French fashion brand Gaâla, is known for its classic pieces and focus on sustainability. Meshing the owner’s French and Belarusian backgrounds to create items that are timeless and one of a kind, each product is a labour of love that aids their founding principle of being environmentally conscious and practical.
We had the opportunity to speak to their newest named Creative Director: Paola Cossentino. An
Italian lifestyle photographer and content creator, Paola has 195k followers and a desire to merge her two loves: fashion and film. Have a read of our interview below.
S: How did you get your start in content creation and photography?
P: I grew up in beautiful Sicily – a place where time seems to have stopped and where space seems to have a soul of its own. This raw and ancient beauty I was surrounded by started to form my vision of beauty. From a young age I felt the need to capture all this beauty, in the intent of making it eternal. This then led me to start taking photographs. I knew I wanted to work in an industry that shared beauty with people, so I decided to study communication, media and advertising at IULM university in Milan where I’m currently based.
S; You’ve cited auteur cinema as one of your biggest inspirations, how do you incorporate your passion for cinema in your work?
P: As a teenager I really got into auteur cinema and the visual arts. My biggest dream was (and still is) to direct my own movie. For Gaâla’s new pieces we created a cinematic shoot that I hope people can see was inspired by the 60s films from the “nouvelle vague”.
S: Where do you get your style inspiration from?
P: I watch a lot of movies from the 60s. I love the glamour and timelessness of the fashion in these classic films. I also trawl vintage markets to spark style inspiration. My favourite places are Milan, Venice,Sicily and Paris.
S: How do you manage being sustainable as a fashion content creator?
P: In the past I saw sustainability as an “extra” quality, now it is one of the most important questions I ask myself before deciding to collaborate with a brand. I will also only accept gifts if I know that I will wear them for years to come- I don’t want to advocate throw away fashion.
S: What three principles matter the most to you when collaborating with brands?
P: I look for uniqueness, quality, a timeless design and more and more a sustainable approach to the production of a brand. I will also always choose to collaborate with a brand with which I can identify. There must be a personal connection there.
S: You have so many creative outlets like painting, photography, filmmaking etc. What do you want people to gain when they experience your work?
P: I want people to feel, to find themselves or to get lost in a different reality. I want to touch their most intimate memory and the most restless one. I want them to doubt. I want my work to be “the axe in the frozen sea within us”, as Fakfa said.
S: How did the appointment as Creative Director of Gaâla come about?
P: Kelly, the founder of Gaâla, believed in my creativity from the moment she discovered me. After our first collaboration on Instagram, she proposed that I directed their next shoot and that I joined the team as the Creative Director.
S: What creative processes do you undertake when preparing for a shoot or campaign?
P: Ansel Adams perfectly expressed my creative process, “You don’t take a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved”. I have a very holistic approach to creativity, which I think creates more rounded and emotive campaigns.
S: As an Italian woman now working for a French-Belarusian brand, how do you represent all cultures and styles in your work?
P: My vision is imbued with Italian aesthetics and culture, but I was always fascinated by different cultures than my own, especially the French one.
S: What are your favourite pieces from the new collection?
S: How do you think the fashion industry can work towards being more environmentally conscious?
P: Minimizing the waste of energy and fabric.
S: What can we expect from your role as Creative Director as Gaâla?
P: I hope that people can see that I love a sophisticated, and classic style with a twist for future campaigns. I would love for people to be inspired by the endless ways you can style Gaâla’s clothing. I think Gaâla’s offering is so versatile; take the Gaâla Monroe silky dress, for example: for the day-time pair it with the Bénédicte Trench Coat and for the evening mix it up by adding a blazer, a red lip and a pair of vintage gold hoops.