There is an amazing connection between travel and fashion. Both are pursuits of the unknown and both are exhilarating. By how many routes has mankind explored the earth? But distant horizons still beckon and jet-setting jobs still drip with cool; they probably always will. Taste of Life caught Barb Atkin, Vice President of Fashion Direction for Holt Renfrew, and Larry Rosen, the Chairman and CEO of the Harry Rosen menswear stores, just long enough to pocket some of their travel wisdom.
Taste of Life: What are your must-haves when travelling?
Barb Atkin: Lightweight statement coats are essential as entrances are made in coats. Rick Owens’ knit pants and wonderfully draped tops are the right balance of comfort and chic style. I love mid-heel ankle booties for getting around comfortably. I carry a large tote bag to hold all my essentials during the day, and use an oversized soft clutch for evenings. I always bring something for cocktail events and of course accessories–mainly eclectic cuffs and scarves.
Larry Rosen: When travelling for business, my must-haves include a travel blazer or travel suit. A well-made one is wrinkle and stain resistant and always looks good on-the-go. I also include a couple of shirts and ties, as well as a pair of grey all-season dress pants and dressy jeans.
TOL: What do you bring with you to help you unwind?
Atkin: A good easy-reading book on my Kindle transports me away from my usually obsessive days.
Rosen: I always bring my workout gear. It’s important to remain active, even when on-the-road.
TOL: How do you balance comfort and style in your choice of footwear?
Atkin: If my feet hurt, my days are not enjoyable. A chunky, mid-height heel or flats with pointy toes are my footwear of choice. I always rotate my shoes during the day and carry a different heel height in my tote bag.
Rosen: Ferragamo has a great rubber sole loafer that strikes the perfect balance. They’re dressy when you need them to be and casual when you don’t.
TOL: What kind of checked and carry-on luggage do you prefer?
Atkin: Tumi luggage is my choice for checked luggage as it stands up to the wear and tear of airport baggage handlers. My carry-on is an old favorite, a Louis Vuitton that I’ve had for ages. It travels well, carries a lot, and fits neatly in the overhead compartment.
Rosen: I try to check my luggage less and pack lighter so that I can simply travel with a carry-on. Tumi makes the most durable luggage–they even make the best backpacks. I now travel with one on more casual outings.
TOL: Are there any restaurants you must stop at in certain cities? Anywhere you go out of your way to visit?
Atkin: I do research on the latest, newest restaurant in the cities that I travel to but there’s one restaurant in Milan [Italy] that’s a home away from home, Da Giacomo. No matter what I order it is done to perfection and their lobster and linguine is prepared like nowhere else in the world!
Rosen: La Risacca Blu in Milan, Italy. I’ll always go out of my way for their Mediterranean Sea Bass cooked in salt.
TOL: Speaking of food, how do you stay balanced and healthy while continually faced with sumptuous menus en route?
Atkin: If I am on an overnight flight, I order the flex meal which means I get served as soon as we reach our cruising altitude, and then I try to sleep.
I stay away from alcohol, and drink a lot of water. Hydration is the best recipe for the skin as well as for curing jet lag.
Rosen: I make a point of getting up early every morning and working out. I also limit my wine intake during those long, drawn-out dinners.
TOL: What tricks have you picked up that make the travel experience smoother or richer?
Atkin: I try not to stress. If flights are delayed or I miss a connecting flight, so be it. I always pack three days of clothes in my carry-on in case my bags don’t show up. ‘Stay calm and positive’ is a good travel motto.
Rosen: Always unpack your bags and hang your jackets on arrival. Your garments will ‘fall out’ nicely and look great when you’re ready to wear them. Also, don’t hesitate to use the laundry service provided at most good hotels. Clean clothes more often means you can pack less, and travel lighter.
TOL: What is the ideal travel moment, in your opinion?
Atkin: When my flight takes off on-time and I settle in with my Kindle; knowing that I am alone with my thoughts for the next couple of hours. That’s a great travel moment.
Rosen: I recently hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. It was the most Zen moment of my travels to date.