With a wealth of industry experience under her belt from some of the UK’s biggest fashion brands (Selfridges and Liberty to name a few), Luisa De Paula has carved herself a successful career in the fashion. Luisa currently works for online luxury fashion boutique and a favourite here at StyleNest, My-Wardrobe.com as Buying and Merchandising Director. We caught up with her on the run up to London Fashion Week to talk shopping, style and finding that work/life balance.
Tell us about your role as Buying and Merchandising Director at My-Wardrobe.com
My role is to direct the sourcing and negotiation of new and exciting brands, develop new product categories and ensure that the seasonal edit delivers exciting trends and key wardrobe staples helping our customer build her wardrobe from season to season.
Have you always known you wanted to work in fashion?
No I did a Portuguese Literature and Cultural History degree, which didn’t particularly qualify me for anything. I fell into fashion by chance as I always had a part time job in fashion retail whilst I was a student. I went travelling for a year and a half around the world when I left university and then joined the Selfridges Graduate Management scheme. When I came back I started their job retail training scheme and the rest is history.
What’s your failsafe work wear look?
I used to always wear trousers and a jacket, but this season I have started wearing dresses again, which has caused quite a stir in the office as the team weren’t expecting it. A favorite current look is a GOAT Lola shift dress, McQ shoes and an Anton Heunis statement necklace.
Are you looking forward to LFW?
Absolutely, it’s always very creative and exciting with so many great collections to see and inspire. Figuring out outfits is a bit stressful but good fun.
What shows do you always look forward to?
I’m looking forward to Preen, Jonathan Saunders, Richard Nicholl and Mary Katrantzou. I always look forward to walking around the exhibition as there are so many great finds there.
What AW12 trends can we expect to see at My-Wardrobe this season?
Lots of leather, opulence, futurism and the new rich colour palettes of green, blue, red and purple.
You previously worked for some of London’s most luxury department stores from Selfridges to Liberty. Where do you like to shop?
I know this sounds contrived but most of my shopping is done at My-Wardrobe. If this were not the case I don’t think I would still be doing what I’m doing. I am a core customer mixing established brands with new, up and coming designers and building my wardrobe from season to season.
Online shopping seems to be the way everything is going. What are your top tips when buying clothes online?
Know when the ‘New In’ days are (My-Wardrobe.com’s new in days are Tuesday and Thursday) and sign up for the newsletters so you are the first to hear about the new arrivals. Look for loyalty programmes and premium shipping where you can earn and reap rewards such as exclusive shopping days, sale previews and free shipping as you shop. And finally, set your designer preferences so you only hear about the designers and items that you would like to hear about.
Can you let us in on any new brands My-Wardrobe have coming up?
This season we are delighted to be introducing exciting new diffusion lines Derek Lam 10 Crosby, Helmut By Helmut Lang, as well as Just Cavalli, Versus by Versace, Red Valentino, shoe designer and niece of Jimmy Choo, Lucy Choi and jewellery designers Bex Rox, Maria Francesca Pepe and Dara Ettinger among others.
You’re a mum as well as a career women, how do you juggle the two jobs at once?
It’s an impossible task so you have to accept that you can’t be the perfect mum all of the time. My partner Fraser is very supportive and understands all of the travelling and long hours during the buying seasons and I have a fantastic nanny who I can depend on. Outside of the buying season I will always prioritise my time with my daughter Carys.
What three pieces will you be investing in this season?
A pair of cropped black leather trousers by Sara Berman, which we worked on together with Sara as an exclusive for My-Wardrobe.com. A gold 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli satchel bag, which is becoming one of the most sought-after bag styles this season. And a Preen patchwork print dress, which is perfect for that work day to evening look and is incredibly flattering.
If you had to wear one label for the rest of your life what would it be?
Acne as they are always evolving and innovating, while staying true to that unique Scandinavian Acne aesthetic.
Have you had any memorable fashion disasters you’d like to share?
There were many in my youth, especially when teamed with my 80s permed hair. My biggest faux-pas has to be a camouflage boiler suit I once wore into work with a leather flat cap some years ago. It wasn’t a good look but that’s what happens sometimes when you are tripping the light fantastic in fashion.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate and custard donuts.