The XOJET 10: Edda Gudmundsdottir, Stylist
New York-based stylist Edda Gudmundsdottir ’s travels have since taken her to every corner of the globe, from her homeland of Iceland to assignments working with a range of clients that include Diane Von Furstenberg, Converse, L’Oreal and Bose, as well as celebrities such as Lady Gaga and numerous international fashion magazines. Gudmundsdottir recalls a time when air travel promised wonderful stories for all to share. “Now, it’s not a big deal. It’s not special, and I wish we could go back to that time,” she says. So in the hopes of capturing a little of the spirit of a more glamorous age, the XOJET Blog talked with Edda about traveling in style.
1. Growing up, what was your first dream destination?
I grew up in Iceland, so my first dream destination was actually America—New York in particular. Everything about America seemed glamorous. I suppose my dream has come true, because I’m living here now. But my other dream destination has always been the moon—not that I want to be an astronaut, I just love the idea of visiting the moon.
2. Tell us about the first time you flew on a plane.
My first memory is probably of when I was about four years old, traveling with my parents on a three-hour Icelandair flight to Germany. In those days, the front half of the plane was non-smoking, and the back was the smoking section. What I remember most is getting really air sick from all of the second-hand smoke. It was so bad that even the people sitting in the smoking section would come into our section just to get some air.
3. How many days a year do you travel now, and what percentage is for business?
My schedule changes all the time, but recently I’ve been traveling a lot more—like twice a month this past year. A lot of the time I make a point of mixing business and pleasure, so if I’m going somewhere for work, I try to stay an extra day or two so I can actually see the place and meet the people—just to have some real experience of the place itself. Beyond that, I travel about twice a year purely for pleasure, on holiday.
4. When you travel for business, what’s most important to you?
Speed. So a direct route is what’s most important to me now. Just get me there.
5. What’s the biggest difference between how you travel for leisure and how you travel for business?
When I’m traveling for business, I try to get as much work done as possible on the plane, preparing as much as possible, so that when I arrive I can focus on all the different aspects that have to come together as soon as I land. At the same time, I try to get some rest on the plane, because I have to start working as soon as I land. It’s a juggle. When I’m traveling with friends on holiday, my biggest worry is whether or not they have good champagne on board.
6. On that note, what was your most luxurious travel experience?
I went to Bali with some friends, and because one of my closest friends is the architect for the Aman Resort, we stayed at three different Aman properties in Bali. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.
There was another one though, that was quite glamorous. Recently I visited Cabo San Lucas with another female friend, and we ended up treating ourselves to a stay at the One&Only Resort. They had this romantic couples massage, and of course we weren’t that sort of couple, but it was incredible, total luxury to be massaged under the starlight.Then they gave us this romantic dinner, with tables overlooking a cliff with a view of the ocean, with the waves coming at you and a private chef who came to cook for us. To this day, my friend and I still laugh about it—our most romantic getaway ever.
7. How have your attitudes about travel changed over the years?
Now, because I travel so much, I don’t book my flight until right before I travel. Also, I don’t pack my bags ahead of time. When I was younger, it was so exciting to travel, I’d pack my bags a week before and spend so much time thinking about what to take. Now, forget it. I don’t have the time for any of that anymore, and it’s a scramble to get my bags packed as I’m heading out the door. I’ve become a very good packer, though—I’m a stylist, so I’m always packing for shoots, and I have to travel with so much luggage for the job. Unfortunately, when I travel for pleasure, I always overpack because I’m so excited that I get to wear something fabulous and think about dressing myself for a change, not someone else.
8. What’s the best piece of advice anyone’s ever given you about traveling?
Time is money.
9. Is there one thing you never leave home without?
Yes: my keys. I mean that. When I’m leaving the house, heading to the airport and carrying so many different things, you never know how many times I’ll have to go back inside.
10. What’s your dream destination now?
I still want to go see Aman in Thailand. I haven’t been yet, but my architect friend has been working on it, so I really want to get there soon. But there are still so many places. I dream of visiting The Galapagos one day. And there’s still the moon!
THE XOJET LIST
Favorite city: Reykjavik, Iceland.
Favorite hotel: The Aman, of course.
Favorite restaurant: Jimbaran, a seafood restaurant right on the beach in Bali.
Favorite bar: Boston Bar, in Reykjavik.
Favorite resort: Cabo Azul, in Cabo San Lucas.
Favorite spa: The Blue Lagoon in Iceland. Every time I go home, that’s one of my first stops.
Favorite museum/gallery: Because I love so many museums, for me it’s about what’s showing at any given place when I’m visiting. Although I love Palais de Tokyo in Paris, and they always have something great happening there.
Favorite travel device: I don’t know if you can call it a device, but my favorite thing to travel with is a sleeping mask. I have several, but my favorite is from Kiki de Montparnasse.
Favorite luggage: I would love to say that I travel in style with a luggage set from T. Anthony, but I’m really hard on my luggage, so I often buy pieces in Chinatown or somewhere like that. I always think of this picture I saw of Marilyn Monroe traveling with all her beautiful matching T. Anthony and I think, Oh, I wish that was me! Some day, maybe.