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Sophie Elgort is a New York City based fashion photographer, the eldest child in an über creative clan that seems to be on the tips of everyone’s tongues lately. Growing up on the film sets of her father, who was the legendary lensman, Arthur Elgort, Sophie was always surrounded by cameras. After university, Sophie began a career in photography, creating her mark in the fashion world by capturing her contemporaries with youthful spontaneity and vibrant, reportage style photographs.
Sophie’s body of work extends to newspapers and magazines – The Financial Times, Paper, Grazia UK and Teen Vogue – to ad campaigns for Tamara Mellon, ADEAM, Bloomingdales, La Perla and so many more. With so much on her plate, it’s easy to imagine that she’s frequently on the go.
SUITCASE MAGAZINE: First, your five must-haves for any trip?
SOPHIE ELGORT: Only five? Camera, laptop, iPhone, dry shampoo, backpack. And my headphones. Six.
SM: Your photography career has brought you to some amazing places. Where have been your favourite destinations to shoot?
SE: Snowbird (in Utah), Kenya and Paris.
SM: You’ve done the fashion month tour of New York, London, Milan and Paris. Do you have any tips on packing lightly for multi-city trips?
SE: It’s hard. I’ve recently started to plan my outfits before I leave, so as to not bring anything extra that I won’t end up wearing. Pieces from one outfit can then double as an item for a second outfit later in the trip. Also, I pack a couple of the bulky items like a sweatshirt, blazer and coat in my smaller carry-on – not only does it save space in my bag, but I don’t freeze on the plane.
SM: You’re on the road a lot for work: do you have any travel apps / travel websites that are your go-tos?
SE: Google calendar (I have every detail of every day – flight numbers, addresses, reminders – in there with notifications set for one day, one hour before and ten minutes before an event). Pinterest is my go-to ‘travel website.’ Before a trip, I go through my newsfeed and get lost in a variety of searches deciding on locations to go or where to go once a location has been decided. It’s all pictures, so it’s a very natural way for someone visual to do research.
SM: Sleep, work, or music and movies on the plane?
SE: All of the above.
SM: How do you carry your equipment as you’re jetting from city to city or long days shooting street style?
SE: I always pack my equipment in a carry-on Rimowa bag – thanks to its hard surface, the equipment can’t get crushed in the overhead and I don’t dare check any equipment in case it gets lost. For running around the city, I like to carry a backpack. I have the Theyskens’ Theory leather backpack, which I love because it’s quite streamline and chic, but I’d like to customise my own backpack for a designer so it’s functional for cameras on the inside while looking like a chic normal bag on the outside – I don’t need everyone knowing its contents.
SM: We love your Financial Times blog, Suits and the City. Were any of your personal favourite pieces in your home or wardrobe obtained while traveling abroad?
SE: Thank you! Here are a few of my favourite purchases obtained abroad along with where they are from: handblown champagne glasses purchased in Kaua’i, Hawaii; clothes from just about every boutique in Palermo Viejo in Buenos Aires; traditional fabric, jewellery, potholders and salad tongs from Kenya; a handmade clay vase from The Amazon rainforest; a small decorative mirror from Cusco, Peru; more than a few bottles of wine from Beaune, France, and the list goes on…
SM: You interned at the Alaïa atelier while in college; do you have a favourite Paris haunt?
SE: Cafe de Floré is a staple – I like to go there for a leisurely breakfast.
SM: Recently married, what’s your idea of a romantic get away with your husband?
SE: Somewhere we can have romantic meals, drink good wine and stay in luxurious quarters, but a place where we can also be active – neither of us are great at lying on a beach all day.
SM: I know you’re a big coffee drinker. Favourite coffee shop in the world?
SE: Honestly, my favourite coffee shop in the world is probably in New York because my go-to is a big cup of coffee, not an espresso or cappuccino. I’ll never pass La Colombe without going in.
SM: If you had two days to spend anywhere in the world, where would you go?
SE: Let me check my Pinterest “Travel Inspiration” board. Seriously… The next place I want to go is Thailand, but I don’t think I could do that in just two days, so I’m going to say the Uco Valley in Argentina for wine tasting, horseback riding and rafting – I’ve been dying to check out the new Vines Resort & Spa there.
SM: No trip to New York would be complete without visiting…?
SE: I would recommend hitting the streets in the smaller neighbourhoods and seeing what gems you discover. I’m a born and raised New Yorker and I still stumble upon places I’ve never been before – restaurants, shops, galleries, museums – that’s the best part about New York.
Introduction and interview by Nneya Richards
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