What I Take On Holiday… With Charlotte Hicks, Founder Of ESSE
Author: Divya Venkataraman
DOCUMENTED BY: CHARLOTTE HICKS
There’s a fine art to packing well for a European summer holiday.
You need shoes that will last the distance, enough suitcase space for the pieces you’ll no doubt find on your travels, and a wardrobe made up of items that can work for both sand-laden beach days and cool cocktail nights. Stumped? Never fear: we’ve enlisted the experts….
Charlotte Hicks is a master of sharp, clean luxury. Her thoughtful fashion label, ESSE, splices voluminous silhouettes with elevated basics rendered in monotones: black, cream, earthen grey, sometimes a shock of red. Over ESSE’s four-year-old life, Hicks’s vision for the label has been one of selectivity: a wardrobe made up of simple, mindful pieces, ingeniously broken up with a statement strappy silk camisole, or a bandeau frock with cut-outs in just the right places.
Documented By: @charhicks
Naturally, Hicks’s label is an extension of herself: her style, too, is pared-back and a little luxurious. Whenever she can, she wears natural, home-grown fabrics, both at home and on holiday. In fact, when designing her collections, Hicks often uses packing a suitcase as inspiration. “Packing well is really about following the same principles as creating a curated, considered wardrobe,” she explains. “Curated and considered really is always best.”
Below, read more about Hicks’s travel philosophy, her holiday habits and her carry-on non-negotiables.
RIISE: Hi Charlotte! We love your designs here at RIISE, and we think we’d probably gladly swap any suitcase we packed with the contents of yours. Tell us: what are your European summer travel packing essentials?
Charlotte Hicks: I like to keep it simple. An oversized cotton shirt, a silk dress, silk pants and a tank top. Cotton for the day and silk for the evening.
RIISE: Do you travel with an outfit itinerary all planned out, or do you just pack pieces that you love and figure out combinations later?
CH: When I started ESSE, I often thought about designing a collection as if I was packing a suitcase. ‘What are the ten things you would like to pack?’, I would ask myself. So my packing philosophy basically follows that idea. Take the essentials and the outfits will always come. You can’t go wrong.
Documented By: Taylor Hallett and Sarah Canavan for RIISE
RIISE: We know that packing light is a good way to reduce our impact on the environment when travelling—how do you minimise the pieces you take on holiday?
CH: I used to be in a bad habit of over-packing and taking fifty things and eventually finding that nothing felt right! A suitcase full of nothing to wear. The age-old problem.
But it really is about picking a curation of things: the essentials. That doesn’t mean they have to be bland. Take a statement evening dress or great top—but just invest in one great top. Packing well is really about following the same principles as creating a curated, considered wardrobe.
RIISE: Do you have any exciting travel plans this year?
CH: Theoretically, as a fashion brand, I should travel four times a year for selling trips and multiple inspiration trips in between. But I have inherently ‘strategised’ my busines and set it up with a less is more approach to all of the above, which does by default limit the excess. It might be a bit of a case of that start-up life, too, where this year I’m staying put, dreaming of a European summer from Sydney – and living vicariously through Instagram. Thankfully, we are lucky to live in one very beautiful country!
RIISE: We’re ever curious about what people take in their carry-on. What are your non-negotiables?
1. A sketch book. Always.
2. A Verso gel eye mask.
3. My ESSE jersey trousers, for chic plane comfort.
4. A podcast or meditation tape, perhaps one by the Huberman Lab (they discuss all things neuroscience and neural plasticity).