Paula Paduroiu is a great example of someone following their dreams. For many she landed a dream role in Paris at Victoria’S Secret. Most would be content working inside a premium womenswear manufacturer, more so under the wing of ready-to-wear designer Serkan Cura. But for Paula, she took inspiration from what she saw, and decided to pursue the dream she had envisioned since childhood; to see others wearing her own designs. We met with paula to discuss her journey into the world of ready-to-wear design and styling.
Your time at Victoria’s Secret is a clear turning point in your career. What happened there that had such and huge effect on you?
I remember I always used to watch the fabulous Victoria’s Secret runway shows and wonder how the stunning wings were made. It starts with hundreds of hours, adding hundreds of thousands of chrystals and feathers, and one very enthusiastic designer. That was Serkan Cura, the man behind the wings. He was responsible for creating some of the most extravagant looks for the lingerie runway. I was Serkan’s assistant for two years and it was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had and he inspired me to be what I always wanted to become; a stylist.
Since your departure almost 4 years ago, you’ve created your very own Ready-to-Wear Brand – Velvet, Can you tell us a little about your collections and design inspirations?
My grandmother was a very talented couturiere and growing up I always had an interest in painting, drawing and fashion. From a very young age I knew that one day I’d see other people wearing my own designs. This led to studying style and fashion design in Paris, creating my ready-to-wear brand and the rest is history. My career so far has been a journey of travel, experiences and lessons learned.
Who wears Velvet?
I’ve created Velvet for dynamic women, a woman who knows what she wants and is always on the move. My clothes are suitable for all occasions, whether it be the workplace, a friendly lunch or a formal event. I think every woman can become who she wants to be, as long as she knows how to best value her body shape and express her personality.
At the moment your collection is tailored towards women, but you have plans to launch a men’s line and even further and a children’s collection… Can you tell us about these projects?
Like many designers, I’m much more creative than analytical. But I have to focus on the numbers to make the business work. Succeeding in fashion requires much more than a university degree in design and a for talent dreaming up runway styles. Function and performance are a priority and I want to be able to satisfy the needs of both women and men. Developing men’s apparel is a great new direction for my casualwear and the kid’s clothes will come in the future to complete my collections. I’ve begun working on both lines, but am still researching to understand the market, the research is essential in order to design marketable products.
You’re continually developing Velvet, and have recently begUn offering Personal Styling, what does this entail?
A decade or more ago, personal stylists were almost always perceived as sartorial servants of rich old ladies. However, in recent times, people have sought the expertise of one-to-one professional sales people because of the mounting pressure to look good at work, on dates and social media.
I am the liaison between my clients and their closets. My job is to make this connection easier by identifying trends, gauging a client’s fit and developing an overall looks that work best for them. The goal is to give my clients the proper tools to dress themselves. Offering personal styling services is a further step in my career and completes my work as a stylist.
You are also the founder of a fashion network in Paris, what is it about ?
I founded ‘Paris Fashion and Style’ at the end of 2014 and it’s had an immediate success. It’s a network to help established and emerging fashion professionals in Paris to meet through various events, such as; networking events, styling events, cocktails, clothing swaps, beauty bars. Members include fashion designers, apparel brands, buyers, photographers, journalists and fashion bloggers etc. I aim to make the network the biggest in Paris and expand it internationally, London and New York chapters are opening later this year.
You’re achieving great things and clearly pursuing your dreams, what advice do you have for our readers?
Life is short. Follow your dreams, it’s what makes life worth living. Work hard to create the life you want, believe in yourself and embrace challenges, make a promise to yourself to be happy.
This interview originally appeared as a cover story inside issue 22