The fashion industry and the judicial system have what we'd call an... interesting relationship. And while we aren't here today to comment on the intersection of design and copyright, or designer's personal, ahem, legal plights, we instead want to focus in on an especially puzzling phenomenon: the trend of lawyers leaving behind their file folders and Latin legal maxims for fashion.
There's Preetma Singh, the corporate-lawyer-turned-editor; Audrey Hameau, the Parisian-tax-lawyer-turned-LVMH-exec and finally, Spanish lawyer-cum-Vogue Spain-alum-cum-stylist (phew), Barbara Martelo, whom we met up with before the Dior show in Paris.
“Nowadays for me it’s very complicated [to choose one favorite designer]. One time in my life, I would have said Alaïa, another time Christophe Decarnin for Balmain, but right now, it’s very complicated because I mix pieces from a few designers. I’m quite loyal to Anthony Vaccarello. I still like many Chanel pieces. I like some Givenchy pieces. I wouldn’t be able to wear one collection from head-to-toe. Impossible.”
We made our way up to Martelo’s suite at the George V, mere steps from Champs-Élysées (coincidence? Nope.), where she greeted us in head-to-toe 70s-esque Saint Laurent, sweeping her perfectly-un-perfect brunette strands behind her ears. Martelo’s style isn't forced; but rather all about tried-and-true, perfectly laid-back basics (think denim and lots of leather) paired with a single standout piece.
“[If I could live in any city it would be] New York for sure. It’s always on my mind. Right now, I can’t [live there] because my husband works in Africa and New York is very far away from there. He loves it too and he lived there for 10 years. Maybe soon my children will study in the United States and we will finally end up in New York. For me, New York is home — I feel really comfortable and I love the energy.”
You'd be remiss to imagine her as anything but one of Tommy Ton’s snapped street style faves (we'll get to her Saint Laurent filled suitcase in just a second), but Martelo’s judicial past —she worked in-house at Inditex, you know, the parent company of Zara —comes through in her tact. Think Olivia Pope, only with Tumblr accounts dedicated to how she pairs her Marant and SLP just so.
As we rifled through her opulent studded leather jackets, sharp-shouldered blazers, ultra-soft cotton tees, and second-skin leather pants (which she has in bulk), she divulged in everything from nostalgic memories of her mom trying on Armani in Milan to dreaming up working with Helmut Newton to finding inspiration from travel to being loyal to Anthony Vaccarello and hinting at a future as a shoe designer (!). Yeah, we can’t wait for the latter, either...