Whenever I am in Italy, I always like to indulge in television (who doesn’t, I say?).
One of the most interesting programs I like to spend hours watching just has to be “Cerco Casa Disperatamente“, on popular TV channel Discovery Real Time. The basics for the program are simple, you get someone who is looking for a house, say, in Milan’s glamorous centre, and you get the most fabolous TV host to help these poor souls out. In this case, the host is a professional estate agent who looks unbelievably elegant. There is so much about the host in question, Paola Marella, that we just could not resist the temptation of actually asking her about her very own chic.
Your personal taste, do you apply it to both the way you work and the way you dress?
– I use my eye, and it is my habit to apply my style and my taste even to what I do professionally. I graduated in Architecture, but I am not an architect, I am between estate agent and a home stager, and using my taste is sort of essential.
Being both a televisive and a professional figure, how do you choose your look?
– I must tell you that, beside television, I am a person who always loved clothes. I don’t see the two things separately: What I wear in my everyday life is reflected in the program. I mean, when I am on television I probably end up giving it a bit more attention, but absolutely, I am like this in every-day life as well.
I always and only choose things that are of my taste and style them in the same way both on television or in the morning when I wake up. I guess it is a common habit, but I always choose clothes that are rather traditional, I love pencil skirts when it comes to dressing up for the studios or other programs, otherwise I always go for cigarette trousers with a jacket.
BUT, I always spice this utterly traditional look up with some eccentric details:
It is always something different, whether it is a bag, a pair of shoes or maybe even a bijoux. All of this of course, comes back under what I say is my personal style.
In the show I never even have a personal stylist.
What do you mean when you say ‘Traditional’?
– I say traditional because I tend not to follow fashion. I mean I do, obviously, I like to look at it, but not necessarily follow it altogether.
I like to think there is always something personal in what I choose. Example, I am an ankle trousers person. And that goes independently if this season flares or skinny jeans are on trend. I always end up choosing ankle trousers. Of course I always play with colours that are in vogue at the end, but my basics are always the same shirts, cardigans and jackets.
I could say that I am keen on details, I always go for maybe say a particular lining or maybe a particular décolleté, but my basics are always the same. I take my personal fun in personalise and styling them according to my eye.
Milanese style, how would you describe it?
– Milanese style to me is very strict; I’d say sciuretta (Italian for ‘similar to a nun’). It is very poised. You will see these little tailleurs paired with these little shoes and little bags. At the end I’d say it is just very poised. Yes, very sciuretta.
And do you like it?
– Mmhh, obviously I’d say I dress differently; I dress the way I like to. As classical as I would get, I would most probably dress differently from the Milanese style.
And again, I dress with basics. Blue trousers or black trousers or beige trousers, I have loads of them. But I adjust the shapes and details, making sure it look different every time. The fabric, the lining and the details have a great meaning to me.
You said you like fashion. What do you ultimately look at?
– I do follow fashion magazines, but I have more of a thing for interior design publications. Otherwise I always like to flick through fashion magazines.
Favourite brands for pencil dresses, obviously, Dolce & Gabbana. Mostly because they have an extremely feminine vestibility. I like to pair them with Celine, Prada or Jil Sander and more linear, minimal items
You mentioned Dolce & Gabbana, even if it often stands at the opposite end of the stick when it comes to the classic linear style that you mentioned earlier?
– That’s not true! If one looks at the shows maybe yes, but when you look at what they have on the shop floor, you’ll find classic basics. Maybe in lace, yes, but it is always very beautiful and refined.
I find that, according to my style, that Dolce & Gabbana have a fantastic sense of femininity with their patterns. I love Dolce!
Italian style, how do you see it?
– Colours, obviously. Italy is a Mediterranean country and I think we have so many different ways to represent us as country, with all the amazing designers that hail from here. Starting with the formal excellence of Armani.
We have an incredible array of designers that are there to represent us; We Italians have been on top of fashion from the 80’s for a reason. Or at least we rank quite highly when it comes to fashion.
What represents us is colour though, even if it has been clearly shown that Italians can also do a splendid job at minimalism, at drying up the shapes a little.
For your program, do you have some conscious style decisions when you travel around in ‘Cerco Casa Disperatamente’?
– With Cerco Casa, when it used to be filmed in Italy, I always ended up wearing little dresses and flip flops, as most of times we were by the sea, so I often opted for a maybe what I call a more casual style.
Needless to say that for rainy days like today in Milan and when I’m not shooting I will undoubtedly go for wellies. BUT, it is always some particular kind of wellies, I care slightly too much for my imagine to show up with some random rubber boots at meetings and so on. I just have so much fun with style! Nowadays one can carry on a personal style and indulge in doing so even without spending millions.
One of the last editions of Cerco Casa was set in Paris, how did you feel about Parisian style?
-I love Paris; it has such a different way of doing elegance from ours.
They just have a completely way of doing things. Say, girls in Paris have a different way of working the same skinny jeans or oversized cardigans. I can say for a fact that Italian girls are always a tiny bit more excessive, in comparison to maybe the overall cleaner looks of Parisians, but I can’t say what it is really.
One last question: Your hair. Your hair is magnificent, how did you do it?
– In 1999 my hair became completely white, and my hairstylist, Alberto Di Coppola in Milan had this idea of leaving the white streaks in the front and dye my natural colour at the back, to lighten up my do. I also have the luck to have loads! I think it’s fun!
For more info, please visit www.paolamarella.it
By Matteo Sarti
Originally published on Lujon Issue 1