Andy Torres Takes Tel Aviv
Street style star and the blog pioneer behind StyleScrapbook takes the season’s key trends for a spin in the Middle Eastern metropolis.
There are worse places to sit down for an interview than on the rooftop of The Carlton Hotel in Tel Aviv, overlooking the infinity of the Mediterranean on one side, and the high-rising skyscrapers and miles of urban sprawl on the other. It’s Thursday evening and the city that’s always down to party is bustling. Fashion entrepreneur and blog pioneer Andy Torres – also known as StyleScrapbook – is in the Land of Milk and Honey for the first time, spending her time on the beach, browsing vintage finds in the ancient port Old Jaffa, and going to obscure salsa clubs.
“Tel Aviv is completely different than I expected. The architecture is incredible, the streets are clean and it’s so incredibly vibrant,” she says while waiting to leave the hotel for an evening out, wearing a black, off-shoulder jumpsuit paired with an oversized leather clutch.
Tel Aviv is nicknamed The White City because of the Bauhaus architecture that makes up much of the city centre, built between the 40s and 60s. It’s a melting pot of different cultures, and its hot climate and close ties to the sea make it a unique place where everything happens outside – both on the city streets and on the world-renowned 15-kilometre-long beach stretch that hosts surfers, yogis, tourists, worshippers – and everyone else.
“I love sunny and hot cities so Tel Aviv is right down my alley,” Andy says and continues: “it reminds me of Miami, Venice Beach [in Los Angeles] and Barcelona – which are three of my favourite places, but the beaches here are cleaner and there’s just as much or even more to explore.”
With perpetual sunlight, it’s always summer in Tel Aviv and there are always crowds sitting on stools outside of restaurants and cafés, dipping bread in tahini, and cooling down with lemonade or a locally produced Gold Star beer.
One restaurant that captures the spirit of Tel Aviv’s endless summers is Port Sa’id, which is located just across from the largest synagogue in town, and named “the capital of Tel Avivan hipster life” by TimeOut Magazine. Unless you arrive at the restaurant very early or very late – you should be prepared to wait on the curb until one of the effortlessly cool waitresses calls your name.
“It’s definitely worth waiting to eat at Port Sa’id. Everything is really fresh, it’s a great vibe and a meeting place for young people,” says Andy Torres.
WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO SUMMER OUTFIT?
“In the summer, I’m the kind of person who can wear the same T-shirt for three days straight. In the winter I love layering, and wearing warm clothes, so hot-weather dressing is a little tricky for me. I’m less creative and trend-focused and instead try to be more smart about what I wear – opting for comfy dresses, jumpsuits, and minimalistic pieces. However, I’m never boring, I can’t be boring when it comes to style, so I always have something on that pops, be it earrings, a cool bag or just an all-over printed dress or top.”
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT SUMMER?
“I’m from Mexico, and because I grew up in a hot climate, I never really understood the power of summer until I moved to Europe, to Amsterdam. It makes people (myself included) so happy. I love to rent a boat and go around on the canals in Amsterdam, or just hang out on a beach, listening to music and eating food when I’m abroad.”
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR WHEN GOING ON A SUMMER HOLIDAY?
“I want to find somewhere I can dance. EDM culture is really big in Amsterdam, and I’m not at all into it. I try to find obscure salsa clubs and weird places like that where I can really, really, dance.”
I can’t be boring when it comes to style, so I always have something on that pops.
WHAT’S THE FIRST THING YOU DO WHEN YOU GET TO YOUR DESTINATION?
“I unpack and put everything in the hotel wardrobe. I’m actually really organised! Then I go on Yelp or ask my followers to DM [direct message on Instagram] me about the best places to eat, drink, dance and beach.”
WHAT TYPE OF BEACH ARE YOU INTO?
“I need things to do when I’m on the beach, and I don’t mind having people to look at when I’m there. With temps hitting well over 30 in Tel Aviv, I’ll be on the beach, more specifically in the water, till late in the afternoon before I start exploring the town.”
BIG CITY OR SMALL BEACH TOWN?
“I need the buzz of a big city and the convenience, and all the opportunities of things to do. I need the energy that city life provides.”
BACKPACKING OR RESORT?
“Hell no to backpacking! But I should probably try it just to get out of my comfort zone.”
POOL OR OCEAN?
“Ocean – one hundred percent. I grew up going to the beach and have the best memories of my life from beach days with my family. I don’t understand people who don’t go to the ocean.”
IF YOU COULD ONLY PACK ONE THING – WHAT WOULD IT BE?
“One thing? That’s impossible. I’d have to bring my laptop though, I think the world might stop if I don’t have it with me [laughs].”
ANDY TORRES’ GUIDE TO TEL AVIV
HOW TO GET THERE
“Airplane is the only way! It’s a big city so it’s easy to reach, which is good because I don’t like stopovers or waiting in different airports.”
WHAT TO PACK
“I actually have an in-depth method for packing, where I plan several outfits per day and organise each one in different folders in my phone. I usually end up with a couple of very heavy suitcases. For a beach day, I try to keep it simple with a bathing suit, a caftan and some vibrant accessories.”
WHERE TO BEACH
“I need to have fun at the beach. I love paddle boarding, and I like the convenience of a city beach with heaps of restaurants, freshwater showers and plenty of after-beach options. I mostly hang out on Gordon beach and Hilton beach, which are great for watersports and people watching.”
WHERE TO EAT
“The locals are the best guides, and I was recommended to go to Port Sa’id. You get small dishes to share, which you eat with your hands off a piece of cardboard. The tahini and hummus are amazing, and the vibe is really exciting.”
WHERE TO PONDER
“I love to sit on the beach, listening to the sound of the ocean. Both the blue colour and the sound of waves rolling in really calm me down.”
Click here to see Andy Torres’ holiday packing essentials.
Click here to see what went down last week when Lulama Wolf explored Corsica.