To say Pelayo Diaz aka princepelayo to his Instagram and Twitter followers is the reigning champ of the fashion blog-shere would be an understatement. His website katelovesme founded in 2007 is a hub of fashion information while his Instagram page which boats ver 117,000 followers is a photo gallery of fashion objects and documents his glamorous life and travels.
I first stumbled across this trendsetter 2 years ago and since then my love of his personal style and ability to capture a moment in a single picture has captivated and inspired me The following interview was done November 2013 and for some unforeseen issue was not posted by the magazine blog I contribute to.
I am extremely proud and happy to have interviewed this fashion maven and I hope to work with him again in the future. This interview captures the spirit, charm and love hat Pelayo has for fashion and life.
Without further a due an interview with Pelayo Diaz!
- Introduce yourself to our readers using a line from your favorite book.
I don’t have my favourite book here with me so I will use a line from my second favourite book:
“Everything that was new Roy got excited by it.” -
How did you get your start in fashion?
I think there is not one moment that I can recall thinking – ‘Oh, I’m starting in fashion now’ – I just one day realized what I liked reading, drawing and looking at was fashion. I remember drawing my mum in my favourite look on her. I also remember asking my sister to play again the VHS of Cindy Crawford doing exercise by the beach. Until one day my parents asked me –‘What do you want to study, what would you like to do?’ and I said – ‘I want to study fashion design at Central Saint Martins or I won’t do anything to do with fashion’. On my first day at college I remember thinking – ‘If I’m here I’m going to make it, get ready world!’
- Studying at a notable fashion school like Central Saint Martins whose alumni includes the late Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Christopher Kane and Riccardo Tisci would put one under extreme pressure. What was it like being there? What was the environment like?
Just the mere fact of being admitted there was a compliment. Going up the very same stairs as those designers you just mentioned was already a success, a sign of belonging to that world. Hearing my teachers talk about those people whose work I admire so much was a luxury. However people were too conscious about what they looked like and not so creative, I had to look for an extra-creativity environment outside the school so I became one of Giles Deacon’s assistants. Being there I learnt loads. The team was brilliant and I just wanted fashion week to arrive for that extra pressure at the studio, and the show from backstage was just a whole new thing. I realized once I made it to Saint Martins I just wanted it to finish, but not in a bad way. I just wanted to start working on my own things. The day of our graduate show I cried.
- What was one lesson you took away from studying at Central Saint Martins?
Be the most authentic person you can be.
- Your handbag collection with David Delfin has proven to be a success. What was the reasoning behind doing a handbag collection?
Well, to be honest it’s something that happened all of a sudden. I didn’t plan to become an accessories designer but I guess the key to success is, in a way, doing what you love, and I fucking love handbags. Call me a ‘fag’, call me whatever you want, I just think they are beautiful objects. I have them all around my place – in shelves, tables, on top of chairs (never on the floor, money will run away!). I will always be thankful to David because he was one of the first people to see a talent in me and allowed me to execute it and show the world.
- Explain the work dynamic like between yourself and your partner David Delfin?
Unexplainable. Work wise – we just complement each other perfectly because there is a great balance between his vision and mine. He designs for the sober, clean, buttoned-up girl and I like more the cleavage, sexy party girl.
- Your handbags are very multi purposed with the multiple straps and handles. Where do you source your inspiration for your designs?
The latest for the AW13 are, yes. It depends on what David wants to do pret-a-porter wise. I’m always listening to his inspirations, and his latest obsessions so I guess some of that remains and reflects on my designs. This time was surrealism, so the bag appeared to be upside-down no matter how you hold it.
- Talk us through the process of creating one of your designs from sketch to final product. How hands on are you in each process?
I’m very hands on in every single step of the process (but stitching leather together though). I do loads of drawings, I show them to David and we decide which ones will get made for the show. I travel to Valencia, where they get handmade and speak, all day with the artisans. After the show I sit again with David and make little practical changes of the prototypes to have them produced and ready to be sold.
- How many handbags do you have within your personal collection and why?
I have a lot now, I’m just getting my head around that fact, let me count them… 19, I have 19 approximately, and I say approximately because I always lend some to friends and I never have all of them with me.
I remember I always like the classic Chanel bag so I would paint it on t-shirts and polo shirts like it was crossed on the shoulder, then I became obsessed with the Balenciaga classic city one after seeing it on Mary Kate Olsen, Nicole Richie and Kate Moss circa 2006 and then one day, after a long day at university, I popped into Liberty to browse around and try on clothes I couldn’t afford. I saw a Givenchy bag that a guy could totally get away with (OK, not just any guy, but maybe me), and looking at the price didn’t hurt, so I bought it being aware of the fact I wouldn’t be having any fancy food for a while.
That was the beginning. I now have a large collection of very, very feminine bags but I think it all changes when you give your own twist to carrying a bag. It can definitely make a man manlier than another one that is not carrying a bag, you just need balls.
- When getting dressed do you choose your outfit first and the handbag as an added accessory or do you build your outfit around the handbag first?
Many times I choose the bag I want to wear first. That or the shoes.
- On your blog katelovesme you are always photographed toting a handbag. What is your favourite bag in your collection?
That’s like choosing your favourite child! Mmmm… The polychromie clutch, the first I designed for Davidelfin. And I’m not choosing it because I want to promote Davidelfin but because when you make something with love, it hits the catwalk, it hits the stores, it sold out and the you see it on people (not just women) on the street, that’s just very, very satisfactory.
- Amongst your bag collection you have a Chanel SS13 Boy Brick clutch. What is your opinion on men carrying women’s bags?
I don’t own that bag, I borrowed it. I wouldn’t spend 7,000 Euros on plastic even if I had the money! But I thought it was a great design and I wanted to feature it on katelovesme. I do love Chanel and it’s history. Regarding your question I don’t think it’s fair to call it women’s bags, I think bags are not just for women, bags are for whomever pays for it.
- When you buy a handbag what do you look for?
A piece of iconography.
- What bag from the latest fashion shows are you coveting for your collection?
I’m not obsessed with seasons, I rather buy a bag that remains on the shelves over the years maybe just changing colour or texture. I know it’s a classic (maybe even passé) but I always wanted a Birkin bag, 40cm Epson leather to be precise.
- In your opinion what makes the perfect bag? From shape to colour, style and size.
For me a bag is perfect when I can fit my camera in it, but then I also love clutches that look more like a piece of useless art than something that actually has a purpose which is carrying your shit around. So I guess the answer is I don’t mind as long as it’s beautiful.
- If we were to go through your bag what things would we find inside?
Wallet, keys, phone(s), phone charger, lip balm, Canon camera, sunglasses and a Cartier pen
- Are you currently working on the SS14 handbag collection and what is the inspiration behind it?
I don’t want to say too much but for next season I’m inspired by the work of a talented illustrator whose work for Eames captured my attention.
- You recently received some negative feedback on your Instagram page because you wore an outfit, which featured tube socks with Adidas flip-flops. How do you deal with negative feedback? Does it affect the way you dress?
I think what is important here is to get feedback. To make people react to what someone does. To be honest, I think some people but not everybody, just see the shallow context of the image or what they don’t like about it but that’s not just with my Instagram picture. I think they do that with life in general. I always try to see what I like in everything. I don’t have time for misery or drama. There is beauty everywhere, even in ugliness.
- You garner a lot of attention from the pictures you post on katelovesme and your Instagram account. Do you feel a lot of pressure to post something interesting to better your last post?
No. No pressure.
- Digital and social media has opened up a lot of doors for designers and bloggers. What are your feelings towards digital and social media? How does it help you in your process as a designer?
Digital is definitely a great tool if you know how to use it or if you have someone working for you that does. It is also very dangerous if you don’t know where the limit, what’s real and what’s not. Not sure if I’m making any sense so I’m going to answer your question. It helps me promote my creations and make people that know me through the social media channels desire it and hopefully purchase it or at least, desire it.
- Aside from handbags do you see yourself doing a complete ready to wear collection in the future? Who would be your fashion designer inspiration and what would the aesthetic be?
I’m really happy that my graduate collection made such a big impact on the Internet. I even got emails from people interested in purchasing it. Even a couple of months ago, a stylist from Paris asked me to go on and please do another collection. It just takes so much time, so much effort and I already have quite a lot of work on.
- Finish the sentence – Without fashion I…
I will survive.
WORDS: STEPHEN GEORGE