Paula Cademartori, my multicolored life

Of Brazilian descent and vitality, but with a home and brand in Milan, Paula Cademartori is an explosion of personality, just like the pieces she designs and produces. A fashion designer specialized in colorful handbags and purses made of leather, suede, colt and exotic skins, she found her fame in Italy: with a master's that took her from Porto Alegre to the Istituto Marangoni in Milan, to a collaboration with the Versace maison, up to founding her own brand.

Paula is one of those people who never gives up: challenges to her are just hurdles. Among the most recent projects that saw her in the spotlight is a collaboration for the Spring/Summer 2017 collection of Kartell à la mode, the design brand's department dedicated to producing and selling fashion accessories. Indeed Paula and renowned brand Kartell share a common philosophy, aesthetic and sense of color and irony. To Paula "life is definitely too short not to play". Here's why.

What are you working on right now?
It's hard to say because these past months it's been so many things at once.
Obviously I follow all the activities that concern my company and brand: from its commercial growth to expanding product lines, the new collection for the upcoming winter season and many other special projects. We never rest.

Is there any object you wish you had designed?
Ettore Sottsass' vase. To say I adore it is an understatement.

If you could live anybody else's life, who would you choose?
Beyoncè, no question! I am a super fan.

You are an established designer. What goals do you want to reach?
My biggest desire, as well as goal, is to be able to make women understand the value of my creations and hard work, all the minute research that is behind every single detail. To be able to communicate this aspect and see people appreciate my products is one of the biggest satisfactions I can experience.

Fashion evolves very rapidly. Experiencing it from inside, what micro or macro changes have you noticed?
Fashion has always existed, but in the course of just a few centuries it underwent drastic changes. One of these is surely the fact that everything now has to be fast and immediate. Trends are passé in a matter of months, triggering in people the desire to immediately possess a garment or accessory. In this way though there's a tendency to lose that magic tied to the anticipation of acquiring the object/item of one's desire.

Looking back, is there a turning point you think was crucial in definiting your career?
Definitely when I founded my homonymous brand and company. It was by no means easy: the obstacles I had to face were numerous, but if I could go back I would make the exact same choice. I love my job and the effort it requires just has to be taken into account.

Of the many projects you've been involved with, are there any you're particularly proud of?
There are many that come to mind: such as WION and Vogue Talents, the first two competitions that allowed me to meet people who have been fundamental in helping me on my professional journey, but also current projects I'm pursuing with my team (of which I can't as of yet reveal anything though... - stay tuned!).

Have you seen any exhibitions this year that impressed you?
In February I went to The Broad museum in Los Angeles. I still vividly remember this light installation by a Japanese artist: so amazing!

You're an all-round creative. Who or what inspires you?
Anything that communicates an emotion: from music to literature, art to cinema, photography or design. I'm an extremely curious person, I love to look around and try to draw inspiration from everything that surrounds me. And of course, from women: I enjoy observing them, checking out what they're wearing, understanding their taste so as to be able to offer them a unique and special product.

Is there such a thing as a routine or typical day of work for you?
Every day in my office is always a new, unpredictable adventure. I deal with all the various activities of the day and always try to consult with my team on a daily basis. After all we are working towards a common goal so communication is key to making things run smoothly.

How would you define your style?
It's a reflection of my personality. I wear what I like and what makes me feel comfortable in my own skin and about myself. I love mixing vintage and high fashion pieces, I love jewelry and obviously I never do without a pop of color in my outfit or my accessories.

What do you consider your greatest talent?
The joie de vivre that always accompanies me.

Now on to negative aspects: what are the most difficult parts of your job?
I could compile an endless list, because managing a small and young brand such as mine is a daily struggle. From manufacturing to sales, communication to distribution, and much, much more. All this represents a continuous challenge and an incentive to always get better. It's a question of perspective, isn't it?

Can you tell us some of your favorite spots in Milan?
My hotel of choice is the Mandarin Oriental, to eat I prefer restaurant Bacaro del Sambuco: traditional homemade Italian cooking and the first courses are simply delicious.

The city that is close to your heart?
Milan, by now I consider it home. This is where my dream came true and this city allows me to keep pursuing it day by day.

On the topic of home, what's yours like?
My home is my refuge: between its walls I can be myself at 360 degrees. It's true freedom.

What kind of atmosphere did you create there?
The choice of furniture, colors and design pieces totally reflects my aesthetic. It's a mix of contemporary art and vintage pieces. What makes it so special is that the objects are souvenirs I brought back from my travels. I love collecting memories.

Is there a motto you live by?
Sure: never give up. To be put into practice every day.

Interview by Marzia Nicolini


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