FASHION DIRECTOR AT CONDÉ NAST TRAVELLER
Whether it’s hanging out with alpacas in Peru or whirlwind trips to Thailand, London-based stylist Martha Ward is constantly on the move. Here she tells us about childhood holidays with her family’s trusty Globe-Trotter collection and how to travel in comfort and style.
Can you tell us a little about your professional background – were you always interested in fashion?
I actually happened upon fashion. Magazines and journalism were in my blood due to my father’s career (an ex-newspaper editor and founder of Redwood Publishing) and it felt natural to go down that path. Although I never studied fashion I had a deep passion for photography from a very young age. My first job was an internship at Condé Nast in the press office, and when a position came up in the fashion department at Tatler I went for it. And so began my career in fashion. Many years of freelancing later, the job at Traveller came up and I realised it would be my dream role; combining my love of photography and sense of location with fashion.
I understand your family has a collection of Globe-Trotter suitcases. What are your memories of those cases?
As a child, our holidays, more often than not, were either the south of France or Northumberland. And the only luggage we ever had as a family were Globe-Trotter. And back then they didn’t have wheels so we used to lug around giant navy Globe-Trotters. This went on for years and years. As I sat on my Globe-Trotter this morning to close it as it was full to brimming, it reminded me of us three children sitting on top of them so that my parents could close back in the day.
Now you have your own. What colourways did you go for and why? Do you get comments on them?
I spent so many years deciding on the colourway that I had to get interim luggage. Eventually I concluded that I didn’t actually have to select one single colourway for my collection, that it was actually nicer to mix and match. So I have a carry-on in the new safari colour combo and a mid-size in a special-edition blue/tan with a red handle. And one day I’ll add to my Globe-Trotter family with another colourway in the supersize 33 inch. They are endlessly commented on and that’s because they are timeless in their design and also iconic.
What do you like about using Globe-Trotter cases?
What I love is the heritage of a Globe-Trotter and that they have remained the same forever. The only real addition or change is the wheels/trolley effect. And that’s essential for practicality. They are still as durable as they always were and quite literally last forever. You can’t say that about many suitcases. I also love the look of them; I’m afraid there is an aesthetic desire. A Globe-Trotter case is probably the most distinct and iconic of them all.
What is the furthest you’ve travelled with your Globe-Trotter?
Peru was pretty far. As was Bali; albeit in the opposite direction.
Where are your favourite countries or cities in the world?
Almost impossible to say. I love so many places for so many different reasons. The deliciousness of Paris; the serenity of Bali; the aromas of Provence; the buzz of New York; the landscapes of Scotland. I could go on and on.
What’s the most adventurous place you’ve ever been to for work?
I did a road trip shoot for CN Traveller from Las Vegas through Arizona and Utah. Driving for up to eight hours a day and stopping to shoot pictures along the way. The way the landscape changes on that one single route is mind boggling. And the scale of the mountains and then the breadth and flatness of the open roads is otherworldly.
What’s the most memorable shoot you’ve ever been involved in?
Well, I once went to Thailand for a shoot for one day and one night. I spent more time getting there and back than I did in Thailand itself. Needless to say, that’s my only experience of Thailand.
What’s your packing style?
I’ll pack the night before going on a trip. It’s a kind of ritual and I’ve got it down to a fine (and enjoyable) art now. I try not to overpack and I always envisage myself in the actual place so I can anticipate what the right thing is to pack. For Utah I knew it would be a freezing dawn rising when we were up, and then boiling by mid-morning and then nippy again at sunset. The only way of navigating those extremes is with layers. On, off and on, again and again.
As a stylist you must have plenty of tips on how to pack and travel well. Can you share any with us?
My top tip is to take out three things once you’ve finished packing as you never need those pieces. I do it every time. A couple of dresses and a pair of shoes hauled out. It also leaves you a bit of space for some souvenir shopping (my favourite). A cashmere blanket or scarf, earplugs and an eye mask are the three essentials in my hand luggage. Even in the height of summer and even if I’m only on a train to Paris. Planes and trains are always freezing and always noisy in my experience.
What is your failsafe travelling outfit, especially when it comes to long-haul flights?
Comfort is key. As is warmth. So it’s jeans and a cashmere jumper (again, layered, as a plane is either freezing cold or, occasionally, roasting) and plimsolls. My attire for long-haul cannot be described as fashionable, hence my need for chic luggage. A large tote or basket rammed full of reading material is always essential, with long cosy socks and the three aforementioned vital items.
What do you never leave the house without when travelling?
My Leica camera. And some Kalms.
Where are you off to next?
I’ve just returned from a shoot in Peru and it’s a weekend in Greece next, followed some weeks later by a few days in Provence. My work trips are always longer than my holidays. I’m not entirely sure that’s the right balance now I think of it, but that’s the way it seems to be. Travelling for whatever reason is always an adventure, and always a welcome one.