Soraya’s Bakhtiar’s Summer Style Notes

Known for her bold and colourful personal style, Swiss-born fashion influencer and stylist Soraya Bakhtiar already has several high-profile jewellery and fashion collaborations under her belt – not to mention an enviable transatlantic lifestyle. So, who better to give us the inside track on the secret to nailing summer style? From floaty dresses worthy of a week in Capri to on-trend gingham swimwear, here are her seasonal style notes…

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My go-to summer fashion formula is colour, colour, and more colour. Somehow, I always end up wearing bold and bright pieces, otherwise it can all feel too serious. Living with London’s grey weather for so many years has probably made me crave colour even more – it’s therapeutic for me. I mix colours, prints, textures – just everything I think is fun. 

I also love everything sparkly and shiny at this time of year. My earliest fashion memory is playing dress-up in my mother’s closet and I’ll never forget her Sergio Rossi Swarovski crystal sandals – I felt like Cinderella every time I tried them on. My mother was a fashion designer, so I used to watch her sketch and make mood boards all the time. I thought I might be a designer too, until I realised I couldn’t draw. I came to realise I like creating different outfits and looks – and writing.

My style changes depending on my mood, the weather and whether I’m heading to a city or a beach destination. If I’m traveling to a city, I pack more jeans and jackets. If I’m going on a sunny holiday, you won’t see any denim in sight. It’s all about skirts, dresses and shirts. For example, I love the idea of a colourful dress paired with an oversized shirt (tied at the waist) and lots of layered necklaces.

@SORAYABAKHTIAR

I always finish a look with fragrance. In my eyes, it’s what completes the outfit, which is part of the reason I founded Azaleo. It’s a layering brand, you can layer scents the same way you layer clothes. I imagine the scent Voile de Lune as a constant or a base – just like your favourite pair of jeans and white tee. Then, the layer (like Bois Boheme or Sun to Soul) is that colourful touch you add on top. Whether it’s a cool bag, an oversized blazer or simply a red lip. 

The brands I turn to time and again for holiday are Faithfull the Brand and Rixo for easy-to-wear dresses. Zara – although I try to buy fewer fast fashion pieces these days and consciously focus on things that I know I’ll keep and wear over and over. Siedres, Mira Mikati, Staud, Zimmerman, Love Shack Fancy and Misa are all favourites, too.

My holiday wardrobe prep starts about three days before I leave. Usually, I want to make sure I pack as light as possible. I use an empty rail to pick and style the outfits I want to take with me – just like I would on a styling job. I calculate the number of outfits I need (day and night) and try to choose things I can wear more than once in different ways. I also try everything on to see how I feel in each look. I tend to pick one colourful bag and one which is more neutral. This whole process drives my husband mad, but for me, it’s essential. Once I arrive at my destination, I want to know exactly what I’m wearing and how. I’ve also been known to take pictures in case I forget how to style the outfits once I get there! 

@SORAYABAKHTIAR
My style changes depending on my mood, the weather and whether I’m heading to a city or a beach destination.
@SORAYABAKHTIAR
My style changes depending on my mood, the weather and whether I’m heading to a city or a beach destination.

​When it comes time to pack, I lay everything flat in a big Samsonite case. I’m no Marie Kondo, but I try to keep one side for clothes, and the other for shoes, bags and toiletries. I always keep valuables in my hand luggage, too. Trousers and dresses go at the bottom, tops and tees on top, and underwear/swimwear in the corners or in pouches in the shoes. Shoes are a great place to store things like sunglasses, curling irons, and laptop chargers. It’s kind of like playing Tetris – you have to try to optimise every single bit of free space you have.

I love visiting Capri and the Greek Islands. It’s where I’ll be spending a lot of time this summer. I get very inspired by the colours of South America, too, and the elegance of the Middle East. In August, I’ll also be in Switzerland and I’m also hoping to spend some time in London this autumn if the pandemic allows for easier travels.

La Minerva

One of my favourite hotels is La Minerva in Capri. It’s very intimate, well-located, and the most charming hotel in town. The staff are also so attentive. I also love the Bulgari Hotel in Milan, it’s surrounded by trees so feels secluded and it’s just five minutes away from the best shopping streets. The Aman in Tokyo is also amazing. 

The best piece of fashion advice I've ever been given is to enjoy it. With fashion it’s important to be yourself and not lose yourself in the process. Don’t take it too seriously, either – wear what makes you feel good. If you’re confident in what you wear, you’ll project positivity.

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