It’s safe to say everyone has seen House of Gucci at this point. All about the explosive relationship between Patrizia Reggiani and her ex-husband Maurizio Gucci – who she hired a hitman to kill – the story is every bit as dark as you’d imagine. That aside though, it’s the fashion most people have really honed in on, and as it turns out, there’s even an Irish connection – Dublin designer Paula Rowan is the woman behind the movie’s fabulous gloves and she’s made a fan out of Lady Gaga, who has been wearing her gloves once again on the Chromatica Ball world tour.
“Lady Gaga is a style innovator who embodies my own design beliefs: adventure, playfulness, sensuality and classic re-invention,” Paula Rowan wrote on Instagram. “I’m so thrilled that she has chosen my gloves for her iconic Chromatica Ball world tour. I had to pinch myself a few times last night as I saw the images appearing!”
Paula first revealed that she had been approached to work with the House of Gucci costume designer over on Instagram too. “I’m absolutely thrilled to finally be able to say that my gloves have been used throughout the movie starring Lady Gaga,” she wrote. “I was so honoured when I was asked to do this… Thank you to all involved, I’m absolutely thrilled.”
Who is she and what is she about?
Born and based in Dublin, Paula opened her first boutique in Westbury Mall back in 2006 – with her debut collection launching two short years later in 2008. Dipping her toes in the family luxury goods business after studying history and classics at UCD, she ended up taking things over completely and was soon channeling her creativity specifically into gloves. You might question why, and the answer is simple; it was hard to get a continuous supply of stock from any one designer/retailer. So, Paula took it upon herself to create her own. You know what they say, if you want something done well…
Intent on sourcing only the finest materials from genuine Italian producers and artisans, Paula is picky about who she works with but her commitment to getting things right is evident in everything she and her team produce. “I work with people who know how leather feels, it’s in their blood,” she says on her website.
Combining the best of Irish design with Italian craftsmanship, all Paula Rowan gloves are handmade in Italy. The leather – which is ethically sourced in Ethiopia – is dyed, treated, and stitched in Italy by some of the world’s top producers of leather gloves, and all in the same ateliers that many of the world’s best-known luxury brands have been produced in. Makers rely on traditional techniques that have been honed over generations and yes, it can be a painstaking process. “We examine every stitch,” Paula confirms.
That must take a lot of time? Well, yes, which is why each pair of gloves takes three months to produce. Already having featured in many a magazine spread and fashion shoot, Paula’s catalogue of work includes photos in the likes of Vogue, The Wall Street Journal, Tatler UK, W Magazine, and High Snobiety amongst others. A master of her craft, it’s safe to say that her reputation precedes her… all the way to Hollywood, for that matter.
Approached by the House of Gucci’s costume team, they came to her with a clear vision of what they wanted; one Paula very much delivered on. Designing with a range of different aspects in mind – glamour, style, durability, comfort – she relies on different leathers and materials (deerskin, cashmere, sheepskin, etc.) to help her bring the image she sees in her head to life. “I kind of felt that there was no one doing anything very interesting with gloves,” she admitted. “We use our hands for everything. We feed ourselves, we communicate – when you look at how people talk, it primarily is actually with their hands. I felt that we do so much with them that they should be adorned, and as I say, I felt nobody was doing anything that interesting with gloves so I’ve tried to make them into statement pieces, but they’re still practical because they keep your hands warm.”
Drawing inspiration primarily from her home in Monkstown which is within view of the sea, Paula said that people-watching is also very convenient in helping her to decide what kind of designs might work. “I’m a very visual person so I’m always looking at art, looking at architecture. I’m looking at what people are wearing in the streets, at how people are using their hands.” Unsurprisingly, Paula has been inordinately busy as of late, which does of course hinder the creative side of things. “It’s hectic,” she laughed over the phone to me.
As for what’s next? She’d love to continue the movie run and feature in more blockbusters, so expect to see a lot more of Paula Rowan very soon.
By Sarah Finnan , Image Magazine