Born in the United States but raised in Greece by a Greek father and a Mexican-American mother, Anna Paola’s designs capture her cross-cultural upbringing under the sun of the Aegean islands and the coasts of Mexico.
Inspired by her travels as a child – from wrapping herself in exquisite silks in India, visiting Mexican markets with their vibrant colours, and admiring Maasai beaded jewellery – the multicultural buzz of her eponymous brand PAOLITA has developed a loyal following of women looking for something completely unique and a sense of escapism.
Here, Anna shares her love for her home country, Greece, and the magic of the unknown.
What is the first trip you remember taking?
We went on a road trip around Mexico. I don’t even remember where we were going. I just remember my sister and I secretly eating some ice cream on the beach, getting sick to our stomachs and then our parents having to deal with two sick children whilst driving around the country.
What’s been your most memorable trip and why?
It’s India sometime in the mid ’90s, I absolutely loved it! I grew up in Athens and India was so different. It was so varied to anything I had ever seen, eaten or heard and I instantly fell in love with it. The people were wonderful, the food was delicious, the clothing and colours so vibrant. I never wanted to leave.
Where or what is your escape?
I love a good deserted beach in Greece during the summer where you can dive for sea urchins and eat them in the water. That’s my ultimate escape.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve taken from your travels?
Don’t over plan because you miss out on adventure.
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If I could go anywhere tomorrow I’d go to:
Cambodia and Vietnam.
How would you spend your ideal afternoon in your home city?
London has been my home for the last 20 years or so. I absolutely love wandering around one of the many galleries or museums and then finding a place to eat that I’ve never been to.
What’s your idea of a luxury holiday?
Staying somewhere completely unique.
Where do you get your holiday inspiration?
I have a large bucket list of places and experiences I would like to go and do, so I usually sit and brainstorm with my husband or friends and we decide what works at the time we’re thinking of going somewhere.
If you could sit next to anyone – dead or alive – who would it be?
How do you recover from jet lag?
I give it time and try to be regimented with bed times and meals – this seems to be the only thing that works for me.
Your flight’s delayed an hour and your phone’s out of battery. How do you pass the time?
People-watching and eating.
Imaret in Kavala, Greece. It’s absolutely unique; privately owned, magical and luxurious.
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What’s on your travel playlist?
It depends on the type of holiday and who I’m with. It might even be relative to where I’m going, or the time of year.
What are your must-have travel picks?
Supergoop Sunscreen – I am a sunscreen obsessive, on both my face and body. Coconut Oil which I use to style my hair, moisturise my skin and even to remove makeup: it’s a great multi-use product which makes packing quite light. A PAOLITA boilersuit – I usually make one for each season as they are my favourite outfits to wear. The summer versions are in a silk which doesn’t wrinkle and the winter ones are so easy to layer. A swimsuit is always needed whether you’re on a summer or spa holiday, and I never go anywhere without statement sunglasses. Finally, my sketch pad. You never know when inspiration will strike.
Mexico, so my grandmother can meet my son.
ANNA'S PACKING ESSENTIALS
FIRST THING THAT COMES TO YOUR MIND…
Hand luggage essentials?
My computer and moisturiser.
Packing – roll or fold?
Inflight book or film?
Film, Call Me By Your Name.
Music or podcasts?
Music. I love podcasts but I am constantly being interrupted by my baby or work, so I never get the mental space to really enjoy one.
Time filler on a long-haul flight?
I love watching as many films as possible before falling asleep, as well as snacking on various junk foods. I also love watching trailers and making a wish-list of movies to watch, in case I don’t have the time to watch them on the flight.
Holiday tipple of choice?
Bucket list top destination?
Best shopping gem found abroad?
La Ciudadela market in Mexico City.
Beach or city?
Ultimate holiday treat?
Great music and sunshine.