Learn How to Fly with Nicoletta Santoro

"I almost only exclusively wear Prada and I like mixing looks from past and present. Looking stale is the enemy."

By: Jessica Michault


Nicoletta Santoro is a fashion industry fixture. One of the most well respected stylists working today, her sartorial vision has appeared in the pages of Italian Vogue, French Vogue and Vanity Fair. She was also the International Fashion Director at Large for Vogue China before her current job as the Creative Director at large for Town & Country.

Nicoletta, with her famous waves of blond hair and her devotion to wearing Prada creations, has travelled the globe to shoot fashion stories in some of the world’s most exotic locations. So in this exclusive interview, a version of which first appeared in the pages of the 12th issue of ODDA Magazinewe though she would be the best person to ask about how to look chic in any circumstances, even on a 24 hour flight.

The 3 celebrities for the Town and Country June/July Philantrophy Cover

The 3 celebrities for the Town and Country June/July Philantrophy Cover

Q: Nicoletta what sort of flyer are you? Do you get to the airport early…do you have a fetish outfit you always wear on the plane… Do you have any sort of flying ritual?

A: I get to the airport promptly and I have a timetested travel uniform, which includes Prada denim jeans. My ritual is the narcoleptic one.

Q: Do you find that you are flying more now then you did earlier in your career? It seems like there is always some major fashion event now in some exotic location.

A: When I was Vogue China’s Fashion Director I probably spent those years flying more than I ever have in my life.

Q: How do you spend your time in the air? Do you try and disconnect from the world or is it time you use to focus on powering through work without being bothered by any exterior distractions?

A: Unplugging is essential for me. Sleeping pills or overdosing on the mediocre movies that play from the miniature screen in front of me are both helpful.

Q: As a famous stylists I am particularly curious about how and what you pack. Can you give me a blow by blow of what is in your bag…and what is in your carry-on…just in case the checked luggage doesn’t make it?

A: I pack systematically with military-like rigor starting two days before departure, pairing looks with accessories. This is more or less the same frame of mind I apply to my fashion shoots. Having something go wrong is not an option!

Q: Do you have a luggage brand that you are faithful to, and if so which one and why?

A: Tumi. I like traveling with wheels and their bags are sleek and dependable.

Q: What is the most luggage you have brought on a flight when you were doing a shoot?

A: Transporting seventeen trunks for a Vanity Fair Hollywood issue cover shoot with Annie Leibovitz.

Q: How do you pack for a month of shows? Do you have things you plan on wearing shipped ahead of time?

A: I check what the weather will be like. And no, I don’t ship my clothes ahead of time. They’re just clothes after all, right? 😉

Q: What makes an outfit for you? Suzy Menkes always told me to wear comfortable clothing and always have an amazing coat.

A: That’s good advice from Suzy. Me? I stick to a personal combo while trying to keep things unpredictable. I almost only exclusively wear Prada and I like mixing looks from past and present. Looking stale is the enemy.

Q: I know some people love to always sit in the same seat, do you have any preferences, and if so what?

A: I always want the corridor seat. I’m a bit claustrophobic.

Q: What is the secret to looking good and feeling good while traveling on a long haul flight?

A: Staying hydrated. I’m partial to lots of fruit juice.

Q: Have you ever done a fashion shoot on an airplane?

A: I’m not crazy about the idea – it feels a bit cliché – although I once did a suitcase ad featuring Isabella Rossellini on a plane.

Q: What do you always have to have with you when you travel?

A: My perfume. I’ve only changed scents three times in my whole life and each time was simply because the perfume got discontinued.

Q: What do you love most about flying?

A: Being unreachable.

Q: What can’t you stand about flying?

A: Ironically, also being unreachable.

Q: Where do you stand on airplane food? Do you partake or do you bring your own?

A: I am vegetarian and I preorder my meals.

Q: Which airline is your favourite to travel with?

A: I’m very fond of Virgin airlines.

Q: What is your stance on shoes on a flight, must they always stay on?

A: I bring my slippers.

Q: What is the best and worst thing that has every happened to you on a flight?

Q: The best was meeting an old friend. The worst remains, and always is for me, talking to strangers.

Q: Where is your favorite place to travel to?

A: I’ve been all around the world but visiting Milano, where I grew up, is always my favourite trip. I still stay with my mother in the same apartment I grew up in as a girl. The second would be Paris, where my husband and I started our family before moving to New York in the late 90s.

Q: What should you never do on a flight?

A: Get angry. It can spread like a wave and affect everybody.