Pack it in to be fashionable when travelling
PUBLISHED: 18:13 07 April 2011 | UPDATED: 19:09 20 February 2013
Preparing for a break, weekend or long haul, is as individual and unique as the journey. Vicky Pepys gains a rare insight into our travel secrets from the experts, including a Newcastle cabbie
What to take? is totally dependent on the chosen activity, destination and weather conditions and, as with so many other things to do, its either a chore with a bit of panic thrown in or a bizarrely enjoyable control exercise.
What is the norm? Who better to ask than the Newcastle cabbie with all those out-of-hours airport runs Couples always take separate cases, you can tell whose is whose he said.
Families take one enormous case, children have novelty bags. More and more people are using the four-wheel designs for stability but in general they all look the same - theyre grey or theyre black but have ribbons, strands of wool and bobbles, hankies and elastic straps hanging from the handles, otherwise theyd be lost in a sea of murkiness on the luggage carousel.
In complete contrast, the high end luxury steamer trunk is still being produced. Jean Paul Gaultiers newly-launched version costs several thousand pounds and theres always a market for the full set of Louis Vuitton (see Posh, Beyonce et al and the Oligarch wives papped at the international airports)
For the rest of us, its down to whether we can get away with using the old one. Is it still travel worthy? Or more to the point, can we manage the old style weight? Theres no wonder the new powered cases, the aptly named Live Luggage, are making serious inroads into the travel bag market. What a brilliant idea. (Watch the video on the website and youll be convinced).
But many of us just want some good old fashioned advice on what would suit us and our journey and whats new.
Science and technology play a big part in luggage design, more so than fashion and its true to a certain extent that men are seriously impressed with the technology while we ladies are interested in the looks but also the cubic capacity (how much holiday shopping can we do?) and truly, do we really want a fashion case that will so easily date? While most cases are not a serious financial investment, its the cost of a new outfit certainly.
Recently appointed luggage buyer at Fenwick Ltd in Newcastle, Zoe Campbell, sees the emerging luggage trends at least six months before they hit the stores and, unlike much of the retail market, whose goods are unveiled at trade fairs, Zoe spends time on individual appointments with the big luggage brands. She agrees with my cabbie about the four-wheel styles being popular, especially the lightweight ones.
Weight and strength are serious considerations, she says. The new cases are made from woven polycarbonate. Theyre strong and very light and manufacturers are being much bolder with colour, with red and burnt orange coming through.
Holdalls (for weekend breaks) are an important market for us too, says Zoe, It seems that Fenwicks do good business with Paul Smith and Barbour styles. We advise on good value and functionality, she says. Backpacks and holdalls with wheels are popular and when those styles are in a good quality leather it becomes a fashion-driven choice and often doubles up as a work bag. Its important then, Zoe adds, to get good value in use as well as in monetary terms.
Luggage isnt an impulse buy - its a compulsory purchase and as we pass through life our requirements change. The travel market has also changed in as much as the traditional two-week holiday abroad is no longer typical. Long haul is both for the young and the retired sabbatical adventurer.
Zoe sees the Eastpak range as something rather special. Theyre a company who originally began by supplying the American armed forces with canvas bags, she says. The range looks casual but is immensely strong with good security features but the bag she personally covets is from the Drop range at Mandarina Duck, and you can see why - its highly glossy, polycarbonate, lightweight, water repellent, impact resistant, temperature proof with straps, shoe pouches and combination locks. Simply stunning.
Planning a weekend away - just you and the Drop - is something youd seriously consider. Weve also checked out the B Drop range too; a tad more expensive but the chic chocolate brown colourway kicks all those chromes and greys severely into touch. Weve seen the way forward and theres no coming back.
Where to bag a bag
Bobelle. Tel: 0208 743 7308
Cath Kidston. Tel: 08450 262440
D&G Time Tel: 01628 770988 at House of Fraser
Eastpak is at Fenwick Ltd, John Lewis, Newcastle and Traveller Ltd, Newcastle Airport
Kipling: Collectables and John Lewis, Newcastle: Trippas, Darlington
Me and Kashmere is at Jules B, Jesmond Newcastle
Mulberry is at Van Mildert, Elvet Bridge, Durham
Orla Kiely baggage is at Debenhams, Newcastle and MetroCentre
Therapy is at House of Fraser Tel: 0207 0034000
Tripp is at Debenhams. Tel: 08453 456085
Viyella is at House of Fraser, Middlesbrough, Fenwick Ltd and John Lewis, Newcastle, within CC, Berwick upon Tweed, within Austin Reed, MetroCentre and Newcastle and Durham (new store)