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As 2009 draws to a close, designers, retailers — and many others — have taken flight to escape the daily grind. However grateful they might be to get away from their showrooms and bask in seaside sunshine or ski in the mountain air, most admitted they’ll still be thinking about work, at least some of the time. And with any luck, they’ll bring back some new ideas.

This story first appeared in the December 29, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Vera Wang

Destination: Sandy Lane in Barbados.

Most looking forward to: Playing golf, swimming, exercising and lying by the pool or on the beach.

Favorite place for people watching: “Lunch by the beach. It makes me want to design resort clothing within a modern context. Much of it looks extremely predictable and traditional.”

Suitcase essentials: Gold Prada handmade lace-up sandals and fisherman gold net market bag. Coated elastic hair bands, tons of T-shirts and a wardrobe of short shorts.

The Takeaway: “It’s been a rough year but we have a lot going on, so I’m going to need the rest.”

Jason Wu

Destination: Las Vegas.

Most looking forward to: “I am excited to see Cirque du Soleil’s ‘O’ and ‘Zumanity.’ They’ve been on my must-see list for a while. And of course, a few hours at the blackjack tables.”

Favorite place for people watching: “I am constantly people watching. Tokyo in particular has the most incredible youth culture. I am always inspired by that when I go.”

Suitcase essentials: iPhone, laptop and at least one Moleskine notebook.

Lexy Funk, co-founder, Brooklyn Industries

Destination: “Our house in Athens, N.Y.”

Most looking forward to: “Skiing at Hunter Mountain, snowshoeing in the woods, building fires and going to upstate cocktail parties.”

Favorite place for people watching: “Snowboard and freestyle fashion is very forward right now. There are tons of neon and radical color combinations that inspire more imaginative fabric patterns.”

Suitcase essentials: “French Vogue, The Economist, my line ‘Celebrity’ freestyle skis, and a Russian embroidered peasant dress that I picked up in Hong Kong.”

The Takeaway: “The woods and days spent outside in the cold are ideal for freeing the mind. The beauty of the mountains is the perfect way to bring in the New Year.”

Alice Temperley

Destination: Cuixmala, Mexico, on the Pacific side.

Most looking forward to: “Being on the beach with friends and my little boy, riding through the coconut groves and drinking mighty fine margaritas.”

Favorite place for people watching: “People, places and travel are always inspiring.”

Suitcase essentials: “For a stopover in L.A. and dinner with clients, I’m packing our spring-summer Issa jumpsuit, and for Mexico I’ll bring my lightweight cotton Diana dress, beach cover-ups, and my Showring dress for New Year’s Eve. Holidays are about relaxing and being comfortable with everything you do. I packed in a record 8 minutes for this trip.”

The Takeaway: “This will be my first holiday that I won’t be back right after New Year’s. I’m returning one week later and I will relish each minute.”

Dennis Basso

Destination: Off to Aspen, Colo., for a play-work excursion. I am having a big fashion show to benefit the Aspen Art Museum on Dec. 28.

Most looking forward to: There is nothing better than après-ski at The Little Nell’s lobby bar.

Favorite place for people watching: “Aspen is an interesting mix of city meets cowboy, and seeing how that is interpreted offers a touch of inspiration.”

Suitcase essentials: “Tod’s suede ankle boots, a shearling I made for myself.”

The Takeaway: “I will play a little bit in the evening but I will pretty much be in my store there during the day. I am already looking forward to after fashion week when we will go on a Caribbean vacation.”

Ralph Rucci

Destination: “I am headed to my favorite place in the world, my home. After hosting a late lunch-early dinner Christmas for family and a few close friends, I sit back to enjoy delicious vodka and red wine. I catch up on sleep, read, watch movies and only see people who are very special to me, those that I can be silent with.”

Most looking forward to: “Having no schedule and doing what I want when I want. Swimming, weight training, and the most important activity, thinking how I wish to evolve and change in the coming year. Also, I begin the obsession into the next collection.”

The Takeaway: “This is my constant work — to become centered, to eliminate anxiety, to accept that there is no separation between my work and myself, and to come to peace with the demands. That ultimately leads to taking breaks from myself.”

Geren Lockhart of Geren Ford

Destination: St. Barth’s

Most looking forward to: “Spending time with two of my best friends lounging and relaxing on the beach, eating amazing French food on an island in the Caribbean, scuba diving, and stealing some time to daydream and design pre-spring 2011 and spring 2011.”

Favorite place for people watching: “I am always inspired by the way people put together the hard and soft to wear to a concert. I like how they want to be chic, but it’s not full-blown fashion and they tend to take chances in a dark room or stadium than they would in broad daylight.”

Suitcase essentials: “Buckwheat travel pillows, my Margiela travel slippers, Malin & Goetz sunscreen, Fresh lip balm, Frederic Malle musc ravageur, Agent Provacateur and Geren Ford lingerie, Chanel j12, Yves Saint Laurent black ‘hooker’ heels.”

The Takeaway: “A girl can dream [about not worrying about work], but that seems a few years off still. I’ll be diving into the planning of our fall 2010 show in New York.”

Nicole Miller

Destination: Aspen

Most looking forward to: Skiing and snowboarding.

Favorite place for people watching: “Lunch at Cloud Nine at Aspen Highlands. They have raclette and fondue and hot spicy wine. People watching in Aspen is always over-the-top, but I love the technology aspect of ski clothing and snowboard clothing, and find both inspiring for the fabrics and details.”

Reem Acra

Destination: Five countries in the Middle East, including Lebanon.

Most looking forward to: “The royal weddings of my friends [in the Middle East] and then the time I will spend in Beirut. I cannot wait for that part.”

Favorite place for people watching: “The weddings….I spend hours just looking at women who are dressed to the nines having a blast.”

Suitcase essentials: “My leggings for everyday, crystal hair clips for a bad hair day, my flat boots and my special dance shoes for when I am ready to go dancing.”

The Takeaway: “My vacations are always filled with so much to think about that they are never real vacations. On the other hand, I always try to enjoy myself every day of the year.”

Johanna Uurasjarvi, Anthropologie design director and Leifsdottir designer

Destination: St. Croix to our vacation home.

Most looking forward to: “Painting with my son Marcus. We dunk big pieces of watercolor paper into the pool and then paint our hearts out.”

Favorite place for people watching: “I end up studying people at the airport, giving points to people who manage to look chic yet practical.”

Suitcase essentials: “Comfy eye mask. When in transit, I try to get few extra moments of sleep whenever I can.”

The Takeaway: “I am absolutely going to throw myself into all sorts of beach fun with the kid to clear my mind and recharge for the new year.”

Stephanie Solomon, operating vice president of fashion direction at Bloomingdale’s

Destination: Upstate New York

Most looking forward to: Skiing, cooking, resting and being with family.

Favorite place for people watching: “I always find some inspiration on the ski slopes, particularly from the snowboarders.”

Suitcase essentials: “Creme de la Mer, aspirin and my Marc Jacobs fur vest.”

The Takeaway: “The plan is to free my mind from work, a bit.”


Maria Cornejo

Destination: Tulum, Mexico, with my family.

Most looking forward to: “Having breakfast on our ocean-view front porch and just watching the ocean waves roll in and roll out.”

Favorite place for people watching: “I am rarely inspired by people. I’ll take a long walk down the beach and go into the Sian Ka’an Reserve and surround myself with nature, my favorite source of inspiration.”

Suitcase essentials: A book, Old Navy rubber flip-flops and the Zero + Maria Cornejo fragment print long Goa dress.

Lela Rose

Destination: Dallas for Christmas Day and then skiing in Jackson Hole through New Year’s.

Most looking forward to: “Doing a little skiing and snowboarding with Rosey, our three-year-old daughter, who will be donning skis for the first time.”

Favorite place for people watching: “The après-ski place in Jackson Hole is the Mangy Moose…great for people watching but it certainly has yet to yield any design ideas.”

Suitcase essentials: “Mountain M&M’s (aka Advil.)”

The Takeaway: “All has been good this year and I am planning on celebrating that with a little rest and relaxing.”

Prabal Gurung

Destination: The beautiful island of Tortola with my dear friend Maggie Betts.

Most looking forward to: “Relaxing and escaping the brisk New York weather. I wouldn’t mind coming back with a little bit of a tan either.”

Favorite place for people watching: “My best moments designing are when I have a clear head and to do that I usually go to the gym and then take some paper and a pencil to a local coffee shop. Even with the hustle and bustle of the city around me, I somehow manage to zone it all out. Now that I will be on a beach for a few days, far from the East Village, I am eager to see what sort of inspirations I will take away from my time there.”

Suitcase essentials: “Bathing suit and sunglasses. Hopefully, I won’t need much else.”

The Takeaway: “I will be heading to Nepal for my yearly trip in March, which I am really excited about.”


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