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Charles and Ron at the New York Fashion Week 2019

Romancing the sun and sea in Malta with Charles & Ron

Set just off the coast of Sicily, Malta is a country whose storied history stretches far beyond its golden beaches and otherworldly-blue waters.

Insider: Charles & Ron share some of their inspirations and tips when visiting Malta

A country redolent with ornate churches, never-ending sunshine, and a decadent food culture that borrows from traditional Mediterranean cuisine while remaining unique, Malta is a region where dreamlike romanticism mixes in with the heady sea breeze.

Local couturiers Charles & Ron have called Malta home for decades. Inspired by the candour of their home country, their vibrant creations have appeared on stars like Jessie J, Ashanti, and Game of Thrones actress Nathalie Emanuel. More recently, the duo also exhibited a gorgeous gown at the Buckingham Palace as part of the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange.

They speak to us about the lusciousness of the Mediterranean way of life, and drop some insider tips on the best places to explore in the country.

The Mediterranean way of life

Warm brick buildings and steep stairs pepper the island
Warm brick buildings and steep stairs pepper the island

There is a certain way in which people in the Mediterranean are more relaxed, spontaneous, and enjoy life’s pleasures – and we like this attitude. Although we work very hard, it is essential to have a good balance, and once you’re in Malta, you constantly feel that holiday vibe.

Design ethos & inspiration behind Charles and Ron

Charles & Ron is a contemporary lifestyle brand; high-end clothing and bags with a distinct Mediterranean flair and a dedication to superior quality. Maltese culture is an integral part of the Charles & Ron design ethic. Our brand’s vision is to inspire our customer to be part of the “love affair” and our instantly recognisable Mediterranean style.

Their FW18 Palazzo collection was shot at Palazzo Parisio in Malta
Their FW18 Palazzo collection was shot at Palazzo Parisio in Malta

Charles & Ron's SS18 Fashion Show on the steps of Malta's famed Citadel
Charles & Ron’s SS18 Fashion Show on the steps of Malta’s famed Citadel

Malta’s influence on our designs

Malta has always been of enormous inspiration to our work, and throughout the years we have always enjoyed designing from a Mediterranean point of view. For us, it’s important to incorporate certain aspects of culture, architecture and tradition and show them in a different and unexpected way.

Our creation (gown) that was exhibited at Buckingham Palace

It was an amazing project to be part of. We were one of the few designers selected to exhibit a couture design at Buckingham Palace for the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange. The exhibition was curated by Vogue’s Hamish Bowles and also featured Stella McCartney, Burberry and Karen Walker among others. The night was a first at the Palace and guest included; Naomi Campbell and Anna Wintour who complimented us on our design.

The dress exhibited at Buckingham Palace
The dress exhibited at Buckingham Palace

Our favourite fashion boutiques & shopping spots in Malta

We love our capital city Valletta, it’s a beautiful place to hang out, shop, drink and dine. For some more retail therapy The Point Shopping Mall in Sliema is also a must.

Best time to visit Malta

Malta has something to offer all year round but spring is beautiful and also the perfect weather to explore. If you love the heat than our long beautiful summer is the best time to visit.

The sun and sea permeates every inch of the island
The sun and sea permeates every inch of the island

Our favourite restaurants and bars in Malta

We love to dine at Republic 59, chef Maria is one of the top chefs on the island. Another favourite in Valletta is Palazzo Preca. On the island of Gozo we love Pierre’s restaurant. There are many more as Malta and Gozo have a great selection of amazing restaurants.

Best view in Malta

A personal favourite is the view from the Upper Barakka Gardens, you get a spectacular view of the Grand Harbour of Valletta and the 3 cities.

A stunning view of Malta by sunset
A stunning view of Malta by sunset
  1. Republic 59

Just steps away from the Grandmaster’s Palace Square in the capital of Valletta, Republic 59 is a clean, modern space that fuses classic European cuisine with Mediterranean warmth and flavour. Only the freshest seasonal produce makes the cut here at Republic 59, so you’re guaranteed a meal to remember.

At 59 Republic, only the freshest seasonal produce make the cut
At 59 Republic, only the freshest seasonal produce make the cut
  1. Palazzo Preca

Owing to Malta’s prime location, Palazzo Preca serves the freshest catch from the nearby seas, delivering plates of vibrant seafood and savoury treats in the heart of Valletta. The restaurant itself is a warm and inviting space, dripping with warm candlelight and hushed convivial conversation.

Palazzo Preca serves up the freshest catch from the nearby sea
Palazzo Preca serves up the freshest catch from the nearby sea
  1. Pierre’s Restaurant

Pierre’s is a lovely, if unassuming, al-fresco dining spot located by Gozo’s shimmering waters. Look out for the black-and-white signboard and groups of locals lounging by the water, wineglasses in hand and a mouth-watering spread of live catch and pizza lain out on their tables.

Some must-buys from Malta

Malta has some great hand-craft traditions and Filigree Jewellery is one of them, so those would be on the must-buy list for us for sure. Handmade Maltese Lace is special and so are one of our Malta inspired scarf designs!

The one experience that a visitor absolutely has to try in Malta

Malta has many beautiful places and the Silent City Mdina and St. John’s Cathedral in Valletta one must definitely visit. A boat trip around the islands is also something one should experience once in Malta.

Religion is an inextricable part of the country
Religion is an inextricable part of the country

In love with Malta

We both love Malta and its Mediterranean way of life. We love the history and culture here and also the social life. Although it’s small it has a lot to offer and it’s a very good place to be based. The long Maltese summers are also something that we wouldn’t change for the world. ◼

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© This article was first published online in Mar 2019 – World Travel Magazine.

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