HOW WE PACK… for a business trip to Hong Kong

By Dominique Burgoine and Sandra Shmith

Photos by Dominique Burgoine

What’s your go-to luggage for this kind of trip, and why?

DB: Generally we both travel with a combo of cabin and checked luggage. I have my favorite Gucci duffle and cabin trolley while Sandra takes a Goyard tote on board.

How do you approach the basics? 

DB: A few weeks before we travel, we both do a first layout of our current wardrobe pieces. Whether we’re heading to cool or warmer temperatures, our demi ds shirts always work well, because cotton and silk are trans-seasonal and easy to layer. As our schedules are more set in stone, we then fine-tune the original selection and edit out or add some more depending on the occasion. 

We both like to use packing cells, as they protect the clothing and keep everything in manageable groups according to occasion. We pack demi ds silks for evening (shirts and pants) in one, they are so light to pack and we can get at least 4 outfits in one cell. My go-to outfit is our demi ds camisole with a wide strap, a pull on pant and classic shirt that works as a jacket or over the shoulder drape. In another cell I’ll put 5 cotton button down shirts (for a 5-6 day work trip), an essential white shirt, plus a blue stripe and a solid neutral or blue. These shirts work hard but always look smart in the city. I also travel with my Gucci blazer for a statement piece en route—currently it’s an emerald green double-breasted wool with gold buttons. Underneath is usually a white cotton tank from Jac and Jack. We also each pack a few pull-on pants in denim or check poly (no creasing so no ironing is necessary). We have just added a light wool pinstripe pant which will be great for the cooler weather trips. Underwear and a silk nightgown from Love & Lustre go in another cell, plus a basic Speedo bathing suit to do morning laps in the pool.

SS: I tend to stick to a few colors that work together and add a pop of color in a silk shirt for night. A favorite is our balloon sleeve shirt in red crepe de chine, either worn with a dress pant or denim. I love wearing a silk shirt with jeans for a casual luxe look so it was wonderful to add a denim pant and shirt into our own collection. For basic tees I pack a few from Uniqlo in black and white. And for exercise gear I always pack a black Eres swimsuit, Nike leggings and On Cloud trainers and tops.

Are you a roller or a folder? 

DB: We both fold our clothes in the packing cells—sometimes if we want extra protection or to prevent less creasing, we wrap in our tissue paper. It really does help with the creasing of silks. 

What’s your shoe strategy? 

DB: Shoe-wise I always pack stylish sneakers (Loewe or Asahi canvas from Japan) for the workroom, Birkenstocks or flat sandals if it's going to be hot, Gucci heels or dress flats for night that could also work with jeans. 

How do you think about accessories? 

DB: I like to accessorize with different statement rings and earrings to change up a look.

Silk scarves are underestimated for a burst of print and color. A small black or metallic pouch that can store your jewels and double as an evening bag is great to have so you don’t have to carry around a big bag when going out for an elegant dinner. 

SS: I rarely travel with anything precious. I will mix chunky costume jewelry with my favorite pearls and wear them by day with one of our cotton shirts or in the evening with silk.

What’s always in your Dopp kit/toiletry bag? 

DB: There’s always a temptation to overpack, but in most cities I find a good pharmacy and buy deodorant, toothpaste or sunscreen, then leave it behind.

On a plane, what essentials does your carry-on bag always contain? 

SS: An Anya Hindmarch clear inflight case which holds my beauty products. In it I pack a roll-on migraine oil from Herbario (a small Italian natural pharmacy in Melbourne). It’s minty and makes you feel fresh and clean. Aesop facial hydrating spray, antibacterial wipes, moisturizer and a face mask (usually a small travel size sample that I pick up so it varies but often its from Aesop), Le Labo basil hand cream, Quies wax ear plugs I buy from French pharmacies, Peter Alexander silk eye mask and a Kindle. I never travel without a cashmere wrap regardless of the season, since cabin temperature is always unpredictable. 

Photo by Dominique Burgoine

DB: In the cabin bag I put my computer and cables, any documents we need to work on, plus the in-flight essentials. Anya Hindmarch clear inflight case containing: Aspar rosemary and clove thermal balm for sinuses, Aesop ginger “flight therapy” roll-on, Mecca face and eye masks for hydration, aromatherapy oils (peppermint and lavender), Tonic eye pillow and a silk/cashmere eye mask for sleeping. Plus the Face Hero hydrating oil from Go-to which I regularly apply and the Lancome Génifique Light Pearl eye serum for tired eyes.

There’s always a diary to take notes as I find time in the air the best opportunity to write down thoughts and planning. Generally I get hot on planes, but I do throw in a cashmere wrap in case the air con is too much. And Hydralyte tablets - a great little Australian invention that you pop into your water for extra hydration and electrolytes. My MVP is a silk eye pillow for the plane and good nights sleeping while away. 

Any wisdom on traveling with electronics? 

DB: Basically only a mobile phone and laptop in our carry-on bags. I’m a big notebook person so I will favor those anytime over technology—we are both obsessed with Smythson for diaries and notes.

Do you have a travel uniform?

DB: Yes, our travel uniform is always one of our relaxed waist wide-leg pants. Sandra likes to pair her pants with an Everyday Boyfriend shirt, while I usually wear them with a silk camisole, as I overheat on planes. Both of us always wear a trench or jacket in transit as it finishes off the look and is an outfit “facelift.” Lately I’ve also been adding a silk scarf as a cute touch of color or print.

Dominique Burgoine and Sandra Shmith are the founders of demi ds, a Melbourne-based slow fashion label. Drawing from their combined experiences in the fashion industry—Sandra as an editor at Vogue Australia, and Dominique with a career in retail and buying—the duo set out to create limited-edition pieces, all hand-tailored at a small atelier in Hong Kong.