Swedish-born world citizen Charlotta Gandolfo is both founder and creative director of an eponymous line of resort wear. Our Shanghai sister magazine previously covered the launch of her brand; we're now checking in with Gandolfo on her Guangzhou plans.
Since its soft launch last fall, the label has created quite a stir in China and beyond, even getting hailed by AMEX Centurion Black Book as the “hottest lifestyle [brand] happening right now in Shanghai.” Fashion icon, TV host and 'it girl' Linda Li also chose to wear an entire Charlotta Gandolfo outfit at a Roger Vivier show during Paris Fashion Week (below).
This weekend, April 20-22, Gandolfo is previewing her upcoming May collection at Guangzhou's HICC Lifestyle Space, together with Shanghai urban fashion store Xinlelu.com. As she prepares to wow style-savvy Guangzhou ladies, we took the opportunity to ask her a couple of questions.
What's your take on resort wear?
I am creating clothes for social women who travel. The origin of ‘resort wear’ would be clothes to wear when at a resort, but I don’t see ‘resort’ as a place or a fashion season. For me, it’s a state of mind. It has an air of playfulness, but also insouciance, sprezzatura, ease. It’s not for being worn only at a specific place: it’s an aesthetic, or even a mood. This is what my clothes are all about.
Why the focus on resort wear?
I saw a gap in the market. When internationally-minded women travel outside of work, they usually socialize with others. I couldn’t find anything that is relaxed and comfortable, but still elegant and with an international appeal. It’s the point between being dressed up, but not being formal or trying too hard. I’m from the Nordics, and I wanted to bring the ‘chic-ness’ of Scandinavia to a style category that I thought was dominated by crazy pineapple prints on polyester, or formal and more ‘strict’ items.
All of my items also work in an urban environment. We are modern women. We want to buy versatile things that can be used in many contexts. The core is still that resort is a state of mind, not a place.
Nordic resort wear sounds like an oxymoron.
That’s the point. There is nothing like this on the market today. It’s cold in the Nordics, so nobody from Scandinavia thought about this category before. The simplicity, versatility, elegance and chic-ness make my items unique among all the resort wear out there.
Do you target expats or Chinese folks?
The women that buy my clothes are social, internationally-minded and travel a lot. However, my sizing is made to fit the Chinese body, but still, a lot of foreigners look great wearing them. It’s not about where you are from but about where you are going.
Did you foresee that your brand would be so successful?
As there was nothing like it on the market, I wasn’t sure at first. But it turned out that Shanghai women love it and share my sense of aesthetic, and it has also generated a lot of attention from luxury buyers and travelers all over the world. So while I was always confident in the design, I am a bit surprised that the reception would be so overwhelmingly positive. I feel I found a gap in the market and what I do is something people really want.
What do you think of Guangzhou?
It’s a beautiful city with chic women and a climate that actually is much better suited for my clothes than the Shanghai climate. I hope that the internationally-minded Guangzhou fashionistas will like the brand.
Where can people in Guangzhou buy your brand?
Please visit us in the HICC Lifestyle Space on from 1-7pm on Friday April 20, Saturday April 21 and Sunday April 22 to try on the clothes and preorder, with delivery set for mid-May. Hopefully, the line will also be carried by a top Guangzhou retailer.
Outside of Guangzhou, the clothes are available in top fashion stores in key cities around the world, as well as in the world’s most luxurious resorts. On the Chinese mainland, you can buy online from our service account (WeChat ID: CharlottaG) or our official account (WeChat ID: CharlottaGResort). You can also buy from our official website.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Fri Apr 20 to Sun Apr 22, 1-7pm each day. HICC Lifestyle Space.