €2m, they are aimed at the rich and demanding, a clientele that Jagger knows only too well.

"In Ibiza we've got Moroccan rugs and lamps, and architecture," says Jagger. "The Moroccan style has always been quite predominant there. Here we worked with local craftsmen incorporating what we would and could. We've used a lot of tiles and Moroccan kind of lighting throughout our work anyway. It's nice to bring it back to a place like this." She says she loves all the cutout work, and the rugs, and it's hard to resist taking home the tea glasses that are everywhere.

The villas echo the traditional riad architecture and are built around an internal courtyard. The outdoor spaces are paved with herringboned brick and edged with shiny glazed tiles in deep reds and navy blue. The interior walls are bone-coloured tadelak plaster throughout and the floors are neutral coloured concrete. "We try and keep a neutral palette and lines, and work up from there," she says. More glamorous details include the doors leading to the bathroom which are sheets of rose-coloured glass that at night glow like lightboxes. The modern red metal dining table is set with gold-rimmed glasses, gold cutlery and decorations. "We love a bit of gold," laughs Jagger. A circular carpet has been created, cut from the centre of a traditional white and red Berber rug.

There are tiles everywhere – green and white behind the cooker; fishscale tiles in a burnished gold in the bathroom. And plenty of reflective, mirrored surfaces, on bedside cabinets and table tops. "Tom and I love to work with shiny surfaces, because it gives you that glamour. It's about combining old and new, things that are comforting and forgiving," she says. "And it's about not removing the mystique from things. Design sometimes needs to be modernised, but without losing the essence." So let's call it Moroccan Modern.

Indeed Morocco, particularly Marrakech, is undergoing rapid modernisation. Many new roads have been built and construction is everywhere. Smart, if suburban, villas in small gardens line the highways leading from the city. Fancy new hotels are popping up. Whether there is the infrastructure or clientele to complete the picture is unclear. Jagger sees it as a post-Ibiza sort of place, "I do think it's a bit of a new Ibiza. It's got the same beautiful twilight and moonlight feeling. It's definitely a new cosmopolitan place, with a new market, perhaps people who partied a lot, but now want something more. Here you've got so much variety – the Atlas mountains an hour that way, the Medina and the souk which doesn't feel like its been totally ruined. Nightlife, French culture, fabulous food, the gardens, a lot of pluses.

"I like the history of Marrakech. It's a little more difficult to find things here, so it's more alluring and sexy," she continues. "India, for example, isn't really sexy [she rents a "shacky house" in Goa and works there two months of the year making jewellery and sourcing textiles]. It's in your face. Marrakech has the advantage of its Muslim culture – sexy and beautiful and withholding. Then you have all the handicraft and I'm obsessed with that, things that are made with love. Not made by machines or people who are being made to work like machines. That's my goal, too, creating and resuing. I'm working with lifestyle, but I really want to give people a bit of love in their home," she adds, sounding more like hippie Jade, before she adds, "look good, look good, look good, feel good," and we're back to Moroccan Modern.

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