PHOTO: COURTESY OF PAULA MENDOZA

Paula Mendoza
Jewelry Designer

Paula Mendoza knows a thing or two about making a statement, especially when it comes to jewelry. Influenced by her Colombian roots, particularly El Dorado and the rich Colombian gold, Paula Mendoza has mastered the form of transforming an outfit through bold baubles.  From the mesmerizing moments in Beyonce’s XO video, to spellbinding statements all over fashion editors’ Instagrams – Paula Mendoza’s sculptural statements are a true work of art.

  • VacationStyle: How did you get started in designing jewelry?

    Paula Mendoza: I originally studied journalism and worked as a journalist for a few years in Bogota. I made jewelry on the side for family and friends as a creative outlet but just silly fun stuff – nothing serious. Soon however I was up all night making jewelry and I realized there was an opportunity for business in pursuing my passion. I have been making jewelry for over 12 years now, it has been incredibly difficult at times but I haven’t given up yet! I love jewelry because it has the ability to transform an outfit with just one piece. It's the best way to wear the same dress a hundred different ways! I purposefully make my jewelry light and comfortable to wear because I want women to be able to travel with it and always have it with them. For me, jewelry is a wearable piece of sculpture.

  • VS: What brands best compliment your jewelry?

    PM: Brands that I think work well with my jewelry (but also that I love to wear myself!) are Celine, Comme des Garcons, Ellery, Rosie Assoulin. There are also some amazing new designers coming out of Colombia at the moment including Jorge Duque, Pepa Pombo and Polite that I love to support.

  • VS: How has your jewelry changed each season?

    PM: Every season I change and grow as a person and so does my jewelry! Also some pieces I want to wear myself but haven’t found in the market so that inspires me to create something new.

    My favorite pieces from my FW’15 collection are the ‘Four Way Earrings’ (as the name implies, they can be worn 4 different ways so I never get bored of them!) ‘The Backbone Necklace’ a statement necklace that is light and full of movement. ‘Three Musketeer Earrings’ – a family of three different sized earrings to be mix and matched however the wearer wants. 

  • VS: Tell us about Colombia and why it is such a special place? 

    PM: Colombia is a very special place firstly because of the people, who make you feel at home as soon as you arrive! Secondly, Colombia offers you everything in one place - hot weather, cold weather, desert, jungle, city and beach.

    In Bogota - stay at Casa Medina, eat at El Bandido, must go to Museo de Fernando Botero, Museo de Loro and Monserrate

    In Cartegena - eat at La Vitrola and go to Baru Island

    In Santa Marta - eat at the the Piers and go  to Tayrona National Park 

    In Palomino (where the ocean meets the river and it's seriously breathtaking) -  go kayaking! I reccommend eating at El Matuy.  

    (Typical Colombian dishes -  Ajiaco, Bandeja Paisa, Empanadas) 

  • VS: What is something that someone visiting for the first time cannot leave without doing?

    PM: Go to Andres Carne de Res in Bogota. The best place to drink/eat – you’ll have a lot of new best friends after you leave there and have a true sense of a Colombian party!

  • VS: Where have you been recently that provided you with great inspiration?

    PM: Brazil and Berlin!  Brazil is such a colorful country in every sense. It makes you want to create magnificent things especially when you see all their beautiful stones and gems! Berlin has such an interesting city design, architecture, and respect of history.

  • VS: What are some of your favorite places you have traveled to and favorite hotels?

    PM: Favorite places:  Tokyo - the perfect combination of cosmopolitan and a place that respects spirituality;  Cambodia - the temples amazed me like no others I’ve seen and also the delicious, fresh food; Morocco- so ornate, full of patterns and hedonism in sense. Also inspired many of the big earrings for my next collection.

    Favorite Hotels: La Mamounia in Marrakesh;  Hotel Tchaikana also in Marrakesh; Coqui Coqui, in Tulum, Mexico 

PHOTO: LA MAMOUNIA MARRAKECH
  • VS: What places are on your bucket list? 

    PM: I would love to go toThe Norden Camp in Tibet

  • VS: Any travel rituals? 

    PM: I always seek out the local flea market wherever I travel. As a souvenir I buy a hat from every place I go; I have quite a large and varied collection now!

  • VS: What items can you not travel without? 

    PM: My own jewelry, my Bose headphones, and my hair dryer

  • VS: What some of your favorite designers to wear on vacation?

    PM: Lisa Marie Fernandez in hot weather and Corbin, a really cool fur designer in Paris for cold weather. I also love finding local designers when I travel.

  • VS: What’s your style when on vacation? 

    PM: I like to be comfortable but also a little dressed up ready for night as you never know!

  • VS: If you could go on a trip with anyone who would it be and where would you go?

    PM: It would be with Juan Guillermo Escobar, a dear and talented photographer friend of mine who I would go Cuba with.

  • VS: If you could raid anyone jewelry chest who’s would it be?

    PM: Marcella Echavarria who is a very good friend of mine

  • VS: What is in the future for your brand?

    PM: The future is going to be expansion into more countries, especially Brazil after a recent trip there.

  • While on vacation…

    One-piece or Two?  Two

    Detox or Retox?  Retox  - Margarita

    Underpack or Overpack? Overpack

    Flats or Heels? Flats

    Favorite sunscreen? Clarins

    Hair up or Down? Down

    Makeup or No-makeup? No make up

    Warm-weather or Cold-weather? Warm of course! I’m from South America!