Energy-filled and on-the-go, CEO, creative director – and now EW columnist – Alice + Olivia’s Stacey Bendet ruminates on globetrotting, travel inspirations and packing the perfect suitcase…“I use travel as a starting point for so many of my collections. The new, the exotic – it adds up to a rich pool of inspiration for me. Spring/ Summer 2015, for example, was heavily influenced by a trip I took to Versailles, just outside Paris in France. It was famously the very gilded and opulent home of Louis IV and, of course, Marie Antoinette. I’d been before, but it was the first time I took my daughter, Eloise – she loved it. It’s such a beautiful place that I immediately envisioned a collection based on what I thought a modern-day version of the court would be like. I took in everything from the 17th Century artwork, the fabric upholstering the walls, the stories of the women in the court back then, and the incredible gardens and tried to incorporate in elements to my designs.
It was a truly creative trip, but I’m inspired by things every day – it’s hard to decide if one place has had more influence than another! There’s no chicer place than Paris although I really fell head over heels for Istanbul. I’ve still never visited Marrakech – it’s on my bucket list! My favourite trips as a child were spending a couple of weeks every summer in Aspen. It’s the most beautiful, magical place – like the land of rainbows!
When it comes to relaxing, though, for me it’s got to be Malibu. My family and I spend a lot of time at our house there in the summer, and I have so many friends there too. It always helps my design sensibility to get a taste of West Coast dressing for a while! My summer style always stays the same, though – no matter the destination. So whether I’m on the beach or in the city, or even on a yoga break, I do bohemian chic wherever I go. Long skirts, flowing, fun patterned dresses, layers of beaded necklaces, big sunglasses – I do the lot!
My secret to looking stylish on holiday is always packing full looks; everything from the dress to the shoes to the sunglasses to the hat. Every summer holiday requires at least two kimonos – I love the embroidered one in our getaway collection – a pair of comfortable but chic platforms, great headscarves and our striped raffia bag – perfect for a beach day. I love a big hat, too – especially my Anda & Masha and vintage ones. My top packing tip? Too much is just enough.”
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