What to Pack for a Trip to Paris, According to Our Fashion Director 

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Departures' Fashion Director Melissa Ventosa Martin shares her packing must-haves when heading to the City of Lights.

There is simply nothing quite like fashion week in Paris. And there aren't many things I enjoy more than having the good fortune to see, first-hand, Chanel, Dior, or Louis Vuitton runway shows—but carving out some time for cultural activities in Paris is also a priority.

This March, I’m making more of an effort to just dress as I want—more like myself—fashion week or no fashion week. In preparation for my trip to Paris, I plan to work around seven spring essentials that will take me from day to night, as well as from fashion shows to a variety of tourist stops.

Jeans


Courtesy Celine

Most women I know don't pack for a trip without a great pair of jeans. I’m hooked on the new Celine ones by Hedi Slimane. They have the chicest “Triomphe” detail in gold, so dressing these up is easier when worn with a simple blouse for dinner out. Jeans also make for a great packing staple when your trip includes thoughtfully walking through an art exhibit. Visiting a museum is top of my list when visiting the City of Light and this season I plan to see the Cindy Sherman exhibition at the Louis Vuitton Foundation.

To buy: $890, Celine.com  

Versatile Blazer 


Courtesy Blazé

I’ve always had a soft spot for a prep-school blazer and I’ve had many an incarnation from J.Crew to Celine. For spring, I’m packing this version from Blazé and pairing it with a tuxedo pant and statement earrings for the evening and then with jeans to a gallery, or over a dress for dinner. 

For me, this blazer is perfect for showroom appointments, but when I'm off-duty, this piece will work particularly well when I check out the ceramics by Marion Graux at her showroom, which was recommended to me by facialist Isabelle Bellis.  

To buy: €1,512, blaze-milano.com

Classic Boots 


Courtesy The Row

March is the perfect time of year to transition into your spring wardrobe while still wearing a great boot. I want one that is comfortable for walking and versatile enough to go from day to evening. The Row’s “British” boot not only fits that bill but seems to be the most elegant boot in existence. 

When in Paris, these boots will pair well with any outfit or occasion, like stopping for a spot of tea at Les Deux Abeilles, which is the sweetest little restaurant near Invalides. They have seasonal homemade pies made fresh daily, which also happens to be the perfect pick me up between shows.

To buy: $1,350, therow.com

A Long Dress


Courtesy Net-A-Porter

A great dress is always a must for packing and I tend to favor a longer length for day when worn with a cozy knit over top. This style from Gabriela Hearst can be easily dressed up for evening, including dinner at my most coveted dinner reservation while in Paris: Shabour, a new and much-lauded Israeli restaurant from the culinary team behind Balagan.

To buy: $1,290, net-a-porter.com

The Staple Trench


Courtesy Moda Operandi

The humble trench coat is everywhere for spring—it is arguably one of the most versatile outerwear pieces. This is true not just for the day—a trench for the evening with a bold, red lip is incredibly chic. 

To buy: $3,520, modaoperandi.com

Wear Anywhere Bag


Courtesy Loewe

Whether it's tucked under my arm for an afternoon of shows, or effortlessly hanging crossbody for a gallery tour, a great bag that can multipurpose is a must. This bag from Loewe is the perfect answer to busy days in Paris, but easily convertible to a chic handheld for casual evening dinners.

To buy: $3,150, loewe.com

A Great Sweater


Courtesy Mr.Porter

I’m admittedly a sweater addict and recently I’ve been eyeing the classic fair-isles at this chic but traditional men’s store, Beige Habilleur. This must-shop is on my places to visit before heading home.