Horses and hedonism

 

Indian

 

Summer

 

The sun always shines on pristine beaches in the world of Louise Sandberg – an avid polo player and founder of the hedonistic fashion brand, Sexy Kaftans. 

 

By Camilla Alfthan, model Silja Normann Gade 

 

Celebrities have been photographed wearing the kaftans in exotic, far flung destinations around the globe. For Louise Sandberg it all started when she was vacationing on the island on St. Barths and fell for the local fashion of colourful, embroidered kaftans that women would wear over a swimsuit.

“People were wearing them on the beach and in the streets in all sorts of different colours and designs. It was much more stylish than a sarong and an upgraded version of the traditional kaftan that you could also wear in the evenings, “ tells Sandberg who liked the tops so much that she brought an entire box to take back home to London thinking it could become a business.

Today, her Sexy Kaftans brand has become synonymous with a hedonistic lifestyle complete with beachwear made in Marocco and Paris. For someone who is passionate about polo the associations are perfect.

Sandberg picked up the mallet at 24, when her polo playing friends, Jodie and Jack Kidd talked her into trying the sport. In 1999 she started touring the world playing women’s polo which was sponsored by various patrons and brands.

 

A PASSPORT TO THE WORLD

 

 

Polo  has taken me around the world. I’ve now played in more than 10 different countries in international tournaments.  But for me, polo is more than that – it is the ultimate sport as it requires so many skills –  physically and psychologically – plus it’s a team sport which gives you the feeling of a team work.

 

“There’s an adrenaline rush that I only find in polo.”

 

All of life’s greatest challenges and abilities are tested in polo – team work, rules, dedication and discipline combined with risk taking and making fast decisions.

Polo suits well into a modern lifestyle, where many people seek action in a short hit. There’s an adrenaline rush that I only find in polo, when you’re all on your own and yet you can hear seven players chasing you from behind – that is the coolest and most unique experience I’ve ever had.

 

It’s probably to do with polo being the world’s second fastest team sport – only beaten by ice hockey where the puck flies faster. It takes me back to polo again and again – polo is an addiction!

 

 

MY BIGGEST MOMENT

 

Being elected to the national English ladies’ team to play in Iran in 2006. It was the first time women played polo there in almost 600 years. Just before leaving we were advised not to go as there was a lot of unrest between Iran and the West. But we followed our hearts and didn’t regret it – we were guests in one of the most beautiful polo clubs I’ve ever known – the Kanoon Choga.

Our hosts took us to see Isfahan which has the world’s oldest polo field which is said to be over a thousand years old.

 

It is a place which most polo players have never seen. Our team, England, won the tournament and we were headline news in Iran. We took advantage of telling the news media how happy we were that sport can build bridges between countries while we were trying be as neutral as possible.

 

“Iran was an incredible experience – even if the state sent 20 secret agents to follow our every step.” 

 

All in all Iran and its people were an incredible experience and we cannot say anything bad about it – even if the state sent 20 secret agents to follow our every step.

 

We were also invited to the historic British embassy in Tehran – an oasis of Victorian splendour in midst of one of the world’s busiest cities. Our finale match was very beautiful – spectators were seated on Persian carpets with men and women on each their side. The vice president of Iran was there, too.

We may go back there next year. Polo was born in Iran and I’m proud to say that I’ve played there.

 

 

MY BEST POLO ADVICE

 

Play the best polo that you can, play with professionals. Polo is a unique pro- amateur sport and you cannot advance without playing with the best.

 

polo kaftan

Photo © Camilla Alfthan, model Silja Normann Gade.

 

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