Indagare Insider: Lisa Fine

With an eye for design and a voracious appetite for travel, Lisa Fine explores the world to find inspiration for her work. Indagare spoke to the globetrotter and textile designer about her favorite markets worldwide and what travel means to her.

Tell us about your brand, Lisa Fine Textiles. What was the original inspiration? Over 25 years ago, I went to designer Peter Dunham’s apartment in New York. I’d never seen such beautiful color combinations, mixes of patterns and Indian-style decorative objects before. At the time I was working as a contributor for fashion and design magazines, and I thought, “I want to go to India and learn more about these textiles.” The irony is that now, years later, Peter is a very successful designer and has a fabulous showroom (Hollywood at Home), which was the first to feature my textiles. It really came full circle.

How did you break into the market? I had a bit of a lull in my life and was ready to make a change. I went to India with a couple of textile collectors and block print makers to learn more about the craft. I returned with swatches and showed them to a girlfriend of mine, Carolina Irving. She told me she was dying to design her own fabrics, and said, "let’s go."

Related: Lisa Fine's Member Postcard: In Awe of IndiaYou are also a world traveler.

 How have your travels influenced your brand?

It’s one in the same. So much of what I do is inspired by what I’ve seen and where I’ve traveled. While I can learn a lot about the world through museums and archives, there’s nothing quite like being in the place and seeing the local workshops and workrooms.

You have homes in both Paris and New York. You grew up in the South; what drew you to those cities? I wanted to move to New York since I was a little girl watching Doris Day movies on TV. Paris was just a complete adventure.

What is your favorite city? Your favorite city hotel? City-wise, I love London, Delhi and Istanbul. What I love about Delhi are the visuals and the shopping and the Oberoi Hotel–that’s my home in the city. But my absolute favorite hotel is the Rajvilas in Jaipur. Other favorites are the Gritti Palace in Venice, the Four Seasons Ritz in Lisbon and the Beverly Hills Hotel. I’m a city girl. I grew up in Mississippi and I don't care to go back!

Related: Perspectives on IndiaWhat was your first trip abroad?

When I graduated from high school, I went to Paris and the South of France with my mother.

What are some of your favorite markets? I love the markets in Istanbul. I also always visit Dilli Haat and Khan Market in Delhi, where I stock up on organic creams and oils with ingredients like turmeric, tamarind, sesame, vanilla and cinnamon.

What are some of your favorite items to buy abroad? In India, I love looking for inexpensive paintings, specifically good reproductions of Indian miniature paintings. You can find things for anything from $20 to $500. I also always buy cashmere, jewels and spices. No matter where I am, I try to visit a local bookstore.

Related: Just Back From… India

What is always in your carryon? A good book, a bag of almonds and red chili peppers.

What is your favorite travel splurge? In India, when I arrive and before I leave, I always get a head massage, a foot massage and a Ayurvedic massage at the Silhouette Salon in Delhi. It’s the best way to begin and end a trip. 

Favorite travel ritual?

I always go a day ahead of everyone else and and stay a day later!

If you could pick one: city, beach, desert or mountains? Beach. I love the small, out-of-the-way beaches in the Aegean and the Mediterranean.

Related:  How to Plan an India Itinerary

Do you have a destination that surprised you? A trip that changed your perspective on travel? Egypt. I had no desire to go, but Melissa suggested it and it was one of my favorite trips of my entire life. Cairo has some of the best markets and bazaars in the world. We took a boat down the Nile and I loved the fact that on one river you go from ancient Rome and Greek culture to Egyptian and then end in Muslim North Africa. To see all of that in a few days was fascinating.

Can you think of a moment that made you fall in love with travel? I fell in love with hotels before I fell in love with travel. I owe that to my mother, who always loved nice hotels.

Interested in planning a trip to India? Contact the Indagare Bookings Team.

Published onApril 3, 2017

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