Happy Birthday: Papo d’Anjo’s 15th Anniversary

I can’t believe it’s been 15 years since I went to my first children’s clothing trade fair and sold several dresses under the Papo d’Anjo label.  Like the growth of my children, it’s all happened so fast and has often felt like a blur.

But there are a few special moments that truly stand out, including the one captured in this photo, which sits on my desk in the Lisbon office. My husband Pascal and I were in Monsaraz, a tiny hillside Medieval village in the country’s pristine Alentejo region. We love this town–perhaps one of the most peacefully rustic and authentic places in Europe–and were looking for photo opportunities for the invitation to Papo d’Anjo’s first trunk show.

We dressed our oldest daughter, Camilla, in the first dress I ever made–the style is still one of my most popular designs. As we walked through the town, which was bathed in the Portuguese winter light, Camilla explored in the way that toddlers do. All of a sudden an older townswoman sat down and started having a conversation with Camilla. Pascal snapped the camera.

In that instant, something crystallized about what makes Papo d’Anjo unique that until then neither Pascal nor I had been able to articulate. The moment was completely unscripted and yet the image was perfect in every way. Seeing Camilla with this kind older woman made us realize that the essence of Papo d’Anjo combines the innocence of childhood with the authentic traditions of Portuguese culture and craftsmanship.

Camilla modeling another Papo classic for the Winter 1999 catalog.

Camilla is now applying to colleges. And as I watch her embarking on a new chapter of her life, I also can see that my company has grown up, too. This past year we moved into Bergdorf Goodman, which was a huge honor for me and the culmination of years of hard work. And we also experienced so much demand for our Fall catalog that we sold out of some of our most popular items.

Today, the pace of my life is very different from these tranquil images. But I hope that they represent the best of the unhurried childhood that I have tried to give my children. Papo d’Anjo is at its core about celebrating a childhood unfettered by trends or commercialism. Thank you so much for your continued support of what we do.

4 Responses to “Happy Birthday: Papo d’Anjo’s 15th Anniversary”

  1. 1 sigrid connor November 16, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    I can’t believe that so many years have passed since the first catalogue of Papo was distributed! Would it not be fun to put that whole first vatalogue on the blog? It promised and eventually fullfilled every expectations that Papo had a great future. What a fabulous company!

  2. 2 Sarah Chitko November 16, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Happy Birthday Papo! Love the pictures of Camilla she was such a cute little girl and now a beautiful college bound daughter you have much to be proud of! All the best to many more birthdays at Papo d’Anjo.

  3. 3 scotty gillette November 18, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    congratulations, catherine-job well done-scotty

  4. 4 Julie Roth December 21, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    Feeling nostalgic and checking in with old friends on the winter solstice led me to your blog, Catherine. The photo of Camilla with the Portuguese woman touched me so deeply. I love knowing about this serendipitous moment that led you to this amazing part of your life’s journey.

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