Having worked in fashion styling and buying for more than a decade, it’s often as likely you’ll find a hefty wheelie suitcase the size of a dishwasher by my side, as a designer handbag. I’ve been known to wrangle up to six 23kg suitcases across the globe and back. You name it, it’s happened to me: suitcases splitting open on the conveyer belt revealing my intimates to hundreds of other jet lagged travellers; luggage ending up in Germany instead of Bangkok (after a shopping trip in Paris no less); suitcases getting lost in transit on my honeymoon, leaving me in the Nike Dri-FIT sportswear I arrived in. Perhaps my most memorable incident was having a bottle of red nail varnish explode throughout an entire suitcase full of holiday shopping. No, the nail varnish wasn’t contained in a cosmetics bag and, no, I’ll never pack it like that again. When it comes to the subject of packing, I could write a book. I could, but I’m in the middle of emptying several cases from the latest international Fashion Quarterly photoshoot jaunt, so I’ll just offer up my top tips instead. For my suitcase travel sins I have learned the following:
Thall shalt: choose your bag wisely. Just like the foundation of an outfit, when it comes to the bag, choose well. I religiously travel with the Kathmandu jet trolley 80l, $599, and the jet brief carry-on 22L, $199. Sleek and black with plenty of compartments to house travel essentials, protect your technology and room to fit all your trip purchases for the journey home.
Thall shalt: have a sturdy (none of those flimsy cardboard ones added at the check in counter) luggage tag on your suitcase so it’s easier to find once hitting the tarmac. This will prevent any time wasting and bleary eyed ‘is that yours or mine?’ moments at the carousel. Bonus points for personalised monogram chic. I choose the Deadly Ponies monogrammed luggage tag, $120.
Thall shalt: stick to the classics. A trip away is not the time to road test a new style, trend or colour. Keep it simple with well-fitting denim, soft and slouchy cotton tees, Breton stripes and ballet flats or slip-on canvas sneakers. It’ll save space too, as classic styles can easily be mixed and matched. I can’t go past a Commoners basic striped tee, $80.
Thall shalt: keep skin hydrated in-flight. When we’re travelling on Fashion Quarterly photoshoot trips, we often hit the ground running and start work as soon as we land. To ensure I look lively (even if I’m not feeling it) I rely on my in flight beauty go-tos. MAC Fix+, $38, Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve, $46, and Trilogy Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+, $36, are always stashed in the side pocket of my carry-on for quick retrieval.
Thall shalt: have fun! It is such an honour to be able to travel the world to shoot beautiful models in faraway places and when security checks and retina scans are making me impatient and irritated I remind myself not to sweat the small stuff and that I’ll get there when I get there. Besides, sometimes the funniest stuff happens along the way and they’re the things you often remember.