Fashion designer and former magazine editor Amanda Ross talks about some of her favorite places—from Scotland to Marrakech—plus her fail-proof travel uniform and more.
Fashion entrepreneur Amanda Ross may be based in New York, but her sense of style—at once cosmopolitan, elegant and seemingly effortless—stems from serious jet-setting. “I’m most inspired to shop for myself when I’m away from home,” the former fashion market director for Harper’s Bazaar and fashion director for Departures explains. “I feel like a kid in a candy shop…I love to discover local artisans and indigenous finds to mix into my wardrobe.” Those newly encountered patterns and hues have also found their way into her work, appearing on celebrities she’s styled, including the likes of Naomi Watts and Mariska Hargitay, and, most recently, at ARossGirl.com, her website of curated looks, as well as on her own designs, worn by style setters such as Kate Middleton. Here, Ross discusses seeing the world through an editor’s lens and reminisces about her most memorable trips.
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You’re an avid traveler. What prompted your love for exploring? My parents. My dad had lived in Villefranche-sur-Mer after college; my mom speaks five languages and is at heart a Francophile. One of her best friends from college went to live in Paris and traveled extensively. So as we grew up, we’d receive her postcards from around the world. That always intrigued me.
What were some of your early travels? At 16, my twin sister and I were invited to spend the summer on a family friend’s boat outside Rome, but my mom decided we should spend six weeks in Israel instead. Rome came next, and then many trips followed. I have lived in Italy as a student, and Spain as a young newlywed and half my adult life in London with my sister.
Are there particular destinations that inspire you most? The countries and cities that I have worked or lived in, because I feel so connected to the culture.
How has your career as an editor and a stylist shaped your approach to trip planning? Life is too short for bad meals and wrong turns. I’m an editor through and through—that’s my lens, so I enjoy doing research. I know what to read, when to cross-reference and how to make a short trip impactful. I’ve kept travel files since I lived in Spain in 1993. I still refer to them today.
You traveled on an Indagare Insider Journey to Milan. What was your favorite moment on that trip? I spent many years going to Milan for work, but never had time to explore the city’s art, design, culture and history. I loved the private tours of the Renzo Mongiardino–designed homes and the Villa Necchi, where they filmed I Am Love with Tilda Swinton. I felt transported through time.
Can you talk to us a little about the way traveling with a group affected the experience? You are with like-minded people who have similar interests. It’s a bit of an escape and you leave with lifetime relationships.
You recently traveled to Ireland and the Scottish Highlands. What led you there? We planned our holidays late, and everything we looked into was booked. My brother-in-law suggested Scotland, thinking it would be romantic in winter. I called Aileen Corkery, who works for Hauser & Wirth, to see about getting into The Fife Arms, the gallery owners’ new hotel in Braemar. Everything else was planned around it. We spent Christmas in Dublin, the rest of the holiday in Scotland. After Braemar we traveled north to Inverness and then Edinburgh.
What was your favorite discovery of the trip? There were so many. One was the fact that Elsa Schiaparelli spent time in Braemar, as she was best friends with Frances Farquharson, a Vogue editor who lived there. The battlefield at Culloden, which was the site of the Jacobites’ final confrontation with British forces in 1746, was impactful, and the food and drink were superb both in Ireland and Scotland. The Fife Arms was blow-you-away cool—my husband’s words—and a game changer in luxury travel. Add the magic of the topography of the Highlands while investigating history and culture, and it made for a magical trip. I want to retire to Braemar.
Ross’s Trip Tips
Favorite luggage? Rimowa and Chapelier duffel bags.
Over-packer or minimalist? Since everyone does this carry-on thing, I suppose I’d be considered an over-packer.
Go-to outfit for the plane? Jeans, a cashmere caftan and a crew shirt, a scarf and Hogan Interactive sneakers.
What’s always in your carry-on? A purple notebook, for ideas, and my laptop.
Favorite long weekend getaway? Anywhere with friends or family.
Favorite souvenir from a trip? A classic Ken Howard painting of a woman in his studio from the Richard Green Gallery.
Related: Ask Indagare: Hard vs. Soft Luggage