I am backstage at the Michael Van Der Ham fashion show in London, in an ancient-looking building on the Thames. In the midst of the crush of models, dressers, other photographers and frantic hair and makeup teams, I am trying to get a great "beauty" photo for my client, a top fashion magazine. A makeup artist I know from New York, hands buried in a hunk of hair extensions, asks, "Are you going to Milan, too? Where are you staying?" So I tell her the truth—in an apartment with a Milanese couple.
Over the past week, we’ve heard about dozens of worthwhile ways to help the victims of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, but one recent announcement caught our eyes—and nose.
Renegade perfumer Paris-based Louison Libertin, who produces his label, technique indiscrete, is giving back to the community of Kanku in Northeastern Japan—an area known for its lavender fields. Libertin had been working with a perfume factory there, and the town was hard hit by the recent disasters.
No less than 100 percent of the proceeds of his limited edition flacon "For Them" will go back to residents of Kanku. $52 for a 50ml bottle.
For more than 40 years, the Usai family has been making gear for the Italian armed forces. Now they’re bringing their sartorial tradition and top-notch workmanship to civilians. Our favorite piece for spring? This durable, refined nylon jacket ($865). With its sharp, cadet-style cut and and exposed seaming, it’s sure to stand the test of time for fashion lovers and travel warriors alike. usaicollection.com.
Mimi Lombardo is the fashion director at Travel + Leisure.
If you were eyeing the BRITTO Collection by Heys four-piece luggage set that went to the winner of our "Views"photo contest last December, you can snap it up for half price now on Suitcase.com. The colorful set, which includes a 12" beauty case and a carry-on bag for shorter trips, as well as medium and large suitcases for longer trips, normally retails for $2,120. Through Suitcase.com's Winter Sale you can get it for only $1,059.95 (plus free shipping!)
You can also buy the pieces individually: The 22-inch spinner case—the perfect carry-on size— is now 50 percent off at $249.95.
Put down that SkyMall, Bertram. Male passengers traveling Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic flights can indulge in something a little fancier than bed-side pet ramps or peephole spy cameras: The airline is offering custom shoe fittings from haute Finnish shoemaker the Left Shoe Company. Devote 20 minutes pre- or post-flight to having your foot scanned by a 3D digital scanner in the Clubhouse-the Virgin Atlantic lounge-at Heathrow and choose a style. Four weeks later, a courier will deliver your bespoke kicks. The soles are inscribed with your name, and if you choose, your Virgin Atlantic flight number and destination. The available shoe styles start at €225 ($310 at today's exchange rate), and roundtrip Upper Class fare on Virgin Atlantic runs around $10,000.
Won't taking your shoes off at the security line feel slightly less humbling when they're custom-fitted and inscribed with your name?
Ann Shields is Online Senior Editor at Travel + Leisure.
A CHRISTMAS CORAL John Galliano makes a splash with his "Under the Sea" Xmas tree. Sea horses, pink coral, starfish, anemone. Silver leaves and lavish jellyfish, swim in Claridge's lobby. It's my dearest winter wish for a holiday suite at a London hotel ever fab, never snobby.
Shane Mitchell is a special correspondent for Travel + Leisure.
For the first time in its 173-year history, Hermès has ventured across the Seine to open a boutique on the Left Bank. But although this shop is the house’s second-largest (after the Right Bank flagship) it surpasses the "store" concept on several counts.
Looking for a stylish, eco-responsible way to tote your newest tech accessory? When Dewdrop Design's Gillian Stevens received an iPad as a gift, her next project was clear: to create chic cases to hold everyone's favorite new device. As if her existing line of recycled leather, hand-made notebooks, passport covers, and travel wallets wasn't dreamy enough, she's just introduced a collection of great-looking iPad sleeves that exude the same nature-inspired, bold-hued, and effortlessly cool look.
Forget the “IT” bag. The new black is clothing that stands the test of time. And what's more indestructible than clothing made by a military uniform company? The Italian family USAI has made uniforms for the armed forces for more than 40 years; now they're bringing their top-notch workmanship and sartorial tradition to civilians in Italy and America. This wool jacket has a timeless appeal and exposed seaming that will please urban soldiers and travel warriors alike.
At $960, it is a bit pricey—but be assured it will be with you for years of traveling the globe. Available at Julianne in Port Washington, New York
(516-883-0678, no website) or via USAI's website.
Mimi Lombardo is Travel + Leisure's Fashion Director.