Packing Light The Joan Collins Way!
- Joan Collins travelled around the US, South America and Australia
- She set herself challenge to pack just 21 outfits into three bags
- Veteran actress packed just one casual ensemble to wear in the hotel
There are few things I dislike more than packing for a holiday. Trying to squeeze my favourite clothes - and, believe me, I have a lot - into a couple of suitcases is a stressful experience.
You never know where you’ll be going, which glamorous parties you’ll attend or when you might face the ultimate fashion faux pas: turning up in the same outfit as someone else (as I discovered last month when breakfast TV host Susanna Reid and I wore similar-looking floral dresses).
I like to be ready for anything, so I don’t believe in packing light.
Sometimes, it becomes a bit ridiculous, though. My record is 30 suitcases (but, to be fair, that was after a three-month shoot in France and included my children’s and nanny’s clothes).
So, recently, as I set off on a three-week adventure around the U.S., South America and Australia, I set myself a challenge.
Could I pack 21 outfits - enough for a host of social and business engagements in varying climates - into just three bags?
My husband Percy laughed. ‘I know you,’ he said. ‘There’s no way you’ll be able to do that.’ But his disbelief only spurred me on. I started preparing a week in advance, laying out every outfit, right down to the accessories, in my dining room and hanging them up on a rolling rail.
I made lists of the things I’d be doing and allocated an outfit to each one, packing just one casual ensemble - a cashmere Marks & Spencer hoodie and cotton palazzo pants - to wear in the hotel suite.
I chose hats, bags and shoes I could wear several times with different looks, and mixed new pieces with old favourites.
My dresser, Chrissie, packed them expertly - and everything fitted! There was even room for more, so I could enjoy some retail therapy while I was away.
Want to know how I managed it? Here is my holiday fashion diary - and the secret to looking fabulous without packing the kitchen sink . . .
A classic look for the first leg of my journey, from Miami to Los Angeles. The blazer is by Yves St Laurent, the cream trousers are Ralph Lauren and the hat (£208) is by a New York brand called Kokin
Here I am in Lima, heading to the beach - but for me, that means covering up, not stripping off (I’ve been avoiding the sun since I was 20 years old). My paisley-print trousers are from Polkadots & Moonbeams in Los Angeles and the white jacket is by Zara
Keeping up in the style stakes for lunch in Manhattan in this Ralph Lauren jersey dress (£145) and navy Max Mara coat (£725). My two-tone shoes are by Chanel - the low block heel and comfortable insole make them very easy to walk around in
I've landed in Australia and have terrible jet-lag, so this is my attempt at looking human again after three days hiding in a darkened room. The skirt is an ancient Ralph Lauren piece - the failsafe fedora adds a touch of glamour (left); It's so hot in South America, I’m glad I packed this lightweight outfit for a lunch with my husband’s family. The dress is Ralph Lauren and the jacket and hat are from Saks Fifth Avenue (right)
This pretty floral dress made its debut at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014, and I thought it was just right to brighten up a TV interview. I designed it myself to match this amazing Dolce & Gabbana coat
Wearing a sleek silk jacket (£450) by Australian designer Carla Zampatti in Sydney for a magazine shoot. The chic all-cream outfit - complete with a Dynasty-esque hat from the stylist - would make Alexis Carrington proud
A dress I designed, at a press conference at the Museum of Fashion in Santiago, Chile. I love the square neck and fishtail skirt. The look is a bit Eighties - but I think that was a flattering decade (left); A farewell dinner in Lima, and I’ve opted for another of my designs, made from an unusual piece of silk covered in polka dots and poppies. I bought it from Joel & Son Fabrics in London’s Edgware Road. The flowery shoes are by Ivanka Trump (£81) (right)
I designed this dress around the sleeves, having fallen in love with the sheer fabric in an LA boutique. A silver knot necklace jazzes up the outfit
Flying to New York in a blue ensemble - an old Ralph Lauren suit with two patterned tops. For comfort, I prefer trousers when I travel. I usually change into a cashmere jumpsuit on the plane
This shimmery satin skirt suit is another of my designs. It’s perfect for a glamorous dinner party at Manhattan’s Four Seasons restaurant
I designed this two-piece. Someone makes many of my clothes, but I couldn’t reveal her name! The only person I ever told was Cilla Black (left); The day after arriving in London, and I feel quite regal in this silk dress on TV at Windsor Castle for the Queen’s birthday. I know that purple is one of Her Majesty’s favourite colours, too (right)