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Suitcase Series

Suitcase Series: Kalita Al Swaidi, Of KALITA

With a bohemian spirit at its core, KALITA’s luxury resort wear channels a sense of adventure.

After a trip to Greece saw founder Kalita Al Swaidi witness women in free-flowing dresses rather than the structured summer looks she had packed, KALITA was born with glamorous, light-packing 60’s icons in mind.

We talk to Kalita about magical memories and what luxury means to her.


What is the first trip you remember taking?

I think I was only 5 years old – I have no idea how I remember – my parents took my brother and I to Sardinia when Sardinia wasn’t really Sardinia. And I remember it all – especially because my brother and I played together (in London I was usually ignored). And the ice cream…. the cone of gelato that was almost bigger than my head, melting in the sun, everywhere.

What’s been your most memorable trip and why?

Bali is the home of the brand – it’s where I came 10 years ago with a burning idea and a broken heart and the rest is history. 

Where or what is your escape?

I love reading a book in a restaurant or at the bar on my own with a glass of red wine – it is such a secret indulgence.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve taken from your travels?

Pack light. But I never do.

If I could go anywhere tomorrow I’d go to: 

To my best friend’s wedding. Wait! I am….

How would you spend your ideal afternoon in your home city?

My home city is London, so it would have to be a Sunday, as they are my favourite. An early afternoon wandering around the Royal Academy followed by Sunday lunch at the River Cafe with a group of my favourite people – kids running riot on the lawn and with carbs and parmesan.

 

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What’s your idea of a luxury holiday?

The right company – the biggest luxury.

Where do you get your holiday inspiration?

I am very visual so photographs, like old black and whites of Positano and St Tropez. Saint-Paul-de-Vence provides inspiration for both destination and personal style.

I love anything a little unknown, hidden, a little family-run gem that hasn’t been ruined yet. Basic, rural, full of laughter.

 

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If you could sit next to anyone – dead or alive – who would it be? 

My grandfather who passed 20 years ago.

How do you recover from jet lag?

I try to exercise at a high-impact boxing session (preferably with my bestie) before the airport and then when I land Melatonin is my go-to. 

Your flight’s delayed an hour and your phone’s out of battery. How do you pass the time? 

Wandering through the shops, pursuing the technology shop for things I don’t need, duty free for makeup I don’t need and WH Smith for terrible souvenirs.

Favourite hotel?

Too many…but the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc for its silence, Villa Tre Ville for the magical landscape and El Fenn for the bathrooms – the roll-top bath filled with rose petals in the middle of the room.

Favourite airline?

Anything One World – I collect air miles like a total geek.

What’s on your travel playlist?

Such a mishmash, there is no running thread. Rolling Stones, 80s favourites with a splash of Ibiza remix.

What are your must-have travel picks?

State Street black Ray-Bans that go with everything, a cashmere blanket, a 50’s high-waisted bikini, beaten-up St Tropezian flats that I refuse to throw away, battered Feiyue sneakers and of course a KALITA.

Where next?

Santa Gertrudis Ibiza with my best friend who I haven’t spent quality time with since she had her two children.


FIRST THING THAT COMES TO YOUR MIND…

Hand-luggage essential?

A good book.

Packing: roll or fold?

Fold.

Inflight book or inflight film?

Inflight cartoon on a long haul.

Music or podcasts?

Podcasts.

Time killer on a long-haul flight?

Sleep.

Holiday tipple of choice?

Red wine or a Margarita.

Bucket list top destination?

Havana, Cuba.

Best shopping gem found abroad?

Big rings.

Beach or City?

Beach.

Ultimate holiday treat? 

Perfect company.

What to Pack

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