As the Barcelona brand makes its fashion week debut, we chat to Paloma Lanna, the face behind the fashion set’s go-to.
“I dressed up like I was going to work every day!” Lanna jokes. “To be honest, I only really wear things from Paloma Wool because we design things we like and want to wear all the time.”
It’s perhaps unsurprising that Lanna would rely on the viral wares she has masterminded. After all, in the pantheon of burgeoning designers, Paloma Wool is the name on the tip of the fashion set’s tongue.
Founded in 2014 by life-long friends, business graduate Lanna and graphic artist Tana Latorre, you’d be forgiven for assuming that Paloma Wool is just another new-gen brand specialising in psychedelic Instagram catnip. But you’d be sorely mistaken, for Lanna and Latorre are clear that Paloma Wool is a fashion project - absolutely not to be mistaken for a brand - one which promotes local and small-scale production and educates its half a million-strong following on Instagram about making more conscious choices.
And now, it’s making its Barcelona Fashion Week debut with a genderless collection modelled by both women and men for the first time to prove that Paloma Wool can be worn by anybody, anywhere.
“These pieces were designed during lockdown last year in Barcelona, from March to June,” Lanna explains over the phone from her home in the Spanish city. “My team and I grew up in the 90s, and looking back and creating from that time brought us together.”
Indeed, the result is a collection peppered with nostalgic references; all platform sandals, tattoo prints reminiscent of the era’s stick-on tattoos and figure-hugging co-ordinating looks. While Paloma Wool has presented genderless collections since its inception, for Lanna, it was important to incorporate “different pieces on different bodies to show they are created for whoever wants to wear them.”
It would be an understatement to claim that Paloma Wool has taken off in a year during which many of us have hardly moved from the same pair of swaddling sweats in which we entered lockdown 1.0 last March, but the last year has been one of its most formative. With endorsements from Kendall Jenner, Kaia Gerber, Bella Hadid and Dakota Johnson, as well as a clutch of Spanish art supremos, Paloma Wool has cemented its status in the industry.
What inspires Lanna when designing clothes that, upon launch, struggle to stay in stock? “Honestly, I just love how the act of getting dressed is universal but personal, and I enjoy exploring how colours or the combination of them make me feel,” she muses. “I love pushing the boundaries, and I find experimenting with colour really liberating.”
It was inevitable that Lanna would stake her claim in the fashion industry, given that it runs through her veins. In the 80s, her parents founded a Barcelona-based brand named Globe which had almost immediate success. “I grew up while my parents were building their own fashion brand,” Lanna says. “I learned so much from them! My mother has a real knack for choosing and combining colours which I have always admired.”
The best part of being a designer for the Barcelona-native is “being able to develop what I want to wear and bringing to life what’s in my imagination.” But, given her propensity for rainbow hues, how has she coped during a year decidedly short on colour? “We approached the past year as a creative challenge,” she says. “We’ve really just tried to think of new ways to adapt, while still caring for our community at the same time.”
In an industry which has recently signaled the beginning of the end of the great British high street, Paloma Wool is pioneering a new way; a fresher way of making, designing and selling fashion. The silver lining of the intermittent stop-and-start lockdowns that Lanna and her team have endured is ironically the lessons that have emerged as a result of them.
“We’ve learned so much over the past year, and I’m so looking forward to sharing it all with our community,” she concedes, “Watch this space!”
Images: courtesy of Paloma Wool