On the Runway Nina Flohr leads a life that even the most seasoned traveler would envy. The 28-year-old Swiss-born, British- and American-educated creative director of VistaJet, the über-chic private aviation company that her father, Thomas Flohr, founded in 2004, divides her time between London, her home base; California, where she works and surfs; and the island of Benguerra, off the coast of Mozambique, where she is building Kisawa, a hotel and environmental conservation center. “You only have to look inside my wardrobe to see that I have three lives,” Flohr says. At home, she mixes Chanel and Giambattista Valli with vintage pieces. For weekends in Los Angeles, it’s all about “beanies and big sunglasses.” And for work in the male-dominated aviation industry, Flohr claims she dresses “like a man: flats or boots with trousers, and my hair is up.” Never mind that those trousers might just be leather Proenza Schouler and the flats patent Miu Miu. Style, after all, has always been part of Flohr’s life. Her mother, Katharina, was the founding fashion director of both Russian and Greek Vogue, and later was the managing and creative director of Fabergé.
London Calling Flohr’s Notting Hill flat is a testament to her far-flung forays. Though it’s decorated in traditional English style—the velvet sofa in the sitting room is in a Nancy Lancaster–esque yellow, and there are exquisite prints and textiles by Bennison Fabrics, Robert Kime, and Cole & Son—the furnishings are punctuated with eclectic objects from all over the globe. (Among Flohr’s favorites: a silver Bolivian headpiece she found in Buenos Aires, a collection of Ghanaian stick figures, and an African warrior necklace.) Flohr uses her globetrotter connections to make her mark not just at home but on VistaJet too. “We partner with the best restaurants—Nobu, for example, and Cecconi’s—rather than using airport catering,” she says. “And we want to provide the ultimate sleep onboard.” Mattresses, duck-down duvets, eye masks, and pajamas are meticulously sourced; linen is bespoke and made in Italy; toiletries come from California. “The soap-and-skincare line is organic and raw, to the point that you could eat it,” Flohr quips.
Feel the Heat “I love the extremes of what I do—the juxtaposition of high-end private aviation with working on the ground in sub-Saharan Africa, where youmight find me putting wooden pylons into the sand,” Flohr says. “I find that very liberating.” She first went to Mozambique on vacation, and kept going back to explore more of the region. “I realized that most of the country is being developed for oil and gas but that something amazingcould be done by combining tourism with environmental concerns. I adore Africa and felt a real calling to do something on the ground there.” Still,it’s work, so does she have a uniform? “Absolutely,” she says, laughing.“Lots of bright colors and no white, ever—the local women don’t wear it. Vintage 501s, silk shirts from Topshop and Equipment, African jewelry, big panama hats, and either Converse sneakers or riding boots to protect me from mosquitos and malaria.” Flohr sums it up this way: “I appreciate beautiful clothes, but I don’t let them get in the way. One shouldn’t make these things too complicated.”
Photos: Nina Flohr Is Flying High
Flohr at home in London, beside Anne Collier’s Woman With a Camera (Postcard, The Chieftain’s Daughter), 2014.
Relaxing at home.
A VistaJet aircraft tail featuring a 2010 collaboration with L.A. street artist Retna. Courtesy of VistaJet.
Inside a VistaJet Global 6000, with duck-down duvets, cashmere blankets, and custom mattresses. Courtesy of VistaJet.
The jet production facility. Courtesy of VistaJet.
An assemblage of objects on Flohr’s étagère.
Flohr’s dining room, with an antique chair she reupholstered in pink velvet. Courtesy of Nina Flohr.
Flohr’s home office.
Flohr’s mother, Katharina Flohr, 2000. Courtesy of Valery Katsuba.
At her Kisawa tourism and environmental project on Benguerra Island, in Mozambique, 2014. Courtesy of Nina Flohr.
Flohr, in Provence, France, 1996. Courtesy of Nina Flohr.
Benguerra Island, where she is developing her construction project. Courtesy of Nina Flohr.
Her mantel, with a Ghanaian stick figure.
A 1930s Art Deco cart in the entryway of Flohr’s apartment, with a vase she hand-carried from Italy.
A favorite look from Chanel for fall. Courtesy of Getty Images.
With her friend Noor Fares, Rio de Janeiro, 2014. Courtesy of Nina Flohr.
Flohr surfing in California, 2014. Courtesy of Nina Flohr.
A fall 2015 Giambattista Valli look. Courtesy of Getty Images.
While visiting a friend on the Zambezi River in 2014, Flohr awoke to find an elephant tapping on her tent. Courtesy of Nina Flohr.
A colorful street scene in Maputo, Mozambique’s capital. Courtesy of Nina Flohr.
For the inauguration, Flohr was joined by kings and chiefs from local tribal communities. Courtesy of Nina Flohr.
The inauguration of the Kisawa project on Benguerra Island, 2014. Courtesy of Nina Flohr.
Hair by Ken O’Rourke at Streeters; makeup by Kim Brown at Premier Hair and Make-Up; digital technician: Adam Goodison; photography assistant: David Wood.