{ At Home } In Hanoi

Hanoi1After tearing across China at warp speed, we ambled over to Vietnam to unwind. The rainy season is upon her, which set a soft mist over every afternoon. We’d be hit by sudden torrents while walking to dinner and try to make a run for it, only to arrive at our intended destination sopping wet and laughing tears. I loved Vietnam. All the colors and sounds and the storm clouds of buzzing motorbikes: it was a world away from the one I know as home. Hanoi2|ABOVE| tiptoeing over the bridge to the Temple of the Jade Dragon, floating in the center of Hoan Kiem Lake |WEARING| an Upstate shirtdress, Eileen Fisher pants and Tkees sandals

Hanoi, our first port of call, is a 1000-year-old city with a rich history. We stayed in the old quarter, which maintains the original layout of the town, with a couple dozen small streets snaking around the Hoan Kiem lake. These streets are bursting with small silk shops and food vendors, little hole-in-the-wall restaurants emitting intoxicating aromas. Like many cities we visited, years of French occupation left their mark on both the architecture of Hanoi and the texture of the region’s cuisine. European antiquities mix with traditional Asian artwork and rugs, and there is officially nothing more delicious than Vietnamese food inflected with French influences. Hanoi3 Hanoi4|ABOVE| beautifully woven carpets to match my Teysha slippers Hanoi5The days are hot and humid in Hanoi, but the lakeside park comes alive in the evenings, with men rigging up nets across the sidewalks for raucous games of badminton, groups of women dancing in unison, and young lovers whispering secrets to each other on quiet benches, hidden by huge weeping willows whose boughs dip all the way into the water. Hanoi6The old-fashioned romance of the old town is richly felt in the halls of the Hotel Metropole, where we took a room. The Metropole has a lengthy history of providing sanctuary to writers and artists. Joan Baez wrote and recorded there during the Vietnam War, and Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard spent their honeymoon there after wedding in Shanghai. Hanoi7Hanoi8We awoke every morning to the sweet smell of flowers and strong Vietnamese coffee. Hanoi9 Hanoi10 Hanoi11I shipped most of my clothes home upon leaving China, preferring to travel with only a light duffel carrying a stack of simple shirts and lounge-y harem pants. Later in our trip, during a few days spent in Hoi An, I had oodles of duplicates made in pretty printed silks. I’ll show you those treasures soon. Hanoi12 Hanoi13 Hanoi14|WEARING| Jemma Sands necklace (worn HERE for Fashion Week), Zara top (previously seen HERE), Eileen Fisher pants, Teysha shoes Hanoi15 Hanoi16I was totally unprepared for how enchanting Vietnam would be. Hanoi was but a tiny taste of the intense charm that awaited us as we continued to travel south along the country’s coastline… Next stop, Halong Bay! Hanoi17|PHOTOGRAPHY| by Zachary Lynd and Kelly Framel