roopal patel
Credit: Photograph by Don Penny, Styled by Anne Wlaysewski

Another season of New York Fashion Week has come to a wrap, and it had many fashion moments we just can’t stop thinking about, from Julia Fox opening LaQuan Smith to Christian Sirano‘s star-studded “frow.” Naturally, when attending all the exciting shows held this season, a statement-making yet practical bag is essential for all your belongings. GRAZIA looked to no one other than fashion luminary and SVP, Fashion Director of Saks Fifth Avenue, Roopal Patel to find out what essentials she had with her on-hand throughout the week.

Ahead, Patel shows us what’s in her bag of choice this season (the Loewe Mini Flamenco), plus, shares other NYFW stories, like when she snuck into a Marc Jacobs show early in her career and her fashion week wardrobe pièce de résistance.

GRAZIA: Where did your love for fashion start?
Roopal Patel: My love for fashion started at a very young age, but I didn’t know there was an industry for it. I just saw the clothes and models floating down the runway and fell in love with it. I grew up in an Indian household and watching my mother get dressed up in these beautiful, bright saris and colors like fuchsia, purple, yellow, orange with beautiful jewelry was so inspiring. My mother definitely was a big inspiration in my love of fashion. Also, in an Indian household, you see Bollywood movies and those are very much about style. It was a part of my childhood. Then, I started watching Style with Elsa Klensch and looking at fashion shows like Gianni Versace and Calvin Klein — I loved it. I also always looked through the pages of Vogue, teared out images of campaigns and designers that I admired.

G: You studied law in school, correct? What was the moment you decided to make that leap into fashion?
RP: I went to NYU exploring the possibility of law or marketing, but I realized I didn’t want to take a traditional route. Halfway into my sophomore year, I started to realize there was a whole business of fashion. I wanted to explore it but it was too late for me to transfer into a fashion school. So, I made my way in the industry by taking jobs and internships at different retailers. I was folding sweaters, helping customers, sweeping floors. I took an internship for a small brand at the time, Juicy Couture, and that’s when I realized I could be part of this industry. I was so excited when I got my first fashion office assistant job after college.

G: Now, onto the fun stuff. How do you start planning your looks for the week?
RP: I don’t have a magical formula. Prepping to dress for fashion week I always mix some of my staples and favorites from my wardrobe with new items that I’m loving or excited about for the season. I’m so lucky that I work for Saks, as it’s got the best fashion lineup there is. I’m definitely pulling in favorite pieces mixed with classics, searching on for some of the pieces I’m coveting for Spring 2022 and thinking about how I can work them into my wardrobe. Everyday the process changes and evolves and grows, there is no set look day by day but that’s what I love. It’s so fun when it comes together but it could really be a hit or a miss. Dressing for fashion week is always so much fun because you can experiment but generally I incorporate a lot of color, and texture — I love leather and statement shoes. It’s a good chance to wear things you might not wear everyday.

G: What do you carry around while you’re out at the shows?
RP: I’m a minimalist when I’m at shows, really only bringing the essentials of what I need. A bag I’m loving right now is the Loewe Mini Flamenco in fun colors. I always carry my phone as it’s my office away from my actual office. Some type of lip balm like rosebud salve. It’s also really important for me to stay grounded, so I always have crystals in my bag. Maybe clear quartz, rose quartz or amethyst depending on the day and, of course, always my wallet.

G: What is your pièce de résistance in your New York Fashion Week looks?
RP: Doing the NYFW marathon in February is always super cold, you never know what the weather will be; everyday is so different. Statement outerwear is going to be my pièce de résistance this week. Big, cozy, warm fashionable outerwear.

G: Think back to your first-ever fashion week, how did you feel?
RP: Wow. I mean, it was so different back then. My big moment was sneaking into a Marc Jacobs show and I was just like ‘wow,’ this is a dream come true. I used to watch it on TV and now I’m here. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world and still feel like the luckiest person in the world to do what I do.

Shop Roopal Patel’sNew York Fashion Week essentials:

  • Loewe Mini Flamenco Knot Leather Clutch, $1,950. Shop Now
  • Bottega Veneta Intrecciato Air Pods Pro Case, $160. Shop Now
  • Loewe Browline sunglasses in acetate, $310. Shop Now
  • Rosebud Perfume Co. Rosebud Salve, $7. Shop Now
  • Dr. Barbara Sturm. Anti-Aging Hand Cream, $65. Shop Now
  • Saint Laurent, Monogram Flap Wallet, $745. Shop Now