We disrupt the GUESTCURATOR series to add on an inspiring chapter to our regular talks with creative personalities. The following interview kickstarts a new chain of interviews that will give you a look inside untapped territory. Think closets, homes, archives and everywhere in between - all portraying the EYEWEAR COLLECTOR, featuring people that we met through the shop and that inspired us with their multifaceted lifestyle choices, men and women shaping today’s cultural conversation.
This being said, we present to you our first EYEWEAR COLLECTOR: Constantina C., a charismatic presence, a style chameleon with a decisive and yet emotional approach to fashion. We had the pleasure to visit her at home in Bucharest and to browse through her HUGE eyewear collection. Her lovely daughter accompanied us while Constantina took us down memory lane, visiting her childhood days and the moments that shaped her, how life is between two cities and what are her fashion obsessions.
When you were growing up, what was your dream job?
Lawyer. All the time lawyer.
I think for a while when I was like 5 I wanted to be a military plane pilot or a neurosurgeon. I knew what these jobs involved. But after the age of 6 I knew that I wanted to be a lawyer even though I followed intensive maths and science sections in school and I was really good at these.
I always followed what I liked. I had to be busy all the time as I saw my parents with different interests. My father was passionate about sciences and maths, physics and history. While my mother really enjoyed arts and music, fashion, reading, poetry, and other of sorts which I enjoyed.
I painted and took painting classes until the age of 16. I did all kinds of sports, from swimming to running on the hills of my hometown.
I spent a lot of time doing homework in the tailor shop on the corner of my street - there was my grandfather’s tailor. I often visited a friend of my mom’s and my grandmother’s who was an old single lady judge coming from an aristocratic family. She had a lot of old books and I loved the colors of their covers - from deep green to bloody red - and the smell of paper.
My mother was always scheduling activities for me or for us to do together and I don’t remember how days passed. I still don’t understand how she managed to navigate everything alone, to be around me so much and with such tenderness.
On the other hand, when I was spending holidays with my father everything was about numbers, geometry, physics, history and… comic books. His reading style was very special and he made us both laugh so hard that I do not recall us being able to go through more than two full pages.
If you weren’t an attorney, what would you be excited to do?
Art would be the correct answer, as I think more often to start studying art history and interior design - to really study and not only self studies.
And I confess that I still spend time going back to my old math and physics books. I like keeping my mind awake with this. You still do not see me using a computer or calculator in order to do my calculation. Even in my daily basis work in the office when I have a case involving numbers I do all the math not the accountants. I enjoy it so much. It is like fresh air.
You now live with your family between Bucharest and Istanbul. How does the fashion scene in the Turkish city inspire you?
I am inspired by the kindness of each morning when I see the Bosphorus and its colors even on the darkest days. The green is always green and shiny here. The blue is magnificent and you find all the shades of it.
To be honest, I was never inspired by the fashion scene and I never followed its rules. When it comes to style, I followed my own feelings related to what I learned from my mom, from my grandmother. My grandmother tailored clothes for my mum and she was an art teacher. She died when I was 8 month old, but my mom says all the time that me and my way of seeing fashion are hers.
I am inspired by what is around me. And I express it all in my fashion. These are my world and my fashion choices, what comes with my background and experience.
I do not possess a style, I have my own style, for me and not for others.
We had the pleasure to meet your partner in crime: your daughter. What is your view on her aesthetic education?
I try to teach her to decide for herself, but not without knowledge, to study and to feel.
I think she is very determined and she already likes the freedom of choosing her own clothes. Can I say this about a 16 month old baby!? Nobody kill me please. She does not like long sleeves and zippers zipped to the neck… but she likes her hats…. and she started to discover sunglasses.
I leave all these options to her and the choice is hers. I do not know and I do not want to know what is the reasoning in that small head of hers. I just enjoy her choices.
How would you describe your style in three words?
A mess. My own mess. My own style.
WHAT ARE YOUR STYLE STAPLES?
I do not fit in any style frame, because in the second moment I will jump to another one.
I am 42 and I am sure that I will be blamed for some Mickey Mouse or Minnie socks, but well I love them and I love my glasses with the same inspo. I would wear them in a complete mess, with a pair of two different boots from Balenciaga, a padded blouse from the same house and some Zinko pink short pants.
At the same time you will see me wearing a Peter Do design or Haider Ackerman tailoring with a hat from Gabriela Dumitrascu, a pair of KUBORAUM or Jacques Marie Mage glasses.
Or you could see me in full Thom Browne or YSL with some high sky Alexander McQueen metal sole boots from his latest collections.
I surround myself with Margiela, Rick Owens or Ann Demeulemeester and of course some DITA or Margiela sunglasses.
Loewe (JW Anderson), Schiaparelli, Balmain collection, Lemaire, Toteme, Tomboy, Vaquera, Coperni, Comme de Garcon, Celine, Jil Sander and many, many unknown designers as well as my dear suave Magda Butrym can be found in my wardrobe.
Later but not the last I love one of our Romanian Designers, Alexandru Floarea. And my grandmother‘s tailoring and the coats that she made for my mom more than 50 years ago. They are so precious.
WHAT ARE YOUR FASHION OBSESSIONS AT THE MOMENT
My obsessions are all around me as you can see in the Q/A above, but Alexander McQueen is my all time favorite: his dresses or his shoes, clutches or his coats still have the best place in my wardrobe.
He will always have a place in my survivor bag. Do not ask what would I do in a cataclysm with a gold Python jacket, a pair of shoes, a clutch from Alexander McQueen and 5 pairs of sunglasses but at least to die like this - do not laugh. Nobody knows the capacity of these things and endurance. Never try a knuckle from a McQueen clutch or the force of a metal shoe… they are really weapons.
Even if I will be blamed, I will say that I love Off-White when it comes to suit coat tailoring.
And yes I am going a lot towards menswear. I buy jeans from them all the time. I would love a coat from Louis Vuitton or Dior man collections. I do not consider fashion so straightforward – this is for this gender, this for the other.
And sunglasses and old jewellery and head accessories – well they have to be there.
Did developing your very individual personal style happen organically or was it studied and you were more conscious of certain decisions you made, trends that inspired you?
Being a child during the ‘80s, during Comunist years in Romania, I saw my mother capable of wearing 3 dresses or 5 skirts layered at the same time. She dressed in colorful outfits with different shapes and materials, she accessorized with lots of jewellery (what could’ve been saved, as family heirlooms had to be hidden) and she looked wonderful, classy and flamboyant at the same time.
Seeing this, I was thinking that I will never be able to feel as comfortable as she looked. I was convinced that I would only be able to wear one ring at a time or just an Armani suit (seen in a magazine) - sharp and well done.
Now I feel comfortable and precious wearing 10 pieces of jewellery at the same time and sparkly as hell as I feel without none.
To wear a suit, to feel natural in it and to look magnificent in a simple way is an art as much as it is an art to put everything on you and still look classy.
I grew up with an example that was not in line with myself from back then and I organically evolved thanks to the beautiful and natural savvy woman who is my mom.
And if you ask me Ileana Mavi (my daughter) has a lot out of my mom. Scary on the other side, but I see this.
DO YOU HAVE A FASHION MUSE?
Simple: my mom, and my grandma, which I feel more often as I grow older even though I really never met my grandmother.
WHAT IS THE MOST TREASURED PIECE IN YOUR WARDROBE FOR SENTIMENTAL REASONS?
Everything has a special meaning. And you noticed. I know each piece. Because I love it and they have a fiber correspondent in me. I do not buy things because this is the trend or because I saw it on X or Y. And even if I saw it on X or Y, I only buy it because it feels like “ME”.
YOUR TOP THREE WARDROBE ESSENTIALS ARE…
I have a very deep love for Alexander McQueen and it will never die.
Why do you make me choose?! I cannot choose:
My Gold Python jacket from Alexander McQueen.
A pair of metal and leather boots from Alexander McQueen.
A long beaded dress and a beaded aviator jacket from Dries Van Noten.
And my pillow bag collection from Maison Martin Margiela.
WHAT PLACE DO SUNGLASSES HAVE IN YOUR PERSONAL WARDROBE? DO THEY START OR COMPLETE AN OUTFIT?
Guess what, none of those above. Sunglasses and glasses are part of me. I do not think in terms of start or complete. All the time I have like 5 pairs around me, in the car, in my bag, etc.
Do not laugh: they are a biological part of my body.
Again do not laugh: because of the changing color of my eyes I have a problem with light and I cannot stay in the sun without sunglasses (and I love sun) or outside during those days with shiny clouds. So basically sunglasses are always nearby. And I always pick a pair without looking. I never make mistakes with my sunglasses. They are there for X or Y outfits, but I do not make a conscious choice. I will never make it.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE EYEWEAR BRANDS?
Your eyewear collection is impressive. How many pieces do you have and what is your criteria for choosing them?
You know what my process is from when I come into your shop to pick a new pair. There is no logic and there has never been a logic. It is about shape, feeling, connection.
I do not know the number of eyewear pieces I own. Half of them are with the other part of my wardrobe in Istanbul. In a way it is painful to have two houses. All the time I want something from the other side.
On an ending note, do you collect anything else except eyewear pieces?
I will not say… it is quite obvious (haahaaa!). And somewhere above is a hint. And not clothes and shoes or bags. This is clear already. We leave it for another episode or to be a secret or not quite.
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