Natalie Riachi is a Paris-based Scottish fashion designer and blogger whose beautiful Living in Clips website explores an exotic blend of fashion and beauty-related subjects ranging from traditional Scottish designs to Parisian designer perfumes, with some real life thrown in as well!
We asked Natalie to describe her relationship with her country of birth for the latest instalment in our My Scotland series. Read on to learn about Natalie's favourite place in Scotland, the Scottish creators she loves the most and more...
Photo by Iona Spence www.ionaspence.co.uk
My favourite place in Scotland is...
It was only just last night that I was reading out loud to my boyfriend, a short story I wanted to share with him, from a book called “My favourite place – a tribute to Scotland’s best-loved places”. The piece was written by Michael Palin, it never fails to bring a tear of joy to my eyes. His story of the overwhelming beauty and strong significance that the Falls of Dochart have had throughout his life fills me with strong nostalgia for Scotland, and his beautiful description of its wild beauty takes my thoughts to my favourite spot.
A magical peaceful place I visited with my family as a child and a place that has stayed with me ever since. Little Garve is located in the Highlands of Scotland just North of Inverness. Once you get off the main road onto a small single track road it will lead you about half a mile down to a magnificent stone arched bridge. It is there that I love to come both in my imagination and whenever I happen to be that far north to enjoy a picnic and a walk through the soft woodland trail which lies beside the enchanting, fast flowing deep russet brown Black Water River.
That’s not to say its beauty can’t be beaten, I mean the borders, central Scotland, the Highlands, and the Islands are all magnificent in their own rights but there is something so idyllic and protected about that beautiful spot at Little Garve, that it will for now and perhaps forever remain my favourite place in Scotland.
Scottish people are...
Scottish people are generally very warm, witty and welcoming. That reputation follows us throughout the world: it’s something I’ve always noticed when I tell people where I am from as I witness their face becomes alive, and animated with joy.
I would say we are also very patriotic people.
Scottish style is...
In general, I would have to say sometimes pretty wild. Scottish people are not afraid to have fun, not afraid to experiment. They really have this try-anything-once kind of attitude.
I am often asked to answer this question when being interviewed and I always refer to the fact that you will find that many Scottish people like to experiment with different hair colours. Living in France for so long made me realize that women here do not dye their hair and more recently I read the book “How to be Parisian” wherever you are and they confirm a French woman should never dye her hair and work with her natural beauty that she has been given. Very contrasting to Scottish style I feel. I think it would be really fun and interesting to read a book like that about Scottish women – a laugh a minute I’m sure. I respect their creativity and fun they generally love to bring to their style.
I wouldn’t say my style is that daring though, I would say, I am somewhere in between the two cultures style. Perhaps more Parisian though than anything else … I play it quite safe with somber colours but definitely love that bold pop from an oversize accessory.
Scotland gets under my skin because...
Of its natural and breathtaking scenery, freedom to roam in the most tranquil and far from the madding countryside at the same time breathing in the freshest air, and languishing in the sounds of nature, and the smell of pine forests and the blooming carpets of heather. It’s all just so romantic…
Photo by Iona Spence www.ionaspence.co.uk
Scottish creators that I love include...
I love Hilary Grant’s knitwear designs (as shown in the photo above), they really show a contemporary Scottish design which always reminds me of the land. The quality of her products also prevails as she uses mills in Scotland to produce her work and I love to support that industry in the UK.
I am so passionate about keeping that industry alive that, in fact, going to launch my second clothing and homeware collection this year, which will again focus on using local producers and this time working with knitwear.
Holly Fulton is an Edinburgh born designer based in London who works a great deal around modern, fashion forward printed collections. I don’t currently own any of her pieces but I would someday love to.
Something that you didn't know about living in Scotland is…
Scot-land is your land. You can roam the countryside freely as long as you observe country codes like closing gates behind you to ensure farm animals don’t escape their grazing area.
Something I always find when I bring a friend from abroad to visit Scotland with me is that they never knew of our single track roads and cattle roaming free on them in the Highlands.
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