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Suitcase Series

Suitcase Series: Marianne McDonald, Creative Director At Citizens Of Humanity

As the Creative Director of elevated denim brand, Citizens of Humanity, Marianne McDonald knows how to make the perfect pair of jeans.

“There are so many things that go into the perfect pair of jeans, but perhaps the most important is how they make you feel,” she says. “The perfect pair should make you feel incredible, and should create the silhouette you need at that given moment.”

Whether jetting off to Europe to meet the various CoH teams, New York to liaise with buyers, or even to Austin to peruse vintage denim to inspire the next collection, Marianne loves to travel.

“Travel for me is about excitement and exploration, and opening your eyes to something new and unfamiliar. Not only do you get to learn about other cultures, but I think you learn things about yourself. This is incredibly important to me, and it allows me to look at the world, my career, and my relationships with fresh eyes and a new appreciation for all. ”

Here we delve into Marianne McDonald’s travel psyche…

What’s been your most memorable trip and why?

Two summers ago, my family and I took a few weeks to vacation in the South of France, Belgium, and Iceland. My boys were old enough to appreciate the food, culture, and sense of adventure. My youngest – Lily – was a year old, and it was so much fun to bring her everywhere with us. Our days in France were my favourite. We spent lazy mornings exploring the most beautiful fruit market that was next to our villa, and in the afternoons we would head to a beach club for incredible lunches and afternoon cocktails.

What’s been one of your most significant trips?

The first trip I took to Italy with my husband was a complete surprise. We had been dating for a year, and he picked me up for dinner at my office in New York. I couldn’t understand the flurry of work that my team were attempting to get signed off, and was reluctant to leave the office at 6PM.  Unbeknownst to me, he had arranged for me to be gone for two weeks as we headed – by helicopter– to Newark Airport to catch a flight to Rome. It was a magical trip – he proposed to me on our first night there. Then we spent the next two weeks exploring the Amalfi Coast and Capri. It was an incredibly romantic two weeks.

What’s your favourite ever hotel?

The Bowery Hotel in New York. The windows and the views are incredible, and their room service cocktails are top-notch.

Where or what is your escape?

Anytime I can escape to Europe or Italy with my family.

If you could go anywhere tomorrow it would be…

I would love to spend a few weeks exploring Italy with my family and experience Rome, Capri, and Puglia with them.

What’s your idea of a luxury holiday?

My idea of a luxury holiday centres around four things: beautiful surroundings, loads of sunshine, incredible food and cocktails, and people I love. Whenever I experience these things while travelling, it feels restorative.


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Where do you get your holiday inspiration?

Much of our holiday inspiration begins with conversation over glasses of wine amongst friends: what we’re into, and what we want to explore next.  Right now we’ve been tossing around the idea of spending a few weeks together exploring Greece and Italy next summer with our families.

My top bucket-list destination is…

Taking a few months to travel around the world with my family sounds like heaven to me. There are so many countries I would like to explore, and others – like the Maldives and Australia – that I would love to visit again. I think a combination of beachside luxury, hiking, and exploring sounds amazing.

If you could sit next to anyone – dead or alive – on a long-haul flight, who would it be?

Deepak Chopra.


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How do you switch off?

I’m not sure I ever do.

What is your jet-lag recovery tip?

A combination of exercise and copious amounts of water.

Who is your favourite travel companion?

My husband.

What is your suitcase stalwart?

Low-heeled sandals that allow you to walk effortlessly over cobblestones when strolling back from an al-fresco dinner.

What is your number one packing tip?

Plan your outfits: surprisingly you’ll take way fewer items, and feel more effortless while vacationing.

What is your most treasured purchase from your travels?

I bought a beautiful Zimmermann dress after drinking too much champagne while at Nikki Beach in St Tropez. Luckily, the dress is beautiful and ethereal looking. It reminds me of the magic of that trip every time I wear it.

Where is home and what are your must-do’s for any tourists visiting?

Manhattan Beach is where I call home. It’s a beautiful oceanside town with some great restaurants. I’d recommend starting your day at sunrise with surf lessons, followed by a visit to Two Guns Coffee for the best turmeric latte. There are a couple great boutiques to visit – Wrights and Bee Hive – that are great for picking up curated fashion essentials. Dinner at Fishing With Dynamite is a must too.

First thing that comes to your mind…

Packing: roll or fold?


In-flight book or in-flight film?


Time filler on a long-haul flight?

I use the time to catch up on magazines. I also journal and set some long term and short-term goals.

Holiday tipple of choice?

Any type of fruity or herby cocktail. Not too sweet.

Beach or City Break?


Ultimate holiday treat?

Time with my family.

Holiday read of choice?

All of the Vogue magazines from each country.

What to Pack

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Any Questions or Tips to add?

What to Pack?