“Whatever the event in Paris, Nessi is that person you call to ask what she’s wearing, because it’s always going to be perfect,” says Gucci— referring to the ease with which friend and stylist Vanessa Traina navigates the ins and outs of Parisian dressing. With fashion week about to begin, Traina is headed to the City of Light to consult on the Altuzarra show. So what exactly does she pack for a week in Paris?
“Shoes, I almost always overpack shoes!” she laughs of a Manolo Blahnik-heavy collection that frequently pushes her into the two suitcase zone. The rest of her wardrobe is edited with laser focus, functioning as a lesson in effortless French girl style by day and understated Gallic chic by night. As a general rule, Traina says she sticks to tailored and timeless pieces like a pair of custom black cigarette pants, a luxurious knit sweater, or a diamond rivière necklace for evening. And regardless of her destination, “I pack items that work together and things I already know I love—I never break out something new when I’m traveling.”
Beyond what to wear, Traina—who grew up traveling to Paris for the couture shows with her mother, the novelist Danielle Steel, and is married to the French investor Charles de Viel Castel—possesses a wealth of information on the city’s hidden treasures: “There are great Japanese restaurants in Paris and I always order juices from Wild and the Moon to the office,” she says of her favorite clean food detox stops. For the most charming children’s stories in French, she hits up Le Bon Marché’s excellent bookstore and no trip is complete without a stop at La Chatelaine, the baby clothing store in the 16th arrondissement where she stocks up on the classics. “I know it’s ridiculous but they have the best high socks for my one-year-old."
But back to that suitcase! Here, ahead of fashion week, Traina weighs in on the foolproof essentials she won't travel to Paris without.
THE TAILORED DENIM JEAN
"I love denim—especially Khaite's cuts. I know my proportions so I do a very high waist and I'll wear a sweater and a low flat with them to work. At night, I'll pair the same jeans with a Chanel jacket and a heel."
THE DAY TO NIGHT SWEATER
"I live in elevated knits. The Row and Khaite are favorites for day —and they work well if I need to run out to dinner at night."
THE MULTI-TASKING CONCEALER & BLUSH STICKS
"My beauty routine is very minimal. I carry the Westman Atelier foundation and blush stick in my purse so if I lose my luggage, at least I'll have my makeup. I use Vital Skin as a concealer only where I need it and the Dou Dou blush shade is my favorite."
THE LUMINOUS SKIN FIX
"More time on my skin means I can wear less makeup. I carry my entire Biologique skincare routine with me wherever I go."
THE FUNCTIONAL LOW HEEL
"A flat or low heel Manolo is comfortable and versatile—it goes with everything in my suitcase."
THE EVENING TUXEDO
"If there's a big event, I have a pair of custom black cigarette pants that I like to wear with a tuxedo blazer. I don't travel with much jewelry, usually just my wedding ring and a pair of bracelets given to me after the birth of each of my sons. But a diamond rivière necklace always works for evening."
THE BRIGHTENING EYE MASK
"I keep these Tatcha Luminous masks in the fridge—they're really good for recovering from jet lag."
THE PARISIENNE RED LIP
"For night, I add a little bit of dark liner on my eye. If I'm lucky enough to have someone else doing my makeup, I may do a lip—always this sheer red by Chanel."