As the Fashion Director at Departures magazine, Melissa Ventosa Martin has an insider’s perspective on where the worlds of travel and fashion meet. And as a fashion week pro, she has more than a few tips on how to survive the whirlwind of shows. From her home base of New York City to Milan and Paris, her distinctly elegant personal style shines through as a lesson in thoughtful dressing. Here, she shares her fashion week survival strategy, go-to pieces and favorite places to visit along the way.
How would you describe your fashion week look — are you practical or flamboyant? Do you dress to attract street style photographers or dodge them? I dress for me. I wouldn’t say I’m dressing to dodge street style photographers, but my personal style is definitely pretty classic and understated, so if a photographer is after tons of color, print, and obvious seasonal “It” items, I’m probably not your girl.
Go-to bag:Loewe Hammock bag or Gate tote bag in leopard Go-to shoe:The Row Bourgeois boot Go-to coat:Officine Generale black coat Go-to accessories: iPhone X plus, my Bottega Veneta monogrammed pouch, Altuzarra velvet headband, Dezo or Céline earrings
Tell us a bit more about the pieces that make your fashion week easier and more fun. I dress a bit different in each city during fashion week. New York is my home base, so for fashion week I basically dress how I do every day for work. I love elevated basics in my wardrobe — a great blue jean, luxe sweaters, a classic coat. Major finds were the Marguax bag and Bourgeoise boots from The Row and a long black coat from Khaite. These are pieces I could live in. TRR has a great selection of Brock jeans which I also have in my closet. Manolo ankle boots with a low heel are really versatile and bring some polish to a day look.
I love a leopard print worn back with denim or classic black — very 90s Carolyn Bessette— so the Loewe Gate tote is perfect to add some print and it’s big enough to carry a laptop. In the winter, I tend to wear a lot of wool trousers and knits, more cozy and masculine than how I dress in the spring. I love earthy tones like brown, burgundy and oatmeal. The Hermès belt and Gucci bag are very heritage and I like a touch of that 80s preppy thing especially with more tailored pieces like my wool trousers from The Row. I have a pretty fast paced work week. I don’t have as much time as I used to to think about what I’m wearing, so I like pieces that are timeless and beautifully made.
What’s the hardest part about packing for fashion week? In winter, it’s definitely figuring out the outerwear. Your coat (and shoes and bag to some extent) is the only thing that gets seen, so it’s nice to change it up more than I would normally in my day to day.
What’s the most fun part about packing for fashion week? The most fun part is when you realize you packed too much and you take out a ton deciding instead to buy some things in Paris + Milan. But I’ll take packing over unpacking any day.
What are you excited to debut during fashion week? I’m really loving my black Bourgeois boots from The Row. I’m excited that I have a boot that’s as comfortable as it is chic, and they go perfectly from day to night.
What’s on your fashion week shopping list and which stores do you always go to when traveling for the shows? I don’t go too crazy, but there are usually a few key pieces that I’m waiting to buy when I’m traveling. In Milan, I always stop in Prada and Gucci. The Prada cut-out knits for spring were so great. In Paris, Celine has always been my go to, so we’ll see. I’m curious to try on one of Hedi Slimane’s suits — I’m sure the fit is great. And I’m eyeing the pinstripe trousers with floral waistband from Paco Rabanne. I love the mix of menswear tailoring with more bohemian prints. And I’m going to pick up a pair of classic flats at Chanel.
Do you have favorite bars, restaurants or cafes to stop at between or after shows? In New York, it depends on the neighborhood, but if I have time between shows to grab a coffee it’s usually Sant Ambreous. My favorite spot for drinks is Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Hotel, and for dinner it’s Il Buco, Flora Bar or Raoul’s in Soho.
In Paris, I frequent Maisie Café. It’s great, especially to pick up up healthy food on the go. I stay at the Lutetia so I also go to Rose Bakery quite a bit at Bon Marché. And Le Petit Lutetia is my favorite cozy dinner spot close to my hotel.
Are you planning to squeeze any culture in between shows? I’m actually going to Munich for two days between Milan and Paris, and am very excited to visit Haus Der Kunst and see Carmen at the Bavarian State Opera. And I’m definitely going to try to see Dau in Paris, if I can get my act together to get a visa!