Find out how to MASTER AIRPORT DRESSING to tick one thing off your list BEFORE YOU FLY …
I love airports – the whole experience gives me a buzz. Karl Lagerfeld seems to feel the same way, having used them as inspiration for several of his shows. Issued with a boarding pass, fashion editors arrived at the Grand Palais for SS16 to find it transformed into Aéroport Paris Gambon, complete with an airline lounge, branded luggage trolleys, check-in desks and signs to gates (No 5 obviously). The 2008 Cruise collections were housed in a Santa Monica plane hangar with models exiting from Chanel jets. For SS12, meanwhile, Lagerfeld recreated an Airbus A380 as the setting for his catwalk. On each of these occasions, the symbolism was not lost on the audience, for whom commuting around the globe is all in a day’s work. No doubt they had their eyes on the luggage – not something you’d want to part with unless you’re flying NetJet. Models wheeled quilted Chanel carry-on cases, while belts were reminiscent of safety buckles and the camellia brooch was replaced by airline pins. This was airport chic at its most refined.
Sadly, the same meticulousness is not shared by the majority of travellers. Designer Carolina Herrera admitted (to Wall Street Journal), “My fashion pet peeve is how people dress at the airport. It’s terrible.” I tend to agree and blame the athleisure trend. Says Herrera, “You know, if you dress up at the airport you will actually be taken care of perfectly. You’ll be the one who the stewards look after the most.” She’s definitely right. I’ve come to believe the adage “dressing for the job you want, rather than the job you have” could be applied to airport travel style, especially like me, if you’ve spent a lifetime trying to decode the mysteries of who makes the SFU list (suitable for upgrade). One traveller revealed to Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop website that they had spotted a message on a screen at Virgin Airlines that read: “Look for well-dressed people to upgrade.” Last year, British Airways weighed in with its inaugural World’s Best Dressed Travellers list, asking Hollywood stylist Elizabeth Saltzman (who worked for Armani and counts Saoirse Ronan as a client) to compile the winners. She nominated Victoria Beckham as winner because, “She always gets it right when flying and it’s so impressive. Usually there is a menswear element to her travel wardrobe, it is chic and sophisticated but still classic and comfortable.”
After studying the form closely, I’ve created my own rules. Firstly, seasoned travellers have their own in-transit uniform – whether it is the classic navy blazer and casual trousers of say, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Joan Collins, the all-black ensembles of the fashion crowd, or the passe-partout look of leather jacket, white t-shirt and jeans. Jeggings and tracksuits may spell comfort but they should be changed into on board rather than worn on arrival. Secondly, it’s important to travel light, an art form in itself. The A list of course have
teams to check in excess baggage but it’s remarkably cheap to send luggage on ahead. Services such as sendmybag.ie will deliver luggage to Europe for as little as €36 per item, thus aiding the carefree walk through customs. Most of us now travel with only carry-on luggage, which should be in pristine condition; get rid of battered bags and do add a Max Benjamin Blue Azure scented card (€5) for added freshness. One frequent traveller says she keeps a toiletries bag packed with minis at all times, in case she has to fly off somewhere in short notice. Customising accessories elevates them. Furthermore, adding cashmere classics (by Amber Cashmere) or a scarf (from KDK) to your travel wardrobe is a worthwhile investment for some colour and creativity. Save your formal clothes for when you get off the plane, or, if needs be change in the bathroom before landing. Lastly, a great pair of sunglasses hides jet lag and adds mystique. Bon voyage!
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