Paula Cadermatori: Building an Accessories Empire

Anna Hilderman,

Paula Cademartoris accessories are nameless and letterless, stamped only by her signature buckle; colour and luxury take the place of language. Passion beats through her designs, where shapes and stripes careen across structured Italian leather. This flashy, youthful flare has become instantly recognizable, elevating the Brazilian entrepreneur and her Milan-based label into universal, street-wise success. In this exclusive interview, which first appeared in the pages of the 12th issue of ODDA Magazine, Cademartori talks about becoming the newest member of the Only The Brave  family, her love of collaborations and how being Brazilian has affected on her work. 

Q: The Paula Cademartori “Global Woman” represented in your designs, is she a reflection of your personal spirit or identity?

A: Yes of course, all my accessories are a part of my personal spirit and identity. I take inspirations from what is around me and defines me: people, colours, music, landscapes, art, photography…it’s a continuous inspiration that increases more and more my creative sensibility, that it’s definitely part of me!

Q: In order to construct accessories that are far from “simple,” do you imagine that the woman wearing them are also complex in their own way?

A: I imagine that the Paula Cademartori woman has something special, a kind of superwoman! In fact, the aim of my creation is not only to dress you and define your everyday look but also to make you dream and give you a touch of the unexpected.

Q: Your handbags have become rather iconic in European, especially Milanese, street fashion. What new territory (inspiration, goals, perspectives) do you hope to discover in the Paula Cademartori SS 2017 collection?

A: We are working really hard to gain more visibility and new markets, I’m so glad to see people appreciating my work not just in Milan but also all around the world. The S/S 2017 collection is inspired by Los Angeles, the nuances of the natural landscapes of the coast, the ocean and the desert and especially the lights, that are the iconic statement of the city, are all represented in my bags and shoes!

    The Petite Faye Bag and Blossom Sandal from Paula Cadermatori Pre S/S 2017 Collection

Q: Speaking of coastal influence, do you feel a responsibility to represent Brazilian designers in the larger style sphere?

A: Yes! It’s such an honour for me to represent Brazilian designers, especially the fact I’ve launched my brand in Milan, one of the main capitals of fashion in the world! It’s so important that from Porto Alegre I made it here! Brazil is part of me and this is reflected also in my creations in the way I play with colours, textures and materials.

Q: After a few fast and gruelling years in school and as a designer for Versace, you launched your company at age 26. In such a cutthroat business, what is the most unexpected lesson you’ve learned in managing your own label?

A: Having your own brand it’s not an easy thing but for me it was very exciting. You have to deal everyday with many different difficulties for which you have to find a solution in order to achieve your goals! You have to be able to hold out in front of the first “NO” and always have the confidence in yourself and in your own ideas. My creations are the result of hard work and efforts and it’s for me the most satisfying gift.

Q: At college you specialized in Industrial Design before attaining graduate degrees in Fashion Design and Management. How is this dual expertise reflected in your personal role in the design process?

A: All my studies have been fundamental for the creation of my brand! My degree in industrial design gave me the possibility to understand all the process of an object’s development. You can draw anything on paper, but to make it real you must be prepared and know how to do it. Then of course I decided to apply my studies to my biggest passion: fashion accessories. I really find important to have a knowledge of the fashion system and with the master in Fashion Manager I definitely improved my management skills.

Q: You also have an Italian perspective, having moved to Milan in 2005; you are a self-described “Brazilian soul, Italian mind” with an outspoken promise to maintain exclusive production in Italy. Have the passing years altered your perception of Italian style and craftsmanship?

A: Definitely not! I’m still convinced of the importance of traditional craftsmanship and the Italian know-how, all my creations are “Made in Italy” because I believe in the first-class material selection and attention to details that Italian luxury craftsmanship give, these characteristic leads to create the perfect product.

Q: Your rise has brought with it the chance for artistic collaboration , such as when you worked with Atelier Biagetti to create an installation called Paula at 10 Corso Como, Carla Sozzani’s famous concept store. Could you speak about the pressures and opportunities of partnering The Paula Cademartori “Global Woman” represented in your designs, is she a reflection of your personal spirit or identity?

A: Working with Atelier Biagetti was incredibly fantastic! I have a great opinion of Alberto and his work, I find him really inspiring. During the realization of the furniture we were in a good tune and our work together was fluid and stimulating, it’s an experience that I would immediately repeat! I really loved the result of our collaboration: a piece of lighting installation entitled Paula where the number 5 has a specific role, 5 plinths with 5 sides, one side for each letter of my name. A colourful array of linear red lights was used to shout it out in block capitals: P-A-U-L-A!


Speaking of collaboration, I have to mention the one with Kartell with a two season’s collection of shoes and bags. These collaborations mean a lot to me because it gives me the possibility to work with the best of the Italian industry design.

                          Kartell à la mode by Paula Cademartori

Q: Since being acquired by Renzo Rosso’s Only The Brave (OTB) Company, how has the support of a larger firm shifted your creative focus?

A: Being part of such a big family as OTB it’s a real honour for me and I couldn’t be happier! It’s a big opportunity for the development and the growth of my brand. I feel blessed having Renzo Rosso as a partner and that he respect my way of work.The creative process has not changed, I’m the creative director but the dynamic of the structure of the company is more specialized.

Dun Dun Bag from the #PCPOPUP Collection

Q: Are there any future exhibitions or collaborations we can look forward to?

A: The big news is the opening of my first Pop-Up store in Milan! It’s my first experience in the retail world; it will open around February 20th before the Milan Fashion week. The shop is designed by the architect Ferruccio Laviani and is located in the heart of the Italian fashion capital, San Babila in the “Galleria del Toro.” For this Pop-Up we have created our iconic bags in limited Edition – Petite Faye, Dun Dun, Twiggy, Linda that will be joinednby the new model Twi Twi. Together with the bags, there will be also a selection of shoes. I’m really excited for this opening, it’s a completely new experience and I couldn’t wait to let this happen!

the writer

Anna Hilderman

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