Paula Mendoza

Paula Mendoza

Designer & CEO, Paula Mendoza Jewelry. New York

By: Meagan Wilson
Styling: Meagan Wilson
Photography: Renée Rodenkirchen

Some people can only be equated to human Adderall—veritable Energizer bunnies who thump along and can infuse a room with the same endless ebullience that seems to be part and parcel of their entire, well, being. The types who, even after a long day of back-to-back shoots, meetings and a five minute lunch break, rapidly jolt you back to something resembling a functioning human being. People like Paula Mendoza, the Colombian jewelry designer whose beaded cuffs, collars and rings have been at the top of our wish lists since we first spied them on Net-a-Porter. Yeah, she's one of those.

Making our way to Mendoza's Chinatown walk-up apartment-slash-studio the evening of our shoot, we were admittedly pretty beat. But somewhere between being greeted by the designer, all long, lithe limbs (thanks in part to a killer pair of Céline wedges), snapping fingers, while clad in a floor-length red vintage gown with cappuccinos for our crew in hand and digging through her closet(s, no small feat in a tiny New York City apartment, guys), we livened right up.

Mendoza's closet (and pad) was kind of the perfect study in contrast: classic (quilted CHANEL) meets avant garde (a collared dress made of actual cork by fellow Colombian, designer Jorge Duque), prim (a floor length floral gown by Firma Polite) and, well, not (slouchy, Dominatrix-tight thigh high Acne boots). And the same approach extends to her her eponymous line, when you think about it: an emphasis on old world craftsmanship and collaboration with local artisans in her Bogotá studio, but translated into entirely futuristic shapes and silhouettes.

The real fun, though, came as Mendoza changed into each look, twirling to demonstrate the volume of a skirt or expertly mixing and matching vintage coats and fur stoles like an old pro, even taking to the streets below for some of her portraits. And as for that checkered red gown? Yeah, you're not the only one thinking "lady in the red dress" emoji right about now.