Letter From The Editor: Travel Well

I remember one of the first trips I took as a kid with my family was to Singapore. I still remember the climate, the pristine streets, the warm disposition of the locals, and being incredibly overjoyed to experience a different culture other than my own. It sparked a lifelong curiosity and interest in seeking out the unknown.

What I’ve learned from having the privilege of travelling a lot as an adult is that people have a lot of preconceived notions and opinions on where to go and where not to go. But what deems a destination desirable? Who gets to make that decision? In my experience, some of the best travel experiences have taken place in destinations that trigger extreme reactions: good, bad, and everything in-between.

The places I’m most drawn to are not entirely shellacked. They’re unpretentious, and while not always under the radar, they typically draw an impressive community of artists and creatives in pursuit of inspiration and source material for their work.

In recent years, fashion houses have reinvigorated their approach to destination shows, steering away from the usual suspects in favour of growing cultural hubs such as Mexico City and Dakar.

This past December, I was invited to CHANEL’s Métier d’Art show in Manchester, a city that’s produced seminal musical acts that I listen to daily: The Stone Roses, Oasis, and The Durutti Column. What I loved about this choice is that it wasn’t entirely obvious, and not something people understood right away. Despite its deep creative roots, Manchester’s not a global city that the common traveller flocks to—which in my books makes it all the more compelling a place to unpack.

For this issue, we were lucky to travel back to Manchester to shoot the collection in the city it drew inspiration from. Aside from curating and listening to a Mancunian playlist to get in the zone, when conceptualizing the story, we wanted to prioritize locations that were an important part of Manchester’s rich cultural history. Naturally, we tapped Victoria Baths, a former municipal swimming pool, as our first location, followed by Salford Lads and Girls Club, a community recreation club with the focus of guiding young locals, famously immortalized by The Smiths in the sleeve of their The Queen is Dead album. With these two locations as our backdrop, the collection’s textures—tweed, Shetland, cashmere—and bright hues came to life. While inherently French, the collection seamlessly intermingled with Manchester’s architecture and romantic, overcast skies.

With the summer season ahead and travel top of mind, I hope the following pages spark your interest in discovering places that may feel out of reach or unfamiliar.