Paola Bay is no stranger to luxury. Her three-year old Zoraide shoe line comprises designs created by Italian master artisans using rich textiles and leathers to create eye-catching, ultra feminine silhouettes that meld old world romance with a modern sensibility (available at thecorner.com beginning this fall). Take her Fall 2011 collection, an ode to "the queens," which features subtly bejeweled lace, silk and python styles befitting royalty. And she does it all without sacrificing comfort--Bay even shod some of the dancers in the 2010 Broadway production of Twyla Tharp's "Come Fly Away."
Before the Milan native started Zoraide, she studied filmmaking in London, which led to years of producing films in the UK. But style and specifically fashion has always been in her blood. "I have been collecting vintage couture since my teens, as I always wanted to look unique and elegant," says Bay, who after her cinematic years, went on to consult for the likes of Miu Miu, Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren and Prada.
She is also a huge fan of furniture design and will be hitting the Salone del Mobile Fair, which kicked off in Milan yesterday.
"It brings many interesting, creative people from all over the world. I also like the fact that the various shows are open to everyone and you can see some amazing designer pieces that are almost art," she enthuses.
In our first installment of Style Notes, Bay gives us a glimpse into her fashionable life.
Daily Uniform: My favorites are dresses, often by Miu Miu and Vionnet, and for the summer, flowery ones, or jeans with fitted shirts. I just bought some amazing ones from Prada that I wear almost daily.
Greatest hits: A must for me are coats and every year I buy four new ones. I have just ordered a new one from Vionnet that is amazing, red with red fox! In term of bags, I love Celine and I always get a new bag every season.
Preferred footwear: I do wear my Zoraide shoes almost every day, but sometimes I also like to wear flat sandals that I buy in Capri and that are handmade there based on my design.
Finishing touches: I have a special ring from 1914 that was the engagement ring of an aunt, who after few years ran away to Paris and ended up working with Chanel. It is a very special piece.
Nighttime look: I like to wear dresses by my designer friends, like Miu Miu and Vionnet ones, with some amazing costume jewelry I have been collecting over the years. I like always to have a unique look and not to wear anything that is too recognizable in terms of designer.
Best recent discovery: Sometimes when my skin is tired in the evening, after my usual Skin Ceuticals cream and Neutrogena antioxidant serum, I put on aloe vera directly from the plant. I have always a real plant in my home. It is amazing what a wonderful beauty product it is.
The Zenobia in pink, from Fall 2011
Favorite stores: There is a book shop called Milano Libri where I can always find the best books on fashion, art and design.
Style pet peeve: Make sure that the skirts are never too short. A mini skirt after 30 isn't chic anymore!
Style icons: Slim Keith.
Last purchase: I just bought two amazing masks from New Guinea (I collect tribal art from South East Asia) that are more than 200 years old. They both have a long, oval shape and are painted with natural colors like yellow and ochre. They were used in special propitiatory ceremonies before any battle.
Lusting after: A new Celine bag.
Favorite haunts: I am often at Bice as they treat me like a princess and I always eat super well.