One of the country’s top stylists, Mohit Rai, has worked with celebrities like Sonakshi Sinha, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Disha Patani, and Kiara Advani, among many others. The fashion expert gives Travel+Leisure India & South Asia’s contributor the lowdown on his favourite international shopping destinations, travel wardrobe, and practical style tips. By Arzoo Dina
Excerpts from the interview with Mohit Rai:
T+L India: What are your favourite shopping destinations?
Mohit Rai: I’ve had some of the best time shopping in Italy. Florence and Rome are great for thrift shopping with lots of hole-in-the-wall stores. In fact, I’ve picked up a much-loved pair of shoes whilst in Rome. Israel offers a lot in terms of street shopping if you know where to look, and I really love scouting for interesting stuff at London’s Portobello Road Market for cool finds like brooches, boots, and coats. It’s also home to underground designers. Germany has great alternative fashion brands and an edgy fashion scene. Milan is a top pick too.
T+L India: What are the staples in your travel wardrobe, what are your top tips for packing for a holiday?
Mohit Rai: It really depends on the destination and what the weather is like there. I’m quite the sneakerhead and love to accessorise my outfits with a smart pair of sneakers. This can really elevate your look. I love adding prints to my travel wardrobe, plus jackets that can work well in any weather. Comfortable t-shirts paired with dark denims are a must and I’m also big on accessorising with accents like chains, beaded accessories, etc.
You can’t go wrong with a good pair of shorts on vacation. Functional footwear is a godsend, especially when there is a lot of walking involved, so definitely invest in a good pair. Stick to light denims, chinos, and printed linens for an effortless look and beach vibe. Carry light blazers or a linen jacket for formal dinners. You can pair this with white sneakers so you’re not overly dressed but the look is still smart casual.
T+L India: Tell us about the under-the-radar boutiques that you’ve come across during your travels?
Mohit Rai: The Mall Firenze is a luxury outlet store, on the lines of Bicester Village in the UK or La Vallee Village in France and offers great discounts on high-end and luxury brands. In Rome, just behind the Trevi Fountain, there is a whole scheme of shops located in narrow cobblestoned lanes. I’ve found some really cool shopping here, especially leather goods.
T+L India: What are the fashion trends to keep in mind this travel season?
Mohit Rai: Flat knits are trending currently. These work well in both summers and winters and the fabric doesn’t weigh you down, so it’s apt for both kinds of weather, especially now. Designers like Shivan & Narresh and Rahul Mishra are doing a lot with flat knits at the moment.