What Andrew Bolton Can’t Travel Without

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Andrew Bolton, as the Wendy Yu Curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, oversees the spring exhibitions of The Costume Institute, the Met’s fashion department. The collection he pulls together each year is celebrated at the Met Gala, the annual benefit in New York where celebrities and designers put forth their best effort to create outfits or ensembles that are both eye-catching and memorable. This year’s Met Gala occurs on May 6 and the corresponding exhibition, “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” will be on view May 9 through Sept. 8.

Creating exhibitions usually involves international travel timed either to the fashion calendar or for research. Last year’s spring theme, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” came about after a two-year collaboration with the Vatican.

“We normally have just a year to do our exhibitions,” Mr. Bolton, 52, said. “But because of the complexity of Heavenly Bodies, we had longer, and just developing the trust and relationships with the Vatican was such an amazing experience for me and the museum.”

This year’s exhibition hasn’t led him anywhere, but Mr. Bolton said anything, or anywhere, is camp.

“The monuments at Versailles, that’s Camp Eden. The Empire State Building is camp. Buildings are very much camp! St. Peter’s Basilica is camp. And certain statues. I think anything that warrants a picture postcard classifies as camp to me.”

After the work is done, he makes an annual trip to Lake Como, Italy, with his partner, the designer Thom Browne.

“By the time we get there, we’re so exhausted that it’s even a big effort to get from the room to the swimming pool. We tend to just lounge on the terrace.”

Here’s what he can’t travel without.

“Thom designed a key ring and the talisman is Hector, our dog. So I pack that always; I always have that in my pocket. It’s sort of like St. Christopher for me.”

“It really is like a uniform that I pack: chinos, white shirt, cardigan, sweater, a jacket, one more pair of shoes. I think I realized a few years ago that I tend to be a hoarder, which is probably why I tend not to collect anything anymore because I get worried that I might never throw it away. So my fear of being a hoarder sort of prevents me from being excessive in what I’m buying and what I’m packing.”

“I always travel with the same watch, which is a Cartier that Thom gave me for my birthday. It was the same model that John F. Kennedy, Jr. wore. That’s almost like a bit of a talisman for me. It’s got such a nice history behind it and I tend not to wear it as often as I should. I think it’s one of the things that’s just a wonderful gift that I really do cherish.”

“I like to jog around the city when I travel. I still try and do that if my knees are up for it. Rome was wonderful, I’d just run around, but I haven’t got the best sense of direction so what is usually 45 minutes was an hour and a half. I got a little bit lost on the way back to the hotel so it turned into a half marathon. But it’s a wonderful way to get to know the city.”

“I always travel with a Moleskine notepad just in case I get any ideas, which usually tend to be work related. So I always travel with a Moleskine and a pencil. I’ve lost my phone on the plane so many times that I put it in my rucksack to make sure it’s there, so I just tend to use the notebook to write things down.”

This interview was edited and condensed for clarity.


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