It’s the dog days of summer in Texas, and the hottest months are upon us. While I do love the outdoors – golf, tennis and fly fishing are some of my favorite activities – it gets to a point where the heat and humidity weigh me down. I start daydreaming about vacations in cooler destinations, like seaside Mediterranean escapes, or still-snowcapped Alpine peaks, or the bigger cities of the Pacific Northwest that really seem to hit their stride when heat waves crash along the East Coast and Gulf states.
But as with any adventure, a summer escape needs at least a little planning, especially if you want to go with a group of friends or a significant other (or both). Collaboration is key, which is why this post is dedicated to my favorite kind of collaborations – among designers who create eye-popping surprises that make fashion into wearable art.
Here are some of the designer collaborations I’ve loved, and all the great places I hope to take them.
The Sea, the Snow and the City
Let’s start with a collection that gives me major study-abroad-slash-gap-year vibes… if college students could afford $165 slap bracelets, that is:Paula’s Ibiza for Loewe With Ts and sweatshirts perfect for a bonfire at the beach, patchwork wrap dresses and fringed sarongs, this collaboration makes me want to time travel back to early-70s Capri.
The snowbirds reading this would appreciate Moncler Genius a collection of collaborations between the father of all down puffers, Moncler, and various designers – a new one each season. Right now, Simone Rocha’s collection is available for purchase, and I’m convinced that I need to replace my regular down comforter with her Victorian Era puffer-meets-trench-meets-sleeping-bag concoction.
Finally, we come to a few of my favorites: Vivienne Westwood and Burberry, and Dockers x Karla. Khaki has gotten some funky remixes with these collaborations. Last year, punk goddess Vivienne Westwood created a line to draw attention to climate change that resulted in a reimagining of the classics, one of my favorites being a minidress in classic Burberry plaid. More recently, celebrity stylist Karla Welsh has developed a line for Dockers, which I’ll admit, I thought was a prank on the brand at first; however, upon closer inspection it’s pretty genius. With the right accessories, like a bold scarf, statement heel or chunky jewelry, these bulky items can be a good base for a casual night out.
All That Walking
No matter your vacation style, it’s essential to pack a durable and comfy sneaker, even if it’s just for running through the airport to catch your flight.
I’m in love with the bold and feminine details of these Puma x Sophia Webster designs. The cute ruffle accents combined with Day-Glo hues would pair perfectly with sleek black leggings while sipping mimosas at the Admiral’s Club.
I’m also very excited to wear these “Chanel Pharrel” kicks. I recently acquired a pair of these to add to my shoe collection, and am thrilled to report that they’re as comfortable as they are eye-catching. With phrases like “Women should have sole (soul) control” and “Dream Big Live Big,” a quick glance toward my feet will always remind me to walk with my head held high… even when I find myself a little lost and confused in a new city.
Finally, we come to a brand that’s been popular in the tennis world for half a century, Adidas! The classic Stan Smith, which was named for the tennis great himself, has gotten a fun 1980s facelift with pop-art designs from Keith Herring. While I won’t be wearing these on the court, they’d be the perfect companion for any big-city walking tour.
No travel outfit is complete without a good bag that’s compact enough to keep your essentials safe, but with just enough room to pack in the souvenirs you pick up while wandering around your destination. Enter: the fanny pack.
For better or worse, fanny packs are back in. The trick this time around, though, is to find a sleeker design that you can wear off to the side. Say what you will, they’re great for travel because you can keep all your most important items in front of you and away from pickpockets. I love the bold red and white design that NYC skater brand Supreme created for their line for Louis Vuitton. However, if bright red isn’t the neutral you’re looking for, this quirky Dior x Kaws does the trick. Kaws’ signature x-eyed cartoon and comic-book “DIOR” add just enough frivolity to an otherwise basic black item.
For nights out, graduate from a fanny pack to a proper clutch that transforms into a cross-body bag, which I highly recommend for travelers for the extra security (just remember to wear it in front!). This Alexander Wang x Judith Lieber generated a lot of buzz after Beyonce carried it with her to an event a few years ago. And for those of you who might be headed across the pond: it also comes in GBP.
To round out my list of collaborative travel essentials, we have one of my favorite collaborations of all time – and one that spanned 13 years, Louis Vuitton and Murakami. We all remember those Multicolore bags that hung on the crooks of famous elbows in the early- to mid-aughts, and they’re now experiencing a renaissance If you still have yours tucked away in the back of your closet, I highly recommend bringing it along to your next getaway.