(Packed To Perfection)

This Designer’s Italian Vacation Looks Are A Breath Of Fresh Mediterranean Air

Copy them for your end-of-summer plans.

Photos: Alexandra O'Neill

In our Packed To Perfection series, TZR follows industry tastemakers to local haunts and far-flung destinations alike to see — and shop! — what they’re wearing on vacation.

There’s no wrong way to visit Italy, but if you’d like your trip to be particularly perfect, take notes from Alexandra O’Neill. The Markarian founder and designer spent the better part of this past July touring the country in-between business engagements around Europe (not a bad gig, if you can get it). Up first was a stay in Ponza, part of the Italian Pontine Islands archipelago, with girlfriends. Then, after a quick professional stopover in Paris, O’Neill jetted over to Capri for a few wild nights of dinner and dancing with her nearest and dearest before making her way to Milan for more meetings.

“I have always thought that being able to travel and experience different cultures is a privilege and not something to be taken for granted,” she tells TZR. “After not being able to travel for so long, it made me even more appreciative of these special experiences.”

Still, for someone who purports to be rusty on the vacation front, O’Neill prepared her outfits like a pro. The lineup was filled with breezy, resort-ready pieces from her occasion-wear label — a favorite amongst Lizzo, Kate Hudson, and Jill Biden, to name a few fans — underscored by Pucci statement pieces and the cutest raffia bucket hat. Even better, she managed to squeeze it all in one TSA-friendly bag.

courtesy of Alexandra O'Neill

“I only ever travel with a carry-on — thankfully, since checking bags while traveling was a real risk this summer — so I make sure that I pack pieces that are easy to wear, color-coordinated, and versatile,” she explains. “Every inch of packing space counts, and I totally rely on packing cubes from Paravel to make everything fit.” Her best advice for squeezing in the essentials? “Shoes are always a challenge, but I limit it to two or three pairs only: one pair of heels, a pair of sandals, and a pair that I can walk in,” she says. “And I love accessories and jewelry, so I bring lots of pieces to mix and match and make things feel different over the time that I am away.”

Keep scrolling for the story behind O’Neill’s best looks from living la dolce vita this summer — and to shop a version of each one for yourself.

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A Ponza Party

courtesy of Alexandra O'Neill

“I wore this Markarian dress our first night in Ponza. We stayed at a beautiful villa in town that Bellini Travel found for us. We had cocktails on our terrace when we arrived followed by dinner at this amazing restaurant called Acqua Pazza. Ponza is hot, hot, hot, and every day is like a workout on the StairMaster, so I wanted clothing that was lightweight but still felt like I was getting dressed up. I made this dress for this trip from a resort style we already had and used a lightweight blue printed cotton for the fabric.”

The Right Stripes

courtesy of Alexandra O'Neill

“This is another dress that I made for this trip. It’s a one-shoulder dress with an easy A-line skirt and sash detail in a soft sage striped linen. It was extra hot that day, so I left my hair curly knowing there was no way to try to tame it. I always wear my Lito eye necklace that my Mom gave to me for my birthday a few years ago. The earrings are a terracotta beaded pair that I got from my friend Ariana’s store called Waves in Bridgehampton. The belt is from Stella McCartney a million years ago — I wear it with almost everything — and the shoes are Ancient Greek Sandals.”

Simply Frilled

“This was one of my favorite looks from the trip. I wore it to this romantic sunset restaurant called Il Tramonto. It is a light blue striped linen dress with a ruffle that cascades down the front. It is definitely a more dressed-up style but feels relaxed because of the linen. I paired it with the beaded terracotta earrings from Waves again. I love reusing accessories on a trip because I only will travel with a carry-on bag.”

All In A Swirl

courtesy of Alexandra O'Neill

“After Ponza, I went to Capri. We had dinner at our house this night and then our friend organized a band to come play for some after-dinner dancing. I am wearing a Pucci top and pants, a Markarian rattan box bag, and Markarian x Ciner black and emerald enamel earrings.”

Shopping Chic

courtesy of Alexandra O'Neill

“I wore this look on my first day in Milan. I had never been to Milan before, so I wanted to do some exploring before I went to the textile show [for work]. We found a really cute street with some vintage stores, this incredible handbag store called Giosa, and a Buly 1803 shop before we went to see the Duomo. I am wearing an old favorite Rosie Assoulin one-shoulder top that knots at the waist that I paired with a pair of green floral printed cotton pants that I got in Capri. The earrings are Ulla Johnson, the bag is Gucci, and the sandals are Ancient Greek Sandals (again).”