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5 Tips from the "Queen of Caftans"

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As Hillary Clinton proved at Chelsea’s rehearsal dinner, caftans aren’t just for beaches and pregnant starlets anymore. The long, flowing robes gained a serious following this summer and have even been spotted wafting down the Chanel runway.

Frédérique Birkemeyer, Marrakesh’s “queen of caftans” and owner of the Intensité Nomade boutique, offers a few tips on finding and wearing the right tunic anywhere, from a souk to Saks.

Size up the shoulders and examine the embroidery.

Like a dress, Birkemeyer explains, “a beautiful caftan is shown by its cut and its finishing.” The fabric should drape well from the shoulders. The embroidery, preferably done by hand, should be smooth and even. Take a close look at the sfifa (a band of needlework) and any rows of silk knots used as trimming.

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New Festival Celebrates Retro British Cool

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If Mad Men Sunday nights don’t roll around fast enough, perhaps it’s time to hop a plane for Southern England. August 13-15 will mark the first annual Vintage at Goodwood festival— celebration of “Creative British cool” from the 1940’s through the 1980’s at the Goodwood Estate in West Sussex, England.

Vintage will feature the best in retro music, fashion, art, design, film and food from around the U.K., translated by a select group of modern artists inspired by the last century. These artistes will disburse their wares at specially constructed centers around the grounds, including five, decade-focused music venues (The Tanqueray Torch Club, for example, features a 1940’s nightclub vibe and a stylish restaurant; by day there’ll be lessons in period dance steps followed by a tea dance—and by night, a burlesque show).

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Haute Hotel Deal: Elysian Partners with Marc Jacobs

This summer, The Elysian hotel in Chicago is celebrating America—and great American designer, Marc Jacobs—with a complimentary limited edition towel and tote:201007-b-usatotejpg

From now through Labor Day, book a room at the Elysian and receive a super-cute USA totebag and American Flag beach towel from Marc Jacobs. They're the perfect accessories to bring to North Avenue Beach.

The bag (just $18) is also available at Marc Jacobs stores (the only one in Chicago is at the Elysian Hotel). Book at ElysianHotels.com. Rates start at $495 and include breakfast in bed.

Courtesy of Elysian Hotels/Marc Jacobs

Street Smart Sunglasses

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Nothing says summer like a good pair of shades. And nothing says summer in the city like these two pairs, which literally take their inspiration from the streets of New York and Los Angeles:

As part of its new Rare Prints collection, Ray-Ban just put out a colorful line of wayfarers embossed with the N.Y.C. subway map (from $140, available at sunglasshut.com).

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And from the left coast, there’s the brand new Freeway Eyewear, with five styles named and designed after  iconic L.A. highways, from Route 1 to Interstate 405 ($100 each, available at select Barneys New York stores).

Christine Ajudua is an assistant editor at Travel + Leisure.

Images courtesy of Ray-Ban and Freeway Eyewear

Charmed By a Locale? CHART It!

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I recently returned from a ten-day sailing trip around the Secret Island of Culebra, off the coast of Puerto Rico. Living aboard a sailboat reminded me of my love for nautical charts—the fluid lines, soft, sea-foamy color palette, and wiry, spare typeface lend an on-trend heritage feel to the handsome utilitarian scrolls. How smart was it, then, that Portland, Maine–based jeweler Charlotte Leavitt dreamed up the idea of custom-crafting various pieces (pendants, earrings, cufflinks, even belt buckles) making use of nautical charts? Childhood summers spent aboard her family’s daysailer in coastal Castine instilled in the formerly desk-bound jewelry hobbyist a similar appreciation for the art of the chart.

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Love at First Lick: EOS Lip Balm

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Lip balm is not the most exciting thing in the world, but it's still a must for long plane rides—all the waiting and dry air makes me impatiently lick my lips a lot!

Now that I have found these cute little spheres of EOS ("Evolution of Smooth") lip balm—all 95 percent organic and 100 percent natural made with jojoba oil, shea butter and vitamin E, I may retire my Kiehl’s tube for good. They are so cute! Each ball twists to open to reveal the balm (with SPF 15, of course) and comes in four distinctive tasty flavors: honeysuckle, summer fruit, lemon, and sweet mint.

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Alp-n-Rock: Global Apparel that Gives Back

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I recently discovered a designer whose attire I find irresistible—as I suspect it is (or will be) for many an active, trendy, and socially conscious traveler. Alp-n-Rock’s tees are chic, original, and eco-friendly (made in California from organic cotton and recycled materials); more importantly, they directly contribute to a wonderful philanthropic effort.

By purchasing an Alp-n-Rock shirt (which range from $85-$260), you’re helping to send a child to school. The apparel company donates 10% of its profits to Room to Read, an organization that finances education for girls in developing countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Zambia). Room to Read has already sent 4 million children to school and built 10,000 libraries; Alp-n-Rock founder Susanne Reich’s personal ambition is to give 1,000 girls an education using her brand’s proceeds.

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The Perfect Bag for the Perfect Vacation—Down Under

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Steven Alan, the man responsible for the proliferation of plaid shirts throughout New York and, increasingly, around the country, recently took a break from his day job. He went to Australia, in fact, to soak up Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef. It was the Perfect Vacation—one that you can take, too—with an itinerary crafted by Tourism Australia in collaboration with Virgin Airlines. And from it, he designed the Perfect Bag—a leather and waxed cotton carryon with rope detailing (and, yes, some signature plaid cotton lining the exterior pockets) inspired by his experience Down Under.

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Pierre Cardin Buys a Village in Provence

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Fashion designer Pierre Cardin’s 60-year career is the subject of a book due this year (published by Assouline); the 89 year old designer has several anniversary-related events in store between now and September.

Several years ago, the designer bought the ruins of the legendary chateau Lacoste, in Provence, which was once the property of the Marquis de Sade. This reopened two years ago. Less known is the fact that the designer hosts theater and music festivals there: This year, Jeanne Moreau will open the festivities and star soprano Nathalie Dessaix is slated to perform. Tickets will be available on pierrecardin.com.

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Hermes' New Scent Inspires Travel

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I have a crush on Hermes. Anything enclosed in that orange box with brown ribbon will be a part of my life a long time. I know that is a lot of pressure for the French brand started as a saddle enterprise in 1837, but the allure of Hermes and their timeless, chic products are the very definition of posh understatement.

I discovered their classic fragrance, Eau d’Orange Vert, while staying at the Hotel Bristol years ago, before staying at expensive hotels while attending the fashion shows became de mode. Bottles were given out as in-room amenities, and I still have some of those little soaps perfuming my linens. Scents were not something I was drawn to but this one was, and still is, delicious. And so I became addicted. And I'm happy to report Hermes has introduced a new fragrance that evokes Travel. The scent, for both men and women, is appropriately named Voyage d’ Hermes.

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