Photos courtesy of Anna Paola
Born in the U.S to a Greek father / Mexican-American mother and raised in Greece, Anna Paola's designs capture her cross-cultural upbringing under the sun of the Aegean islands and the coasts of Mexico. In this round of Style Talks, we chat with the swimwear designer about ... well, just about everything. Find out what pieces she'd pair with her own line and be sure to shop her new collection on Cooperativa.
C: Tell us about your multicultural upbringing. Which city and/or country do you consider home and why?
AP: To me, my upbringing was completely normal but looking back it really was anything but. I grew up in Athens, Greece, however my first language was English and then Spanish, as I would speak those at home and school the most. I wasn’t really able to communicate in Greek with ease until I moved to the UK when I was 17 and started hanging out with a group of Greek friends, who insisted I practiced the language with them. The food at home was a mixture of Greek dishes wrapped in tortillas and always spiced up with Mexican sauces. My home at the moment is definitely London. I've been living here for over ten years and I feel completely integrated with the city. It has a wonderful multiculturalism, an absolutely inspiring creative community, and you have the world at your fingers.
C: Do you feel your interesting background inspires your collections or pieces in any way?
AP: Absolutely! To simplify to the world, I always tell them that I'm half Greek and half Mexican. However, the reality is that I'm also American, Swedish, Romanian, Spanish, Native Mexican, and I'm sure the list goes on. This multi-generational forging of cultures has had a deep-rooted effect on me. I am also lucky that my parents have a profound love for travel which had us road tripping through India, Morocco, Kenya, and many more places while I was growing up. All of this had a great impact on forming my view of the world and fed my obsession for art, culture, music, and the incredible diversity yet similarity of humans around the world.
C: What's the main inspiration behind this season's collection?
AP: It was central Mexico. Mexico has always inspired me and has been at the heart of so many aspects of my life. Even though I've never lived there, I feel very connected with my country. It seemed almost natural for me to design a collection around my last trip there where we drove from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato.
C: If we were to spend a week in Mexico...
Cities in Mexico you'd suggest to go to:
AP: I would suggest going to Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende, and Guanajuato.
Best time of year to go:
AP: Any time of the year that you have the time.
Your all-time favorite restaurants:
Hotels you'd recommend:
AP: Casa Luna in San Miguel de Allende. It used to be a hacienda and it's stunning!
Bars or cocktail spots:
AP: Licorera Limantour -- an oldie but a goodie.
Things to do:
AP: For shopping, I love La Lagunilla. It's an open-air weekly antiques market which sells all kinds of books, along with quirky and obscure objects. There's also a stand that sells micheladas and another with a full bar. La Ciudadela is another favorite of mine. It's an amazing market with Mexican crafts. Finally, I always have to load up with Mexican candy from the Dulceria Regional Delia in Prado Norte so I can keep a bit of Mexico when I'm back in London.
C: What are some pieces from Cooperativa you'd pair with pieces from Paolita?
AP: I love the jewelry from Monica Sordo and Claudia Trejos, or Amandina's earrings -- their pieces are divine. Palma Canaria's bags are perfect for the beach or bar when on vacation. Miss Balanta's headbands would look great with resort wear. We also adore the Gladys Tamez hats, they're stunning vacation pieces for keeping the sun off your face.