Nicolas Malleville with girlfriend, Francesca Bonato, at home in Mexico.
The Mignot clan relaxing on the beach.
An outdoor lounge at Sayulita, Mexico.
An idyllic setting for tea in Tangier.
Maia Norman on the London houseboat she shares with her partner, artist Damien Hirst.
Burnished, beautiful, dressed in straw hats, gold-threaded silk and handmade jewelry, this new bohemian type takes many of its style cues from the louche-living demi-monde of the Cream, Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac era. But now it’s less about dropping out than leaning in, as Chaplin explains.
“The Seventies showed us that dropping out, though it was an important mass statement, isn’t the most effective use of a life. It’s more effective to add your voice to the wider cultural dialogue … [Gypsetters] have grown up in an era when selling out isn’t really the issue. For them, the question is not whether to contribute; it’s how to contribute on your own terms.”
SO, WHO ARE THE GYPSET?
Artists, intellectuals, entrepreneurs, models, fashion designers, musicians and photographers … Many Gypsetters fuse an enviable combination of these careers, leading them on professional adventures of all kinds around the world. Whatever their line of work, what they all have in common is that they appear to have mastered what Chaplin calls the “perfect lifestyle, where pleasure, travel and livelihood co-exist in an eclectic style.”
WHERE WOULD I FIND THEM?
Lounging in a palm-fringed cabana, wafting around the pool, or along the beachy sands of the Pacific coast of Mexico, dressed in a vintage kaftan. Or sitting next to you in First Class flying Cancún to Paris, wearing Katharine Hamnett and sporting some chunky beads around their neck and wrists.
Gypsetters usually have homes in two or more locations around the world. One may be close to an airport—somewhere like Ibiza or Montauk, New York—so as to easily jump on a flight and chase the freelance dream. Others will be groovy retreats with fabulous, ethnically inspired decor, and fantastic views, often by the sea, in undiscovered hard-to-access locations such as Uruguay, or the further reaches of Bali and Mexico.
ANYONE I’VE HEARD OF?
Jade Jagger may well be, as Chaplin points out, “the ultimate Gypsetter offspring.” Hardly needing any introduction as the daughter of Mick and Bianca Jagger, she has her own jewelry and fashion lines based in London. “She also has a lucrative side-job designing interiors for a luxury condo development group in Manhattan,” Chaplin adds. But she spends most of her time in her 500-year-old finca on the northern side of Ibiza where casual guests include Kate Moss and Matthew Williamson and she is as likely to be found spinning records behind the decks as she is tending to her brood of kids.
They own an amazing compound overlooking the surf break with palm-thatched huts and a painting studio that recalls Frida Kahlo by way of Topanga Canyon.
If you’re a fan of chunky, luxe jewelry and immaculate Italiano taste, then you’ll have heard of Consuelo Castiglioni, creative director of the Italian fashion brand Marni. She has to fly to Ibiza and then hop on to a foot-passenger-only ferry to reach the rustic, picturesque island of Formentera that she and her husband have built a house on. Bedouin tents lined with soft white flokati rugs and overlooked a purple and siler pebbled arid garden and the landscape beyond. “There’s no high heel glamour here,” says Castiglioni. “Just sand and sun.”
Nicolas Malleville is an in-demand male model who is a regular feature of campaigns for Gucci, Burberry, Armani Exchange and DKNY. He and his model girlfriend run a guesthouse, perfumery and spa from their rambling stone abode Coqui Coqui Tulum in Valladolid, “a sleepy Spanish colonial town in Mexico,” chosen for its proximity to Cancún whence they can get a direct flight almost anywhere.
The author Julia Chaplin has herself lived life “in the gypstream,” having grown up in a VW campervan with itinerant parents traveling around Philadelphia in the 70s. Summers were spent surfing and sailing in Cape Cod and Mexico. She went on to write about trends for newspapers and magazines in New York, increasingly gravitating towards far-flung locales where the surf was good and the society was decadent.
“I first had the idea to write a book called ‘Gypset’ while I was vacationing in a village on the Pacific coast of Mexico called Todos Santos,” she writes. “One day I was out at the beach and I happened upon a mysterious couple. They own an amazing compound overlooking the surf break, with several palm-thatched huts, a riding stable that has been partly converted into a Gothic lair, and a painting studio that recalls Frida Kahlo by way of Topanga Canyon … On any given day, strands of exotic-looking people, refugees from Hollywood or Parisian winters, are wandering the grounds in bikinis and sarongs, nibbling on coconuts, waxing surfboards, and snapping photos of one another.”
“This was a group of people who were living a different type of dream,” she says. “It was part pioneer, part artist, and part sheer indulgence.”
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LEATHER CASE & NOTEBOOK By HARD GRAFT $202
FOLDING PANAMA HAT By LOCK & CO HATTERS $367
ANDREA LEATHER SANDALS By ÁLVARO $375
Round-frame acetate sunglasses By Cutler and Gross $359
Manda Scarf By A PEACE TREATY $198
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Medusa Gold and Citrine Ring By Bernard Delettrez $5,184
Cheeky cat-eye sunglasses By Thierry Lasry $478
PARIS ROMANCE DOUBLE LOOP FRINGE EARRINGS By STEPHANIE KANTIS $312
Bead and crystal-embellished brass cuff By Etro $762