Thursday, August 5, 2010

minutes with...

Paolo Roldan

Paolo shot to fame when he was chosen by Givenchy's creative director Ricardo Tisci to walk exclusively for Givenchy and 'close' the Fall/Winter 2010 men's fashion show. He was subsequently cast in the Fall/Winter 2011 Givenchy ad campaign shot by Mert & Marcus, which also featured Tisci's transgender assistant and close friend, Lea T. 

Paolo's schedule has been busier than busy eversince, walking for famous designers and appearing in numerous international publications (HE.POSED.NAKED.FOR.VOGUE) , making this interview take place over a two year period! Despite of all the fame, Paolo remains grounded and super friendly. 

Let's start with Paolo's vital stats:
Height:  6'2
Hair: Black but bald
Eyes: Brown
Waist: 31
Shirt: M/L
Inseam ;33
Suit :40 long
Shoe: 12 

 A lot of websites are claiming that you are Hawaiian, Malaysian and a whole load of other nationalities! Paolo, I know you are based in Canada, but will you set the record straight and tell us where you hail from?  (this is just for the fans- I know you're from the Philly! Woohoo!)
I was born in the Philippines and grew up mostly in Toronto, Canada. Proud to be PINOY!

What was it like growing up there? 
Canada's a great place...a good place to raise kids. It's helped make the person that I am now. All in all, no complaints...nothing but good vibes up there.

If you weren't modelling, what would you be doing right now instead?
IDK...maybe travelling or still working as a menswear buyer in Toronto. Who knows...I never knew I'd be modelling so I couldn't tell you. Long as I'm alive and well, with all my loved ones that's all that matters.

What are the advantages of being a model?
I wouldn't really call them advantages, but there's been a lot of great things that have come along with modelling. I met a lot good people who have taught me new things and gave me new experiences. I travel quite a bit and I have always wanted to do that...I guess you can call them gifts or blessings.

... and the disadvantages?
I miss a lot of family and friends' birthdays...and just everyday things that I don't get to experience at time with the same group of people. It gets hard sometimes to not be able to tell them when I'll be coming home.

What was it like meeting Ricardo Tisci of Givenchy? And where did this meeting lead you to? 
My meeting with Riccardo was quite normal. It was at a casting for Givenchy in NYC...I was already a fan so it was pretty cool for me. It was after sometime from working together that I got to know Riccardo as a friend. So that experience has lead me to what's going on now...working with Givenchy has definitely helped me out career-wise and I'll always be grateful for that.

I love the Givenchy FW '10 ad campaign you did with Mert and Marcus. It was a celebrated ad, not only because it was ethnically diverse, but also because it featured Lea T- Tisci's long-time friend and former assistant- who also happens to be a transgender. How did it feel to be part of all this? 
It felt good to be part of that campaign...I really had no idea the impact it would have to be honest because I was so green at the time. It was my first big print job and was just excited to be there. 

                                                             Givenchy Fall/Winter Ad Campaign 2011

Do you think Asian models have to work twice as hard to get bookings in the modelling industry? 
I think all models have to work hard...there's no one particular group that shouldn't have to. If you fit the bill, the clients will use you regardless of your's their creation and their vision so they are entitled to go about it however they want to. I personally don't want to make that excuse for myself...I consider most of the models my brother/sisters and wish them all the same good fortune.

What do you do in your down time?
A CRAZY night out!

If you had superhero powers for one day, what would you do? 
Rid the world of EVIL...or just fly around and enjoy my powers!

2 things we don't know about you
I crave Filipino barbecue like isaw (skewered chicken intestines)! Is that how you even spell it? I'm very approachable...I say that 'cause people assume I'm not for some reason :(

What's next for Paolo Roldan? 
Back to the motherland :)

Salamat Sharon!!! Thank you for your patience :) xx

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Emanuele Bicocchi

Florence-native Emanuele Bicocchi's jewelry line has been described as a mixture of 'glam-rock and informal elegance'. At the age of 18, Emanuele was taken under Eric Wright's wing (Karl Lagerfeld's former right hand man for Fendi) and became an apprentice where he learned the art and craft of jewelry making. This lead to him working on his first silver jewelry collection for Fendi in 2000.
'Since then I have practiced day after day and I started to create something more and more elaborate'. 

And the rest, as they say, is history. Emanuele's jewelry line is sold worldwide. 


How many pieces of jewelry do you own and which one is your favourite?   
I own all the jewelry I make and each one is special for me.

I think Florence is such a beautiful city, what was it like growing up there?
I grew up in Florence but in the countryside. Living alongside nature each day was definitely very exciting and at the same time, it gave me the strength to believe in a project that could give me the opportunity to travel and discover the most active and amazing places like the big city.

Where do you get your design ideas from?
I take inspiration from everything around me , people, music , movies and every new place I visit.

When it comes to wearing jewelry, does less mean more or the other way around? 
I think that wearing jewelry is definitely a sign of a strong personality.

Do Italians do it better? 
Yes, sure!! He he he..
Gelato or Frozen yoghurt?
Homemade ice-cream

Fashion label that you would like to collaborate with and why. 
I have collaborated with Borsalino and still continue to work with them, it was love at first sight. I love hats.

If I raided your wardrobe, what would I find?
Total black with some white shirt.

Would you give up designing jewelry for another career?    
 No, I love my work.

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Burak Uyan

After spending 2 seasons designing shoes and accessories at Aperlai, Burak Uyan (formerly of Giambattista Valli and Givenchy) has decided to launch his own signature line of shoes and  handbags.

'Aperlai was a pop-up collection. I spent two seasons with them under that label so this season I'm launching under my name, Burak Uyan. There's more identity behind it.  I want to change everything and make the relationship between us and the clients much more  personal.'

The Spring/Summer 2011 collection was unveiled in Paris at 217 Rue Saint -Honoré on the 2nd of October and I wish I'd been there to see it first hand but thanks to Srdjan Prodanovic, Burak's associate, I was lucky enough to have been given the privilege of viewing the collection through their raw lookbook. All I can say is that they are all breath-takingly beautiful! The shoe collection features  interlacing 3D leather designs and architectural heels in different types of 'skin' and lovely contrasting shades of 'sand' and 'ice-cream'. 


A few weeks prior to the unveiling, Burak- as expected- had been busy going back and forth to Italy to check on the progress of his collection. But no matter how busy he and his team had been, they still found the time to write and call me. My little gang of friends were in Paris during Paris Fashion Week and we had arranged for them to meet Burak in his showroom.  
I was at the Lane Crawford/ Philip Lim event when I got a phonecall from RD,  

'Shazza, the shoes are to die for!!!!!', he yelled down the phone.   
'Of course they are!!! I'm so fucking jealous!!!!' I yelled back.
RD told Burak 'I have to take pictures cos if I don't, Sharon will punch me in the face!', this apparently had Burak in fits of laughter. RD passed the phone to Burak as he wanted to say hi too. This really made my Friday evening. So thank you!

***The phone interview took place a few weeks ago and I apologise for the delay as my laptop had motherboard problems -yet again- putting all of this on hold. Mr. Steve Jobs you've got a lot to answer for***

Hi Burak, thank you so much for taking time out of your hectic schedule to call me! 
Hey Sharon! I'm happy that we have finally managed to catch up with each other!

You must be busy!  
Yes it's a very busy time, we are preparing for the presentation and I'm running back and forth to Italy to the factory to see all the new shoes plus bags and then back to Paris for appointments for the showroom and everything!

How exciting! You should launch your label here in Hong Kong!  
Yeah that would be great! I hope we launch this season, we have a lot of appointments with stores in HK!!

That would be so fab, HK ladies love their shoes!
I know! They are so sophisticated and so I hope we make it to HK for this season!

(now it's Burak's turn to ask me a question)  

Are you going to be in Paris for Fashion Week?  
No unfortunately, I've just come back from Shanghai and the funds are extremely low! A couple of my friends are making their way to Paris as we speak, so I am extremely jealous! 

Well I hope you make it one day!  
Yes, that's my ultimate goal- to view the collections in Paris... 

So what makes your shoes different from all the other brands out there? 
The basic idea of the collection is to always have comfortable shoes without sacrificing the design. This season we've lowered the heels to have a wider range and to cater to businesswomen, for example. We managed to do all this with the help of my fabulous team in the factory in Italy! The shoes are elegant, full of attitude and super comfortable even though some of them feature our signature 13-14cm high heels!!!

The higher the heels, the better...  
Yes but at the same time if they're not comfortable then they'll just make women cry! My shoes are well made in terms of the fit. They're all padded inside, so really it's the structure that counts!

Your inspiration for this collection? 
The present collection is inspired by Eva Hild's ceramic sculptures. Eva is a Swedish artist that does a lot of 3D sculptures and organic shapes. They're huge and just amazing, all in different colourways. You have to go and see them for yourself. It actually inspired me to work in 3D and combining it with traditional elements of shoe design but translating it into a more contemporary way. 

How important is it to keep old traditions when it comes to creating shoes? 
It's very subjective but I think traditions are very valuable. The method of crafting shoes during the 20's & 30's, for example, was very existential.  They used to spend hours and hours on the shoe! Today you make shoes up to a certain point. Back in the day they were 100% handmade and I try to adapt that as much as possible into how I craft my shoes. Most of the shoes I make are cut by hand and not by laser, they're all hand-stitched too. It's very imptortant for me to construct shoes today as it was back then but with the help of today's technology. 

Would you say that seeing things in everyday objects (objects that may seem ordinary to some people) and then translating it into something beautiful like your shoes and accessories is a talent?
It's a talent to discover extraordinary things for what they are and translate them into your own creations but I wouldn't consider everyday objects as ordinary. Like 50's architecture, for example, it may seem too 'industrial' for us today because there's nothing futuristic about it but for me they are amazing therefore making it easy to translate them into something.

Ok lets move away from the shoes for a minute, I know you have just recently returned from a holiday in Mykonos?  
Yes I was there! I've gone back and forth in the last couple of years because I have a lot of friends there and I love the place! It's a nice place for relaxing and having fun at the same time. 

But where is your favourite holiday destination?  
 It's very rare that I get holidays but when I do I prefer to go somewhere quiet. My favourite destination is Bali.

What's your favourite drink?

Where do you see Burak Uyan in 5 years' time?  
I don't look too far ahead in the future. I am a person who likes to live in the present and I'm happy doing what I love  at the moment and I hope it stays like this because I really love designing shoes.

Well Burak it's been so lovely speaking to you and I must let you get on with your work. Once again, thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to call me... 
You're welcome! It's been my pleasure! See you very soon!

Watch out Hong Kong, I'm sure it won't be long until Burak Uyan and his beautiful collection of shoes and handbags invade our shores...

✯ ✯ ✯

Michael Tonello

If you are a person with lots of disposable cash to throw and is looking for a way to convey how healthy your bank account is, then you will most probably want to buy the iconic Hermès Birkin bag, but what you won't be counting on is the fabled '2 year wait- list'. The only way to surpass this list is if you're a). Victoria Beckham or b). Michael Tonello.
Michael is the Barcelona- based author of the fabulous book, Bringing Home the Birkin, a memoir about his time as a Birkin procurer to the rich and famous. In the book he tells the story of how he came up with a secret 'formula' of buying 'same day' Birkin bags- surpassing the wait list and almost making it obsolete.
If you haven't read it- where have you been hiding?!

Will there ever be a sequel to 'Bringing Home the Birkin'?  
Well, there is actually a "prequel" in the works now. I am writing a book about my life in Barcelona, which will be published in 2011. The book is a memoir but will include lots of information about the culture, food, art, and recipes of Barcelona.

Have you gone back to Hermès since you published the book? Do you ever miss the life you had while traveling all over the world procuring Birkins? 
When I was on book-tour I went in to several Hermès shops around the USA and Canada to buy some small "hostess gifts" for friends. It was very exciting to learn that many of the salespeople were reading my book or had read it. I still travel now, promoting my book (which is now translated/published in nearly a dozen languages). I don't miss all the shopping; shopping for a living is tiresome.

Barcelona or Massachusetts?

If I came over to your house in Barcelona and opened your fridge, what would I find? 
Today: Three bottles of Cava, cat food, assorted Canadian Cheddar Cheese (I just returned from a trip to Toronto), Jabugo (the best Spanish ham), watermelon, pink grapefruit, lemons, assorted mustard's from France, a tupperware container with Paella (from Juan's mom), blueberry juice, a big bottle of Vanilla from Madagascar (to make banana bread), assorted Lindt chocolate bars and some salted cod.
What’s your idea of a relaxed weekend? 
Not leaving the house on Saturday - staying in my pajamas all day and cooking, eating and watching movies. On Sunday going to Juan's parents house for a big lunch, which is always like Thanksgiving (with more food and wine than anyone could possibly consume). Falling asleep on the 30 minute train ride home.
Favourite hotspots in Barcelona. 
These will all be revealed in my next book. That being said, if any of your readers are planning a visit to Barcelona they should email me through my website ( and I'll be happy to provide helpful information.

If Hollywood knocked on your door with a screenplay for ‘Bringing Home the Birkin’, who would you choose to play you in the film? 
Well they have and the screenplay is being written right now. I'd love to see Neil Patrick Harris play me. But if Neil couldn't do it I'd settle for Matt Damon. :-)

The Birkin is in demand more than ever, do you think this bubble will burst eventually?! Will Hermes be able to keep up with the supply?

The Hermès Birkin bubble will only burst if Hermès produces too many Birkins. The Birkin's success is (at least partially) built on it's scarcity. People always want what they can't have. Hermès has the capacity to supply the demand (they have over 1500+ craftspersons working in their ateliers in France) but in this case supplying the demand may not be in their own best interest.

Prada was your ‘uniform’ when you were buying bags in Hermès, what other menswear brands do you like? 
I love Thom Browne and wear a lot of his clothes. One of the reasons I love T.B. so much is that the clothes actually fit me. It seems that so many brands nowadays have enlarged their sizing, so a size small, which I wear, is too big for me. I also like bits and pieces of Polo Ralph Lauren.

Describe yourself in 5 words.
Contradictory. Optimistic. Astute. Assertive. Sensitive. 

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Katie Eary 

Affectionally known as the Queen of Slaughterhouse Chic; Katie Eary, the British menswear fashion designer and Royal College of Art MA holder, is anything but conventional. Her graduation collection, inspired by George Orwell's Animal Farm, made everybody sit-up and take notice. Rib cages covered in Swarovski crystals, studded leopard prints and Union Jack pig bags were just a few of the features of her collection. Aptly called Punked Royal Military, the pieces were showcased in Selfridges in London; featured in top fashion mags and worn by Kate Moss and Roisin Murphy. This is menswear only for the brave!

You've recently done a collaboration with Nike, any more in the future? And who would you like to collaborate with next? 
I have a few collabos lined up... But I can't say till they are out... (exciting) I've just done a capsule collection for Catwalk Genius, its goes on sale in Sept... umm, doing an exclusive collection espesh for a Japanese company (secret) and I am doing a few exclusives for ASOS- in short, I've been a busy beee!

Do you mind being called the "Queen of Slaughterhouse Chic'?
I don't mind what people think.

You exclusively design menswear but soon you will be debuting your womenswear collection through Design Genius, is this something that you will continue doing in the next forseeable future ?
I really enjoyed doing a little collection for the ladies.. I would like to do a few more bits, yes... but we shall see...

Where will Katie Eary be in 5 years' time?
Umm, I would like to be in Paris, piloting something not so good ( a big brand with no credibility), and make it fucking amaze!

Any item of clothing in your wardrobe that you'd rather forget/ burn?
Hmmm, no not really...

If you were a piece of clothing, what would you be? 
I'd be a sexy body-con leopard print dress.

Favourite hotspots in London? 
At the moment my new flat in Angel. I'm quite over East London...

Favourite drink?
Jack Daniels and Coke
What is the craziest thing you have ever done? 
Chose fashion as a career... haha!

Any words of wisdom for budding designers out there?
Don't design if you like $$$, there certainly is no money in it! Hahaaaaa! 

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Atlanta Reade

The name behind the Aussie jewelry label, Atlanta Atat,  a former model (and not to mention, yummy mummy!) has carved quite a name for herself designing stylish and edgy costume jewelry inspired by street culture. Her creations have been seen on many Australian celebs  such as Chloe Maxwell and American singer, Pink. Atat has also been featured in various fashion publications in Australia and the US. My personal favourite is the 3-finger gold knuckle duster. By the way, Atat ships to Hong Kong! So what the bloody hell are you waiting for?!?!?

What was the first thought that came to your mind when you woke up this morning?
My 1st thought this morning was …  get up, make my daughters lunch for school and get ready to go check out the new warehouse style markets down in Bondi that I am thinking about trying, and I will drop in some of my new wax Jewelry designs to be cast on the way there…. Ha h a.. I can’t actually believe that thought about all of that before I even made myself a cup of tea!! Ha h a

Where do you draw inspiration for your jewelry line from?
Inspiration comes to me in strange ways and at any time…. I may be driving, or walking and every now and then a design just comes into my head. Kind of like a picture. And I really need to have a pencil and paper handy to draw it quickly otherwise I 4get all about it…ha ha.. My new range particularly is inspired by Wild Cats after naming my 2nd daughter Puma, I just became obsessed with Panthers, Tigers, Pumas and Lions… And it shows in the range, there are lots of 2 and  3 finger rings all with matching necklaces and bangles, with Wild cats incorporated into the designs. I draw inspiration from strength and beauty… My designs are usually a bold contrast of e.g. Street style and Glamour… Hard and soft.. Tough and pretty in the same design.

What's your favourite item in your wardrobe?
At the moment it is my Vintage leopard print Bodysuit…I bought it at the markets recently.. I wear it with and under and with everything .. 

Where do you see Atat in 5 years' time?
By then I see ATAT becoming an internationally recognised brand… This has always been my vision for ATAT’s future…

What's your favourite drink?
Coopers’ Pale Ale…… And Pineapple Coconut Juice.

If you were a piece of jewelery what would you be?
Ha Ha… That is such a funny question!! I am surprised I have never thought about that before… hhhhhhhhmmmmmmmm??? Probably a 3 finger ring so that i would look cool at all times… ha ha… Can’t believe I just said that..

Which one would you rather have, fame or money?
DEFINITELY the money… Being famous sounds like a big pain in the ass!!

Describe yourself in 5 words.
Mummy….. Calm…. Motivated…… Creative….Inspired….

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