Cool Hunting is the name of the game when it comes to buying the perfect puffer for myself or my family. Parajumpers, a female-owned and led fabulous Italian brand run by 4 sisters came to our rescue when my 16-year-old daughter went on a polar bear watching trip last summer.
Webb On The Fly (WOTF) collaborator and stylist, Chad Tucker introduced me to the team at Parajumpers to outfit my daughter for her expedition it was a perfect fit in every way. Not because of Parajumpers’ survival ready and totally stylish jackets, but also because women supporting women in business is a big priority at WOTF.
I was thrilled when I got a call from Parajumpers’ co-owner Cristina Paulon to host a luncheon to introduce my New York crew of influential girlfriends to her family company which was founded in 1963 by her father Ermanno Paulon and her uncle Giuliano Paulon.
Naturally, I took Cristina on a walk in my favorite urban wilderness, Central Park, to learn more about Parajumpers and to strategize for the event. When Christina is not on-duty as Parajumpers’ Chief Marketing Officer, she is hiking and mountaineering. Christina also volunteers at her local ranger station in the mountains as part of the search team rescue for lost hikers.
Parajumpers outfits urban fashionistas, weekend warriors, and serious outdoors-men with equal aplomb. I invited a cross-section of women whom I love and admire to lunch at the rustic restaurant Locanda Verde to meet Cristina and learn about the Parajumpers collection.
Champagne corks popped as our guests arrived, while our custom Spotify playlist set the tone for conversation between new acquaintances and old friends. Talk bubbled up around the topic of women supporting women in business–the very reason we had all come together.
Stacey Igel, founder of the luxe t-shirt and apparel line Boy Meets Girl USA, was the first to come and wish Cristina well on expanding her brand in the US. Dr. Tara Allmen, author of Menopause Confidential, Elisabeth Halfpap, co-founder of Exhale Spa and co-inventor of Barre Method exercise, and Cindy Barshop, founder of V-Spot women’s sexual wellness clinic, joined us. Meeting each other for the first time, they found common ground discussing how, as women, we can continuously bond with our bodies and build our strength throughout our lifetime.
From the art world, my dear friend, art advisor Kim Heirston brought along our good friend Thelma Golden, the venerable director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, who traded news of the art world with my longtime friend, art collector Pippa Cohen acquisitions committee board member at Studio Museum of Harlem.
Journalists Lola Oganuke from People TV and Chrissy Ford, Harper’s Bazaar’s digital fashion director, swooped in with their next level style and grace to feast on roasted veggies fish and chicken and the hearty but light pasta with lamb ragu.
Stylist Jae Joseph cozied up for a chat with the child-rearing expert and founder of Diva Mom’s Lyss Stern – they both agreed the hunter green bomber was the right fashion statement for her busy life.
Couture collector Jamie Elias, who is also my workout partner at barre class, she a fashion icon in her own right who has made a fine art of dressing for absolutely every occasion. My darling friend, designer Gretchen Maul, who I’ve supported since GG Maul her handbag business was just an idea, snagged the perfect puffer and one for her hubby for a holiday gift.
Dermatologist Dr. Michelle Henry, who’s one of my “Woman Crush Wednesday” poster girls because of her brilliant mind and ebullient spirit, paid a brief visit to us between patients and slipped into a velvet long bear coat.
My friends are all such busy women, especially new mom and photographer Sophie Elgort, who runs the Through Our Lens foundation that offers free photography classes to disadvantaged girls made it even more special that she would find time in her day to be there with us to support female-owned businesses
“One Planet One Future” is artist Anne DeCarribuica’s motto for her fascinating work. Anne, a deeply committed environmentalist, travels with her 4 children, unless it’s too dangerous, to photograph creatures on the brink of extinction and spots on the globe that are becoming so hot like certain locations in the Sahara desert which is now the first place on earth that human beings can no longer inhabit. Anne came with her gorgeous daughter Sara who runs her gallery and foundation in New York. Sara chose a long bear coat to see her through not only the New York winter but also for coming expeditions with her mom.
It was a really gratifying experience to bring all of these women together and gift them each a beautiful coat from Parajumper, but also to know that many of us made connections that will hopefully last a lifetime.
Story x @VeronicaWebb
Photos x @ariaisadora