Lulu DK fabrics founder and designer, Lulu deKwiatkowski may be best known for her bold colors and hand printed geometric designs, but she's also a natural born wanderer. Lulu de K., as she is popularly known, spent her childhood traveling between the Hamptons, the Bahamas and Manhattan; but these days she seeks inspiration in more far-flung destinations; always merging business with pleasure. Her globe-trotting is perfectly chronicled in her book LULU, part travel journal, part art book and part autobiography, hand-written throughout, featuring colorful collages of her life, adventures and loves.
Lulu took a moment to share some of her favorite travel hits and misses with me, while juggling her latest creation, one month old son Pier Giorgio.
What's the best hotel you've stayed in?
I cannot deny it, I love The Four Seasons. I did a long trip around South East Asia while doing a little research for my book LULU, it was a long and windy, sometimes grueling trip, so I wrapped it up by spoiling myself for a few days at the Four Seasons in Ubud, Bali... it was bliss. I particularly loved the spa.
What was your favorite vacation?
A trip I took through Tanzania, Africa 15 years ago with my now husband... (at the time he was my boyfriend and I was madly in love) but that's not why I have a soft spot for the trip. The trip was absolutely amazing. We were given insight by Peter Beard's wife as to which travel company to use, and being that they were new and a little raw, they took us places where nobody else had been. For one month, the only people we saw were the local Mari tribes people. We traveled through sandstorm deserts, to palm tree laden waterfall oasis' that seemed to fall from the sky. Although nearly eaten by lions and trampled by elephants, it was the most exciting exhilarating trip either of us has ever taken.
Where would you love to go visit?
I have never been to China and would love to go.
What do you always pack and bring with you?
Camera, Drawing pad with pens and a bathing-suit
Best meal you've encountered that you still dream about?
After my husband and I traveled through Tanzania, we took a break by the ocean in a place called Rascutani, the food was literally killed and caught right outside our window and this included the meat too. We had a steak that was so tender it melted like butter in our mouths, unbelievable.
What item do you love right now?
I really love LULU DK for Matouk beach towels that are about to come out. I actually took the designs directly from drawings I did in my travel journals, which include shells from Columbia, sailboats from my childhood in Long Island, rope designs I did on a trip to Tangiers, and parasols from the beaches of Italy.
Worst travel experience?
When I did my trip around South East Asia, I organized it very quickly and had a travel company help me -- however, while organizing the Vietnam portion of the trip, the agent sent me to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) instead of Hanoi; I was very upset at this little mishap and spent a few days darting the puppy sized cockroaches on the road... need I say more?
Biggest packing mistake?
The only packing mistake I have ever made is when I pack too much. When I went to India, I literally packed everything I needed in a backpack and I was the happiest. The less you bring, the easier it is to dress and travel.
What is your biggest morsel of travel advice?
Have an open mind, even if a place is not what you expected; I usually find there is always something interesting about a place.
What is the worst hotel you've stayed in?
A flea infested pit stop in Lima, Peru. We ended up sleeping in our car.
You're currently in... what are your local favorites?
I am in Los Angeles, where I am living right now with my husband and 3 sons; the youngest is only 20 days old. There is a park called Tree People around the corner from our house that I love to bring my twin boys to. I believe that children should be creative with nature, so we collect twigs and rock and bring them home to make things. I also love a store called Decades where they sell second hand high-end clothing; there is always great stuff!
If you can only choose one magazine from the airport kiosk, what magazine do you grab?
Lulu will be part of a panel discussion hosted by SMARTY, Master Among the Madness: Becoming The Best Admist the Competitive Rest, Tuesday February 15th, 7pm, Pottery Barn in Santa Monica. Learn more here: www.smartypeople.com. Visit Lulu's blog for more: www.trailofinspiration.com.