Note to reader: you’re about to fall in love with footwear brand, Ghazal Paris – and its fabulous founder, Houda Gianasso. Established in 2019, the line epitomises understated glamour – a pair of Houda Gianasso’s are a must-have wardrobe feature for discerning dressers.
Drawing inspiration from her French and Moroccan heritage, Houda melds timeless silhouettes with modern touches, creating refined statement pieces that are oh-so wearable.
Her current collection features killer heels and platforms, ankle boots and pretty pumps. Best to clear some extra space in your wardrobes – Houda has planned a number of launches over the coming year, and, trust us, you’ll want to nab the lot!
Exploring her favourite spots in Italy to the best of Morocco, plus her travel essentials, we delve into Houda Gianasso’s suitcase psyche…
What’s been your most memorable trip and why?
Travelling to Italy looking for warmth, nice food, wine, and ‘dolce far niente’ (sweet nothing). Italy is always memorable. This summer, we are planning to go on a road trip in late summer with our 15-month-old baby, Jude. Our stops will be: Positano, Parma, Puglia, Rome, and Como Lake.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve taken from your travels?
Humility. In Puglia, an old man working in tomato fields under 50° in the middle of the day. In the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, a ten year-old girl needs to walk 10km per day to go to school. In Sardinia, a fisherman selling his fish in the Maddalena islands after spending hours of the dawn on his boat waiting for some fish… I value taking the time to meet people and learn their stories when I’m visiting new countries.
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If you could go anywhere tomorrow I would go…
…back to my home country, Morocco, where I have not been since July 2019. I got pregnant and launched Ghazal, then gave birth to my baby, Jude, in February 2020. [Since] then we have obviously been under many lockdowns due to COVID-19. I am planning to go back this summer for 3 weeks.
What’s your idea of a luxury holiday?
Being able to finish reading at least one book under the sun. And anything I cannot do on a daily basis I prioritise on holiday (having free time with my family; escaping from work and anything digital).
My top bucket-list destination is…
Botswana and Zambia – we had a trip booked for last year, but it was postponed due to COVID-19; we look forward to visiting next year. Japan. India. Texas. Alaska. Russia.
What is your number one packing tip?
Visualise your day so you do not forget anything essential.
Favourite hotel? Why?
My favourites are La Reserve (Ramatuelle, South of France) and Borgo Egnazia (Puglia, Italy). These are both the ultimate in luxury, but simple. I can remember the smell of each property just thinking about them.
British Airways and Swiss Airlines.
What’s on your travel playlist?
Mozart and Buddha Bar.
How do you switch off?
By switching off my phone.
What is your most treasured purchase from your travels?
Olive oil in Puglia – we had bottles shipped to our home in France to use throughout the year. We absolutely love Pugliese olive oil.
Where is home and what are your must-do’s for any tourists visiting?
We live between London and Paris, but Morocco will still always feel like home. I would recommend visiting all the imperial cities first to understand the modern Arabian Morocco. Fez, founded by Sultan Idrisside Idris I; Marrakech, founded by Almoravid Sultan Youssef Ibn Tachfin; Rabat, founded by Almohad Sultan Abd al-Mumin; Meknes, founded in the 11th century by the Almoravid dynasty under the reign of the Alawite sultan Ismail ben Cherif.
These cities are absolute treasures of architecture where each sultan and dynasty had its own identity and grandeur. They hold the most precious memories, carrying the magnificence of the Moroccan history.
Then I would visit the Atlas Mountains, the Rif region, and the Souss region to understand the origins of more than 60% of Moroccans, the Berbers. They have their own culture, their own architecture, their own language, and before converting to Islam, they had their own beliefs.
I would then strongly recommend going to the desert where endless landscapes of sand remind us of how little we are and how humble we should be. The Sahara is where any tourist can meet the incredible Moroccan Tuaregs and their nomad way of living (note: their tea is intensely sweet!) Sunshine in the desert is breathtaking. Best place to enjoy this? The Merzouga region.
Morocco (Agadir, Marrakech, and Rabat), Italy, New York (hopefully in autumn).
First thing that comes to your mind…
Sunglasses and sunscreen.
Packing: roll or fold?
A perfect fold.
In-flight book or in-flight film?
Book for short flights, film for longer ones.
Music or podcasts?
I love both. For podcasts, I favour anything intellectual, cultural, or historical.
Time filler on a long-haul flight?
Playing cards with my husband.
Holiday tipple of choice?
Beach or City Break?
Ultimate holiday treat?
Sunset with my loved ones with a glass of champagne and some bossa nova.