Location: New York, NY
Age: Over 50
Marital Status: Single
Education: Degree in Art History and International Finance from New York University
Even as a teenager growing up in New York, petite Cathy Paul was “obsessed with fabric (‘I love swatches’), color and cut,” she says. She’d spend happy hours window-shopping up and down Madison Avenue to carefully examine the couture fashion…
Today, Cathy has a natural affinity for mixing styles, patterns and textures. You can spot her from blocks away: Her intense red hair, high heels, funky glasses and artistic combination of colors are consistently eye catching. Cathy manages to exquisitely pull it all off.
Who influenced your style?
I’ve always been inspired by what people were wearing in the media and the movies. I take something I like and make it my own. When I saw the black and white sharkskin suit Al Pacino wore in The Godfather I and II, I had to find the fabric and have a coat dress made.
Who are your favorite designers?
The cut of Gucci jackets when Tom Ford was there, Dolce & Gabbana for skirts, Armani, Versace for summer, and Timothy Everest, the tailor I’ve used in London since 1997 (www.timothyeverest.co.uk).
When Timothy creates something wonderful, I’ll sometimes have him make the same piece in three different fabrics.
I have to have a symbiotic relationship with a designer. I love Lacroix’s fabrics, colors and sense of extravagance. He sneaks in seductive details. Dolce is structured, sexy and colorful.
How your style changed over the years?
Do you have a signature piece of clothing?
Blazers when they have sexy fabrics and fit. Pointy toe, high-heeled shoes with ankle straps and open sides. Could be from any designer. I like to wear evening shoes in the daytime. I hate heavy shoes.
I’m obsessed with emerald green because of my red hair.
Is anything a no-no?
I never wear pants because I’m short and my legs are my best feature. It’s okay just as long as you see my legs below the knee. I don’t like exposed zippers on anything.
Dior’s L’Or de Vie, La Creme. It’s wonderful. I’m allergic to everything and this doesn’t irritate my skin at all. It’s made with a rare wine called Chateau D’Yquem, and it makes my skin smooth and gives a wonderful finish.
What’s your secret favorite spot in New York?
Sitting on the terrace of The Maritime Hotel and pretending I’m in Miami.
Sakagura sake bar near Grand Central Station because it looks like a spy restaurant; John Dory for the décor and fish, and Park Avenue (Summer, Winter, Spring, Fall) for the ambience, whatever the season.
Nouba from Takashimaya. I like their bricks, browns and oranges.
Great book you’ve read?
I’m always buying books and never read them.
Champagne, especially Bollinger, Dom Ruinart, Blanc de Blanc and Veuve Cliquot; Euro magazines. I often go to Universal News on 56th Street and buy them out when I find a new one on lifestyle, interiors or fashion.
Do you have a favorite perfume?
Cartier Panthere is my most favorite, but also like Essence by Narciso Rodrigues and some male fragrances like Eau Sauvage by Dior.
How do you rejuvenate?
A bath, sometimes more than one.
Collecting fabulous vintage jewelry. I’m addicted. I love old plastic pieces, but there’s no resale value in that. I search all the antique shows and buildings around New York, like The Showplace Antique and Design Center on West 25th Street. My friend Eric just opened Antique Reflections there.
I also like Chrome Hearts silver jewelry.
Who inspires you?
I inspire myself, but there’s always something on TV or in the media that grabs me.
Do you decorate your home like you dress?
My apartment is eclectic with a neo classical “grande tour” feeling, Biedermeier and American Empire furniture with quirky accents, animal pillows and feathers, old photos and paintings and etchings.
My kitchen looks like the Soviet space ship the Mir, retro techno slate grey and steel. Living room is dark green and bedroom is yellow. The rooms are filled with lots of books and interesting antiques. The bedroom looks like a cross between Bergdorf Goodman, Rizzoli and the stock room of the magazine store, a bit Grey Gardens
I’ve bought furniture at the Pier, at Niall Smith and Christie’s.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your career?
Make money, but have fun making it. Your co-workers are far more important to this than you ever imagine. If you have at least one co worker you really bond with you will probably be more productive and achieve more with less stress. If you have a co worker you bond with and share a sense of humour with even if they 20 years younger, you will look forward to coming to work.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about money?
It comes and goes. I’ve gone from choosing between spending my last dime on bread or a newspaper to buying Dior. And if you buy jewelry, buy gold. That’s the lesson I learned in 1991, which proved to be the worst recession I have been through.