Thursday 19 April 2018

My cultural life: Paula Rowan

Paula Rowan
Paula Rowan
Talking Heads

Glove designer Paula Rowan did a degree in history and classics in UCD, followed by a design course on interiors for films. However, when she graduated there wasn't much work in that field. She went to work with her brother in his leather handbag store and bought the firm from him in 2006. She had always loved gloves but thought most offerings were banal - so she decided to design her own.

She is one of 12 glove designers in the world, and her gloves are worn by Helen Mirren, Richard E Grant, Chloe Sevigny, Elle Macpherson and Martin Scorsese. She is the only Irish designer in 10 Corso Como Milan - the choice for fashion editors worldwide. She lives in Monkstown.

Band: Talking Heads

Talking Heads

I'm the youngest of six so when most eight-year-olds were listening to pop I was listening to my older siblings' music. Talking Heads are still one of my favourite bands. I've listened to and watched Stop Making Sense many times. It's not like a documentary of a concert - it's more like a film in which a concert takes place, it really captures the energy and passion of what it's like to see a great band playing live.

Design: Milan


I'm interested in all types of design so take great pleasure in my visits to Milan where the doorways and entrance halls are all so striking and unique. It could be the ornate carvings on the highly polished wood, the angular shapes of the Art Deco metalwork, the opulent handles or the prominent veins of the marble steps. When I start designing my gloves I make reference to them, it could result in the design of a clasp, the position of a rivet, a geometric detail on a cuff. (Vittorio Emanuele gallery in Milan, above).

TV: Chef's Table

I don't watch a lot of TV as I'm usually on the go or travelling for work. But I started watching Chef's Table on Netflix and was hooked after seeing the first episode about Italian chef Massimo Bottura. I've always been passionate about cooking and food. I particularly loved his interpretation of traditional cooking - pushing the boundaries and bringing it into the modern world.

Book: Atonement


Along with all the other essentials in my bag I always carry a book. I haven't quite moved on to a Kindle! I've read most of Ian McEwan's books but Atonement is still one of my favourites. It's a beautifully written, poignant and enthralling story about personal atonement. Many of the situations are retold from different perspectives. Because of McEwan's descriptions and imagery I found myself being drawn into the plot.

Artist: Mark P Cullen

My favourite piece of artwork is hanging over my mantelpiece, it is an oil painting of Bullock Harbour painted by contemporary Irish artist Mark P Cullen. There is nothing obvious about this painting and like all Mark's work it deserves careful consideration. My chairs all face it so I find myself looking at it every day.

Paula Rowan, 31 Westbury Mall, Dublin 2.

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