MILAN–From her clutches inspired by Fabergé jewelry work to her totes envisaged in the essence of modernist movements like dadaism, cubism and surrealism, Paula Cademartori has stunned the fashion world with her shoes and accessories that spark a sense of levity at first blush.
Paula moved to Milan in 2005 to complete her studies in Industrial Design and fashion management at Istituto Marangoni and SDA Bocconi. The Italian-Brazilian designer worked at Versace in the style department until she was spotted by Sara Maino from Vogue Italia and was selected to participate in the Vogue Talents competition.
Since the establishment of her eponymous label of high-end bags and shoes, Paula’s fame has spread worldwide.
BACO’s Editor-in-Chief Sofia Celeste caught up with Paula in Milan to discuss the artisan spirit behind her accessories and shoes.
You were very fortunate, as well as deserving to be tapped as a Vogue Talent and ride that trajectory. What is your advice to young designers like yourself, who are just starting out?
It is very important to keep focused on your project because when you have a product that is your own and you want it, it means calling buyers and calling journalist and meeting with suppliers constantly to see if everything is well done.
Nothing comes from heaven. If you don’t work hard you won’t reach your goals.
Most of the know how for your brand is from Italy. How hard is it to find the right people to produce your line?
Phew. I did a lot of research. I talked to a ton of suppliers and got to know how they work. It’s important to be there and get to know the product — the leather and the components. You have to build relationships. You will find out that some producers are specialized in one shape of handbags and others, another one. I really explored all of Italy to find the right ones.
What regions do these artisans hail from?
Shoes come from outside Milan, in Parabiago, the bags are made mostly in the middle of Italy and the components come from Florence.
How is your own artisan talent manifested?
I am an industrial designer. What I see, I project in my mind in 3D. I start with the shape and then after I decide on the shape, I create a design. I am also picky enough to see if things are done well. I really participate in the project.
Have you participated in the actual crafting process?
Some parts of the handbags I have done myself. The first time I did worked on my intarsia — I wanted to make sure it was done just right and ended up making the mold myself. I cut the leather myself and glued it and it was ready to stitch. My dream is to have an in-house modelist and now I think it might finally happen.
What’s your mantra?
I want to make bags that last a lifetime. They should be something passed down to generations. Not something you throw away.
As a Brazilian-Italian… what is the spirit of your brand?
My brand has a Brazilian soul. I am very energetic, I since I am Brazilian, I like to see colors. Italy is a bit rigorous for me, but Milan is where you need to be, to be discovered. It’s important for me to always be myself and make beautiful accessories for women that make them feel good.
Where does the inspiration come from?
It’s hard to explain. It comes from inside. How I pick my materials and see the designs… it really comes from my heart, but also what I see on the street is important, as well what I see in museums, photos, exhibitions …
How much of your brand is dedicated to social media and communication?
Social media is something that I love. Once upon a time we used to talk about what was hot like a new restaurant. Social media like Instagram is the new way to pass the word, and I think that it is fundamental and crucial for fashion because for me, it is really a quick way to make my voice louder and introduce my brand to people around the world.
How do you keep your message consistent over all channels?
The message of a brand must be consistent because consistency is key to a powerful social media message but keeping it in-line with the collection and e-commerce… everything has to be connected. It’s true that we work with numbers in fashion but we work with brains too and your message is going to be right if you are consistent.