2018. TREASURE CHEST

Someone asked me recently where my inspiration comes from. Where do I start? A walk in the woods, a bird on the windowsill, a day at the sea, a picture from the past. Things that appear to have nothing in common. Of course, when I really gave it some thought, I realized that what they all have in common is that they are souvenirs.I am inspired by precious memories.

When it’s grey and dreary, I have the colors of India in my head. When it’s cold, I imagine myself sitting under a palm tree. And when I’m feeling a bit too hot? I picture the moose in a Scandinavian pine forest. Plenty of memories to go around. And plenty of inspiration. 

The trip Olle and I took to India seven years ago (my, how time flies...) left us with a treasure chest of memories.India is a country full of contradictions.  British colonial houses in a tropical landscape, drinking chai out of English teacups, exotic flowers and birds in an overcrowded city.No wonder India keeps inspiring!

Olle and I also visited the Taj Mahal while we were there. The unavoidable, world-famous mausoleum that looks like a palace. To protect the vulnerable white marble from air pollution, cars are no longer allowed anywhere near the Taj Mahal.So you can walk there or take a camel wagon.It goes without saying that Olle and I chose the latter.We started very early in the morning.Not because we’re at our most cheerful in the early morning hours, but because we had been told that the light is so wonderful at that time.  

Everything you have ever heard or read about the Taj Mahal is true. It is breath-taking.Unique.Incomparable.Of all the stories about this building, my favorite is the most romantic version.Here is it.

The powerful Shah Jahan and the beautiful Mumtaz Mahal married on 25 May 1612, a date chosen by astrologists.They had predicted that a marriage on that date would be both successful and fertile.Mumtaz was Jahan's third wife.Her beauty was legendary – I picture an Indian Doutzen Kroes – and she and Jahan were crazy about one another.Jahan has several wives, but Mumtaz Mahal was his favorite.Together they traveled around the country.After 19 years of marriage (Mumtaz was only 38 at the time), she died giving birth to their 14th child.You have to admit that the astrologers were right in that it was a productive marriage.

Jahan was devastated.He never had another woman after Mumtaz’ death.His empire was more prosperous than ever.He was the most powerful man in India, but was distraught inside.So he focused all of his attention on one of the biggest and most expensive building projects in the world.He hired the best Persian, Arabic and European architects and started building the Taj Mahal, a mausoleum to commemorate his one true love.A total of 20,000 people worked on it.It took over 22 years to complete.They built the building out of white marble.And decorated the inside and outside with flowers and Persian texts.They adorned the decorations with agate, malachite and jasper.And painted the letters so that everything would have the illusion of being equally as large, which is why the letters are smaller at the bottom.

I may not be the most powerful man in India.And I don’t know if I’d go so far for love (although you never know), yet I can identify with Jahan.He cherished his memory.He gave it his all.And created something beautiful.He was not easily satisfied and devoted endless attention to the details.I recognize that kind of mentality.Which is also why that white palace continues to inspire me.And why it is certainly not the last time that you will see the English colonial style, colors, birds, flowers and palms of India in my collections.I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

And let me give you a little tip: your memories stay with you forever.Cherish them.And know that you have the chance to make new ones each and every day.

Hugs and kisses from Pip