Issue No.15 - S / S 2017


ardinia is different. The likes of Saint-Tropez, Capri and Ibiza changed slowly over the decades, transforming from off-the-map, slumbering fishing villages to bohemian destinations and finally to glittering magnets for glittering people of fame and money – or both.

Sardinia, on the other hand, is one man’s creation. The island’s civilization can be traced back to at least 1800 B.C., and its history reads like a long list of occupation by every major power that sailed the Mediterranean: the Romans, the Phoenicians, the Greeks, the Carthaginians, the Austrians, the French, the Spanish, the Germans (albeit briefly). No wonder the island’s most distinctive landmarks is a type of prehistoric stone fortress called Nuraghi.

But it was much more recent – 1962, to be exact – that Sardinia, and especially the stretch called Costa Smeralda, came to life. That summer, the Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, a religious leader and wealthy playboy extraordinaire (yes, that combination is possible), was yachting around the Mediterranean as he did every summer. But this time, he decided to venture off the beaten path, sailing off the coast of Cote d’Azur and Amalfi and ending up just in between, slightly south of Corsica.

It was love at first sight for the Aga Khan. What he saw was huge empty beaches, wild creeks and impressive granite cliffs plunging into deep, crystal clear waters. In the space of 10 years, he awoke the quiet Costa Smeralda and carefully built and created the port and village of Porto Cervo. The project took about 10 years, and the 1970s was really when Costa Smeralda came to life.

In those days, Porto Cervo was still a semi-private place for the Aga Khan – you didn’t really go if you weren’t personally invited, and everyone who was anchored their boats off the coast. The Aga Khan hosted everyone from Greta Garbo and the Princess Grace of Monaco to Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve, Elizabeth Taylor, Juan Carlos of Spain, Lady Di and Prince Charles, and the Agnelli, Kennedy and Onassis families. And from that time on, everyone started coming, and they still do, summer after summer.

Lying around the huge salt water pool at the Cala di Volpe hotel, in the heart of Porto Cervo, or on the rocky beach just below, one thing becomes obvious: the Italians take their beach routine seriously. Very seriously. There’s a constant organizing and arranging of towels, sun creams, swimming goggles, snorkels and other beach gear – and oh boy, are they geared up. And just how do they keep their beach towels so immaculate? They’re as smooth and wrinkle-free as a suit fresh from a tailor’s. In fact, we’ve never seen or been anywhere with so many immaculately dressed people.

Strolling around the Porto Cervo piazzetta at night, walking off some of that linguini ai frutti di mare, their outfits seems miraculously ironed and pressed on the body. It’s simply impossible – for a non-Italian at least – to get dressed without causing a single crease. As everywhere in the coastal villages of Italy, ice cream is a serious thing, and in Porto Cervo everyone comes to Gelateria Bosisio for their pistachio and chocolate bowls, but needless to say, not a single drop ends up on their shirts and pants. We’re in awe. The look is very much white, light beige or pastel pants with a casually untucked linen shirt for men; printed silk dresses, high heels, and lots of diamonds and jewellery (the real thing, obviously) for women.

We, too, packed our best from the Morris spring/summer 2017 collection. Lots of linen and lightly structured cotton pants and jackets, in more subtle colors than last season: khakis, greys, browns and different shades of blue and navy – not too different from the waters of Costa Smeralda. The look is dressy but toned down thanks to garment-dyed materials that have the feeling of being sunbleached and saltwater-splashed.

Our favorite beachwear for her is the striped shirtdress in a cool cotton, perfect for slipping on and off as she pops from beach to lunch, then back again to the sand. This season Morris Lady offers a wide selection of both bikini’s and bathing suits in statement prints that she wears with flax dresses and shirts – perfect to wear for lunch at Jerry’s Beach and Bar; a great no-frills beach shack at the Razza di Junco beach. No menu required – by the time you’ve sat down Jerry will have already inspired you with his daily suggestions of delicious fresh food. For night, and aperitivo at Cala di Volpe terrace, flowing pants and blouses, also in bold prints, are irresistibly comfortable and cool. Who knows, maybe we run in to the Aga Khan himself.