Gypset Chic in Sayulita

smallfishLiving in New York, I see a lot of really well dressed—and often over-the-top dressed—people on the streets. In my neighborhood, I often see one of New York City’s best dressed men. His adorable daughter and my handsome son are in the same grade. On Fifth Avenue, it’s all about high-end labels, handbags, shoes, and jewels. Seriously, some of these women, from head to toe, sport at least $100K worth of clothing and accessories. Further downtown, it’s street chic at its finest, from club kids to cross-dressers.

When I hit the streets of Sayulita in Mexico, I was not expecting to be wowed by the fashion scene, much less meet a fashion inspiration. Little did I know that I was about to be blown away by Sayulita’s gypset fashionista—Natalie, the owner of Pachamama gallery and boutique.

Natalie from PachaMama

Natalie from PachaMama
Photo by: Stefanie Michejda

I’ve talked before about “gypsetters”—those lucky artists, surfers, and bon vivants that you find flitting between places like Montauk, Ibiza, and, yes, Sayulita. Not only is Natalie a card-carrying member of the genre, she’s so much like the wind that she’s nearly impossible to track down. We showed up in Sayulita with our fingers crossed, hoping to cross paths and convince her to speak with me on camera. To our joy, she said yes, but only after she could get “camera ready.” I already liked this woman! She may be part of a carefree lifestyle but she knows when she needs to look her very best!

While she primped and prepped, I wanted to show off the store’s wares on camera for my episode of Meet Me There – Real del Mar. I couldn’t resist a short version of the gorgeous hand-embroidered caftans on sale. Each one was a piece of wearable art.

Then I spotted the jewelry case! Displayed casually in the black case were several exquisite necklaces made of black Tahitian pearls strung on soft leather cords. They called out to me! So with a triple strand of pearls around my neck and one arm wrapped up in a fringed snakeskin cuff, I had appropriately worked myself up into a retail lather when Natalie walked back into the boutique.

The first time I saw her, she was chic enough. But when she glided back into the shop, she looked like a Mexican gypsy goddess, dressed in a long silk slip dress that hung perfectly over her tanned, slender frame. She had adorned herself with tribal body paint with a trail of white dots marking the middle of her face. To top it off, and I mean really top it off, she had a HUGE – like three-foot-long – bird feather tucked into the top of her hair. And she wore it like she pulls off this look on a regular basis without a lot of fanfare and drama. I mean, I wake up thinking, “it feels like a Rag and Bone Jeans and boots kind day” where Natalie probably wakes up and thinks, “I’m gonna wear tribal body art and a three-foot-long bird feather in my hair”.

We talked about life, passions, black Tahitian pearls, family, art, and sailing to Mexico from Europe – which she did, of course. All of the things she loves are incorporated into her boutique, which is really an extension of her own family. Their photos hang all around the gallery, and each of her children looks like they stepped out of a magazine spread.

I love stumbling across a fabulous travel treasure, and Pachamama in Sayulita is one of my favorite hidden gems. After wearing the amazing caftan around the boutique for nearly an hour, I had to buy it. It’s stunning, colorful, and handmade by a group of local women. So I wasn’t just shopping, I was funding the local artisans!

Mexican Dress at Pachamama

Loved it – bought it!

I left the boutique feeling inspired as I headed off to my surfing lesson. I wondered if I’d ever see Natalie again. People like her seem to pop up in your life only once.

Fast forward three months:

I’m at the MOMA with Corbin, who wanted to see Van Gogh’s Starry Night, because, according to him, it’s the second most famous piece of art in the world. (We were just a few days away from our Paris trip, where he wanted to see the most famous piece—the Mona Lisa).

As I walked up to the desk to pay for our ticket, I spied a tall woman standing a few feet away, wearing an AMAZING long, silk, tie-dyed dress, and guess what? A bird feather in her hair! No. It couldn’t be Natalie. But there she was. Natalie the gypset goddess was standing next to me—at the MOMA, of all places, thousands of miles away from the shores of Sayulita. We exchanged hellos and talked a little, clearly both stunned to see each other. You really never do know who you’ll run into in New York!

Pachamama details: This magical spot doesn’t have a website, or a social media presence, or anything else. It’s way too cool for that. If you wanna shop there, you gotta get yourself to Sayulita! And when you do, tell Natalie you heard about it from me.


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