The Art of Travel, Part 2: The Glamour

If you still think travel is tedious and exhausting and packed (pun intended) with emotional nights, long days (and delays) and extended difficulties, let you persuade you otherwise...

Oh – and the next post – the last for the year – will be a beautiful one about Paris and France. It will also include some details of how you can see the best of it next year in a wonderful tour we're organising. Do stop by if you fancy a once-in-a-lifetime journey to the gardens of France. We'd love to have you come along with us.

The beautiful, whimsical, travel-inspired windows of Hermès' flagship store in Paris. I'm not normally an advocate of using taxidermied animals in store displays, but I suspect this was an old exhibit from Deyrolle on the Left Bank. Look how magnificent he is! Look at that luggage! {My photo from archives}

A wonderful, wonderful video about luggage and Christmas and coveted orange boxes that will make you laugh, also by Hermès. Link here or here –

The sexiest camera ever produced... Leica's Hermès limited edition version. Would buy it, but would have to sell the husband for it. Then again...

Another fabulous camera... Paul Smith's version of the Leica. Look at the whimsical detail. The sketch of a light bulb that appears on top of the pop-up flash was drawn by Mr. Smith himself. {Via The Wall Street Journal}

And if you can't afford the tangerina Leica dream, here's a mobile / cell phone cover made to look like one of the coveted cases. Love this.

Louis Vuitton's windows in Paris: luggage stacked to look like the Eiffel Tower. Isn't this lovely? {My photo}

An uplifting video (so to speak) about the beauty of travel... Louis Vuitton's hot air balloon video 'L'Invitation Au Voyage', shot in Paris. Just beautiful... Link here or here –

Karen Blixen's luggage. This has also come via Hermès. It was specially designed for the author by the French company. There were two pieces made. Reportedly the latter consumed 368 hours of work and was an extraordinarily complicated piece of luggage, truly worthy of an aristocrat facing the demanding African landscape. This makes me want to read Out of Africa all over again.
{Via Luxury Insider}

Antique luggage used as bar carts and other irreverent things. We saw this at the Nomad Hotel earlier this year. Each room had a magnificent vintage steamer trunk upended to create a mini-bar. So inspiring... {Via Jennings and Gates' lovely blog}

A glamorous ONA camera bag, as seen on A Cup of Jo's blog. {}

Be still my beating heart... Have you ever seen such a beautiful camera? This is an antique Leica from the early 20th century, which has faux-lizard skin and gold plating. There were only 95 of these early models made. This one was sold recently at Bonham's auction house, and expected to fetch $230,000. Still, that's a bargain compared to the rare 1923 prototype camera which a Chinese bidder paid $2.8 million for this year. I'll just breath out now.

More converted luggage, this time as wardrobes, although I'm not sure what they're doing out in the snow? {Via Jennings and Gates' beautiful blog –}

Mai Tai's Picture Book is one of the most instructive blogs on the Internet, full of great advice on how to travel without looking like a troglodyte who's just come out of a hole (or economy class). Her trick? A gorgeous scarf. She even takes special scarf holders when she travels. Her work is impressive. {}

More cheeky, irreverent travel stuff from Louis Vuitton. These are 'bag charms', which you attach to your handbag or luggage to identify it. Here's the video about them. I love the palm trees. Link here  or here:

Me too.

And lastly, two Library readers challenged me (in good humour) to illustrated how you can pack for a 2-week holiday using just a carry-on bag. Put my money where my mouth is and all that... 

Last time I did a post on this I used mostly winter clothes. So here is how I'd pack for a holiday that encompassed city and beach, with some garden visits and perhaps a few evening shows scattered in between... Little tip: Pack hybrids, or clothes that can go across not just one, but two or three situations. I toss in oversized scarves that can double as beach wraps, frocks that can go from day to night, and handbags that can switch from casual to business meeting. It's difficult, I know. But it just takes some thinking... Here are some ideas.

Colour: Keep your colours to a minimum, so everything matches. I usually use navy or black as neutrals and then toss in a colour, such as orange or pink. Everything has to match with everything else. Everything. If it won't socialise with the rest of the clothes, toss it!

Lightweight trenchcoat (orange for glamour; this was one $5 from Chapel Street). Essential for showers in London or Paris, additional layering on chilly days, or to cover a dress that hasn't been washed for 2 days and is showing the rigours of long-haul flights. (Only pack if you think the weather is going to be at all chilly, otherwise it just takes up space.)
Flat loafers. Flat shoes are essential for flights and walking. (Ballets are no good because they don't have adequate soles. And your ankles will likely blow up in-flight, making their tight curves hard to slip on for a day or so afterwards and therefore contenders for blisters.) Loafers are my choice, but there are lots of pretty flat shoes around,
Espadrille wedges. Brilliant 'cross-over' shoes that are smart enough for both daywear / beachwear and business meetings. (Well, my casual publishing ones anyway; you may wish to include a pair of 'proper' heels for more formal appointments.)
Smart sundress. Find one or two frocks that are dressy enough for evenings as well as daywear. Include a belt and accessories to jazz up for business meetings or shows.
Tailored blazer. I always, always include a blazer or jacket. It will immediately smarten up any outfit, and be a glamorous safeguard if you find you want to suddenly attend a tradeshow or business meeting, have a date with an ex-boyfriend, go to an evening play, or simply try for an upgrade in a hotel or flight. Try to find one that's well cut (this is my favourite Armani); that way, it will hide the cheaper lines of any $50 frocks. 
Navy linen 'boyfriend' shirt-dress. Shirt-dresses are great because they're easy to wear on planes (throw some leggings underneath if you're cold); they're smart for cities (enhance them with lovely chunky necklaces), they're fab for slipping on beside a pool or walking along a beach, and can, if desperate, be used for dinner wear. (Just wear some fancy jewellery – say, a gold cuff and some dangly earrings.)
Two colourful dresses. These are great to wear around the pool / on the beach, but will also suffice for city walks.
Coloured Bensimons. Pretty sandshoes are nicer than flip-flops, and will do double-duty for walking. (Flip-flops are not smart enough for cities.)
A cardigan. I love long ones that can do double-duty as wraps on planes. 
One pair of swimmers and two or three scarves, which can double as sarongs. (You can sneak in a second pair of swimmers, if you want.)

FOR THE CITY VISITS AND/OR FORMAL AFFAIRS (meetings, shows, etc): Wear the more-tailored dresses (with the blazer, if cold) and more formal jewellery and accessories.
FOR THE BEACH: Wear the brighter dresses (which can also cross over to the city; wear a cardi or trench, if cold).
FOR GARDEN VISITS: Wear the flat loafers or Bensimons (you won't need boots, unless it's winter or chilly; in which case pack pants too), with bright dresses and a cardi. Buy a cute hat somewhere to keep the sun off. Take the bright trenchcoat or bright scarves if it's cold.

Here's how it all fits into a small carry-on suitcase, together with toiletries and a travel umbrellas. (Note: You'll be wearing some of the clothes.) I can even squeeze in a tripod and a second handbag / clutch. This bag may be over the luggage limit so you may have to check it in, but it's still an ideal size for travelling.

Lastly, more than 40 people have emailed me to ask how they could help my dear friend Jane Green from Life on Planet Baby. ( Thank you so much. Your cards and notes will no doubt boost her and her family's moral this Christmas. My heartfelt thanks go out to everyone. Your new year has certainly started off in the right spirit! Sending you all a hug. xx

Tomorrow or Thursday: Preliminary details of The Grand Tour of Paris and France...

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