For all of you who may not know who Paolo Gambatto is, well… he is of course the creative mind behind Philippe Model, the super stylish trainer brand you need to know! (If you don’t already). Paolo is such a nice person that he has let me interview him, even though he is a big deal, and is more fitted for the cover of Vogue, or People, or something of the sort!!! Anyway, you’ll see how cool this man is and what he has created so far, so let’s get started!
Alma: Good day Paolo! I have to say I adore your designs but to be completely honest I know very little of the brand’s history, would you tell me a bit more?
Paolo: Philippe Model started in 1984 among the artistic ferment of the streets of Paris. His haute couture hats were blasts of avant-garde energy in the France of the Eighties, and his elastic shoe, a surge of innovative ardour, was an original and experimental creation that earned him a place in history as Monsieur Elastique. In 2008 my encounter with the French designer created unexpected synergies and drew me onto a new stylistic course, in the role of artistic and creative director of the Maison. Since then, the classic tradition has been enhanced by Italian craftsmanship in the famous daytime footwear. This new sneaker elevates the traditional concept of a gym shoe by using high-end materials that were previously reserved for exclusive products or special occasions.
A: Incredible really! You describe the situation so well I can almost feel the energy of the Maison, the vibe of it all, and what’s behind the designs!
How about letting me and my readers know a bit more about you as a designer?
P: I was born in a small town near Venice. My career started in the Eighties by working alongside local artisans and rapidly became a freelance designer for a number of prestige Italian houses like Buttero, Romeo Gigli and Iceberg. With no family background in the trade, it was my hometown, with its skilled artisans, that shaped my professional development and enabled me in my teens to learn some of the oldest shoemaking techniques. I never decided to become a designer of footwear. It just happened, automatically, after years of knowing the territory.
A: Again I must say this is fabulous, but if I may say so I think that’s how good things come in life… unexpectedly… and in the end we find ourselves where we were really meant to be. It is all part of a greater design maybe? (Pun intended).
A: Ok, if you let me I am going to go into this year’s collection… How about that fur!!! I am crazy in love with those. How did you think about creating that kind of fancy shoe?
P: Furry shoes are fashionable and funny. They bring together unexpected shapes and high quality materials like lapin and real leather. It’s a new formula for urban elegance that delights the eye and the sense of touch with a soft and delicate color palette.
A: Well I need those in my closet for sure! And metallics are a big part of the women’s collection as well. Is this to give it a futuristic touch, or why did you think gold, silver and other types of metallic shades were a good idea?
P: The metallic richness of gold and silver symbolize a forceful and emotive aesthetic in contraposition to classic and delicate nuances that reflect a more intimate dimension of normality. It’s always a balancing act between authentic and layered content, poor art and artificial idioms.
A: I am going to be a bit generic now, what usually inspires you?
P: Inspiration may lie concealed anywhere. I try to interpret every detail with extreme sensibility and respect. I’m inspired by abstract scenarios, urban architectures, people I meet in my travels but also by the purest form of materials. I love vintage markets and creative things connected with Japanese culture and style.
A: You are truly creative. I don’t think it is easy to be inspired by everyday life!
Well moving on… Must say when it comes to men, the collection seems a bit more traditional, still with a contemporary vibe, but not as daring as the womens’. Do you think men are less adventurous when it comes to footwear?
P: I agree. Men usually need more time accepting and interpreting innovation.
A: Except you of course!!! What do you usually wear? Do you go for your own desings every day?
P: I always wear a pair of Lakers sneakers in white edition: a must-have in Philippe Model’s collection. I like that vintage attitude.
A: You are allowed to like other brands right? What other footwear could we find in your wardrobe?
P: I got iconic shoes like Gucci loafer and Trickers lace-up shoes.
A: Classy! What about clothing?
P: My wardrobe is a blend of classic pieces and underground clothing. I love playing with them, mixing and matching to create unexpected outfits.
A: Let’s get a bit personal, shall we? We would love to know more about Paolo the person… – You are Italian so I am going for the obvious… Favourite spot to eat in your city?
P: Sushi Su, a Japanese restaurant in Padua. Not so common for Italians, right?
A: Wow! Definiitely not expecting that answer… hahaha, and no not so common but hey you enjoy food so it is far more than ok to love a bit of everything!
What would you recommend about your hometown?
P: Visit Isola della Giudecca to discover the real venetian atmosphere. Time seems to stand still.
A: What does a creative mind like you have for breakfast? How do you start your day with full energy?
P: Energetic juice of fruits and vegetables and coffee.
A: I need my coffee as well, though I am trying to go for tea lately.
What other art form do you enjoy? Cinema, photography, music…
P: Cinema, especially drama movies.
A: Well we share that in common!
Would you tell us about your favourite book, film… maybe what´s playing on your ipod this week?
P: One of my favorite movie is In the Name of the Father.
A: An oldie but a goodie… those are the best!
Of all the trainers I bet you own, which one is your favourite pair and why?
P: One of my key-pieces is Lakers sneaker, a Seventies-inspired basketball shoe. But my latest choice is Bright sneaker, the new Philippe Model’s running shoe from Fall Winter 2016/17 Collection. Made from classic or vibrant colors, its pure and strong aesthetic highlights the craftsmanship of the fully handmade midsoles and the combination of increasingly complex and innovative materials.
Thank you so very much Paolo, this has been a real honor and pleasure! We hope those great trainers keep coming, and I hope you keep enjoying this adventurous and fantastic life of yours! All the best and again grazie tante!