A Day in Mexico City by GQ Style Editor Luke Day
After three glorious, sun-soaked months spent beachside in Tulum, I missed what I knew best, city life. I craved the energy of a capital city, the fast-paced dynamic that stirs with ambition. Having spent twelve weeks barefoot, the prospect of wearing shoes, and escaping the omnipresence of sand became an unexpected thrill. I was ready to swap the Tulum jungle for the concrete kind.
Movement has always been a big part of my world. Before 2020 I was travelling once a week to London, Paris, New York, Florence and Milan for the fashion week circuit, and to other faraway places to style shoots, and for personal adventures when my schedule allows. Travel, and the experiences that come with it, the people, places, sights and smells, feed my imagination and serve as my biggest source of inspiration; North London in November doesn’t quite have the same effect.
Having spent most of the past year at home alongside the rest of the world, the ease of lockdown restrictions made me feel it was the right time to book a flight to Mexico, first to Tulum, then up to explore Oaxaca, before an unexpected trip to Mexico City to work on a very exciting undisclosed project, and host a cocktail party.
Touchdown at Benito Juárez conjured all the warm, familiar feelings of returning to a favourite city. It feels strange to admit that being back in the bustle made me feel calmer, more relaxed and focused. The hum of traffic and endless cityscape has provided the backdrop to most of my life. This trip was focused around meeting with local designers for a retail concept I’m currently developing with Grupo Gitano in Tulum, and an event I was hosting with Casa Bosques, an independent store platforming the best publications in art, design and fashion. In short, I was looking for a space that would allow me to hit the ground running, and Casai’s apartments offered just that.
I arrived with an edited down version of my beach wardrobe, including the few items that felt appropriate in a city context and my only pair of toe-covered-footwear, a pair of white trainers sporting the dustry remnants of Tulum’s beach road, and checked into my new working week as a Mexico City local. Ideally positioned in the heart of leafy Roma, the apartment had all the comforts of home that you learn to value even more after a long stint at the beach: reliable wifi with lightning fast download speeds, consistently hot and well pressured showers, full length mirrors aplenty, and all the amenities that make life more efficient, including hand sanitizer and face masks aptly positioned by the door.
The apartment quickly felt like a home from home, flooded with natural light and contemporary in design, the space felt warm, welcoming and comfortable. With two rooms, I had the luxury of designating space to organise samples for shoots, whilst using the first bedroom as a retreat to relax, watch Netflix and speak with family, friends, and my life coach back in London. The main space works ideally as a home office, my zoom setup was instantly upgraded in terms of professionalism, and I know my colleagues appreciated the smooth city wifi. Unlike at Casai, staying in hotels often means forgoing space, making it hard to physically and mentally distinguish between work and downtime, a dynamic that’s important to me when away for extended periods.
Mornings always start with an early zoom call to catch up with my team back in London and discuss the upcoming GQ issue, then I head out to pick up coffee and a pastry from Panadería Rosetta to enjoy back at the apartment after picking up samples collected by the concierge.
My days were mostly filled with studio visits, meeting with some of Mexico’s leading designers such as Chino from Out of Comfort who are in the midst of planning their foray into ready to wear, the team at Boyfriend Shirt who offer a playful take on tailoring, Patricio of The Pack who explores themes of masculinity, sustainability and tradition, and design duo Pamela and Hugo of Cruzada who handcraft each piece of jewelry locally in Mexico City. I also visited the studio of friend and artist Fernando Laposse, who works with the byproduct of corn production, repurposing discarded husks into animalistic sculptures.
The creative landscape of Mexico is constantly evolving, it’s so exciting to be at the center of that growth and use my platform to help brands reach new audiences. Being centrally located just a stone’s throw away from shoot locations and some of my favourite places alleviated the pressures of a busy schedule: long lunches at Maximo Bistro, natural wine on the terrace at Canopia, sushi in the Japanese garden at Casa Basalta, and small plates at Loup Bar were only a short walk from the apartment.
With a long history working with magazines, Casa Bosques is one of my favourite spots, the ideal place to bring together the city’s leading creatives. Hosting events inevitably comes with a fair amount of stress, but my cocktail party at Casa Bosques was made all the more seamless with the luxury of being able to meet with collaborators and curate the exhibition of my work from the comfort of Casai.
A busy schedule always demands a relaxing retreat, and being able to walk home between shoots, meetings, and lunches offered the recalibration I needed. Staying in Colonia Roma in March meant the wide streets were filled with Jacarandas in bloom, Mexico City’s equivalent of the Japanese cherry blossom, which made the textured architecture of the city even more handsome. My work has led me to build a creative community of stylists, writers, designers and visionaries that stretches across the globe, from London to Mexico City and everywhere in between, and with that, I have built a network of places that feel like home, and Casai is one of those places.