I’ve never been to Ibiza. I’ve only wished to visit. When I close my eyes, I can trace the back of my eyelids to form the shape of its rugged coastline. I can hear the sound of the waves break just beyond the walls of my living room. I can almost discern a salty breeze with notes of fresh hash and a hint of bright florals. In my Ibiza daydream, a hippie couple waves as they watch their children play barefoot in the sand. Further down the beach, a painter loads his brush to record the sunset. This is the Ibiza that I long to travel to. Unfortunately, my version exists in 1962.
Ibiza today has a reputation for hosting summer breakers and throwing epic electronic dance parties. It wasn’t always this way. In the early 1960’s Ibiza was nothing more than a sleepy farming island. There were no hotels, no summer breakers and definitely no dance parties. Somehow word got out about cheap land on untouched paradise on one of the Balearic Islands, and voila. Soon, anti-war advocates, artists, protesters, free spirits and rockstars alike were flocking to Ibiza to create their own utopia.
Ibiza was more than just an island, it was an ideology. It was wild, it was untamed, it was exclusive. It represented absolute freedom. Its habitants celebrated creativity. It was these early visitors who shaped the island’s bohemian aesthetic that we still reference today – and the one in my dreams.
Between then and now, much has changed. High rise hotels took over the once open coastlines. Live music evolved into electronic nightclubs and blared music so loud it masked the breeze. Clubgoers – not families – flooded the beach. Soon, club drugs like Ecstasy trickled in from Europe and the party scene began to explode. Chaos began to emerge from paradise. The 1969 movie, More, starring Barbet Schroeder infamously captured this cultural shift. The film follows the love story of a young, free spirited couple who met in idyllic Ibiza, and end up falling victims to heroin and LSD. Amidst the couple’s insanity, the movie still manages to capture Ibiza’s beautiful stone streets dotted with al fresco cafes that are packed with stylish patrons. Perhaps this opposition was simply forecasting Ibiza’s imminent future over the next two decades.
Decades have passed, yet Ibiza continues to fight for its reputation. It seems today that the island is slipping back into its former roots. More families and luxury travelers are passing through. The beaches are growing quieter as the clubgoers decline. Perhaps this is a sign of the times – the wellness revolution and a generation that favors mindfulness over hallucinogens. Celebrities seeking refuge are scooping up property for vacation homes, and a new wave of creatives are rediscovering the vintage Ibiza of their dreams – the one of my dreams, too.
A new book published by Assouline, titled, Ibiza Bohemia may be another indication that Ibiza is back on the map. The collection of curated photographs uncover some of the island’s best-kept secrets and coolest creatives that made Ibiza the iconic bohemia that it once was. Who better to show us around the island than its current residents and the authors of Ibiza Bohemia, fashion editor Renu Kashyap and travel writer Maya Boyd. Thanks to their curation and the work of numerous talented photographers, Ibiza Bohemia invites the viewer into the island’s past – maybe even predicting its hopeful future.
Discover some of Ibiza’s secrets from Assouline’s new Ibiza Bohemia in this selection of photos below.