All aboard the summer express
Nuria Val's bags are packed with the latest fashion and she's ready to embark on this summer's great escape – from Barcelona to Côte D’Azur to Lake Como to Berlin.
"Travelling is a part of my personality. I can travel back and forth to different parts of the world for weeks on end, only to return home to Barcelona for a couple of days and feel ready to go again," says Nuria Val, a Spanish multi-hyphen who combines photography with creative direction, modelling and world-exploring. She also happens to be one of the most influential dressers on the internet.
Now, the Barcelona born and based creative is about to embark on another adventure. Having a suitcase packed to the rafters with the latest and greatest of summer fashion, she's holding a ticket to Europe's dreamiest summer destinations.
For Nuria, summer is more than just a season among the others – it's the feeling she's chasing all year round. It's clear to her more than 220,000 Instagram followers that Nuria is always on the road.
"I truly am a summer person, and I love everything about it. During the winter months I escape to places where it's summer," she says, firing of one of her big smiles while walking down a busy shopping street in the Eixample district.
Lucky for Nuria, Barcelona is a city of sun, sea and sand. We followed her as she got ready to get out of town, seeing off her favourite places before leaving the city for the summer.
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"My sunglasses, my phone, my camera." We turned Nuria's straw mini bag upside down only to find out she's a light packer. The rest of her everyday summer essentials are harder to detach – crisp white sneakers, a breezy dress and jewellery galore.
DESCRIBE THE PERFECT SUMMER LOOK.
"An oversized dress, or something that's so comfortable that you can spend an entire day and night in it. Sneakers – always sneakers – and maybe a hat too, I love a good hat."
Summer is not the time to think too much about what to wear, that's what the cold seasons are for.
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL SUMMER STYLE?
"I can't define my style, because it always changes depending on the location, weather and my mood. But I do have a comfortable and functional approach to fashion, so overalls are a staple, or just a skirt paired with a T-shirt. Summer is not the time to think too much about what to wear; that's what the cold seasons are for."
WHAT SUMMER TRENDS ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT?
"I'm not driven by trends, and especially for summer I'm really into just wearing really simple things – but cute one-piece swimsuits always do the trick for me. I like pairing them with trousers, shorts or skirts, just because I always want to be ready to jump in the ocean."
Like any big city, Barcelona never stands still. Nevertheless, some things don't change. These are Nuria's top spots.
"Barceloneta beach is really fun! It's always full of people, which can be a bit overwhelming, but if you're on the stretch closest to the W hotel it's usually less busy. I love to go paddle boarding, have lunch at one of the beachside restaurants, and perhaps make some new friends."
THE GREEN SPOT
"Being vegetarian in Barcelona hasn't always been easy. The Green Spot, which is a few minutes from La Barceloneta, makes very exciting vegan and vegetarian food. It opened a few years ago and has been my favourite restaurant since."
FUNDACIÓ JOAN MIRÓ
"It's my favourite place to go to when I'm low on inspiration. It has a library full of books about art, architecture and ceramics, and since it's up on Montjuïc [a green hill in the central part of town], it feels like you're on a mini break from the city. The garden has panoramic views of Barcelona and holds some of Joan Miró's finest works."
"El Born is an interesting neighbourhood. It has a lot of history, fantastic restaurants – like El Xampanyet or Bar El Born – and is always busy and loud. Despite El Born being very touristic, there's a balance between being super touristic and super Barcelona."
"When I'm stressed and have a lot of things on my mind, Tibidabo mountain is where I go. The scenery is stunning, and they have a cute little theme park as well. If you go here, you should do the four-hour hike on the back of the mountain. It's like the Runyon Canyon [in LA] of Barcelona."
Comfort comes first, but it's equally important to be chic when you're in transit. Nuria Val's suitcase is full of kaftans, standout swimsuits, breezy summer dresses and retro-inspired accessories. For long plane or train rides, she always opts for something that will match the plan – a roomy blouse, paper-bag waist trousers to easily loosen the belt – and of course a premium leather carry-all.
HOW DO YOU MAKE TIME GO FASTER WHEN TRAVELLING LONG DISTANCES?
"I love having time for myself, and I'm rarely alone to ponder about things and make plans, so I try to enjoy it. When I'm tired of that I do what everyone else does – read or watch documentaries and try to enjoy it. I like to see the landscape and the small towns passing by outside the window."
PHOTO Jacqueline Harriet
STYLING Ellen Pålsson Norberg
MAKEUP Veronica Aldrin | Mikas Looks
PRODUCTION Koster Production