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