Hedge fund manager turned fashion entrepreneur Belma Gaudio launched her pioneering Koibird concept store last year in London. The evolving retail experience, which is reinvented every few months with different destination-based themes, curates consumers’ ultimate travel wardrobes with globally sourced design talent.
“Retail has changed and the consumer is now so comfortable with the convenience of shopping online, physical stores need to find creative ways to engage,” she said of her concept, which also involves a café and beauty bar.
Fall for Koibird is about all things Korean, including Low Classic, Salondeju and Yuul Yie shoes, bags by Song Ryoo, apparel from Betterkind and Blindness and over 40 cult K-Beauty brands like Soohyang and Vogmask. “It’s always important to me that many of our brands are relatively unknown in the U.K.,” she said, adding that Korean design is still quite under-the-radar and hasn’t had the same exposure as in neighboring Japan and China.
Unsurprisingly, the globetrotting Gaudio is also a packing pro, so FN asked her to share her stylish packing secrets as fashion month kicks off.
How do you plan your outfits?
BG: “I always start with the shoes I want to wear. I put out a rail a week before my travels and add everything that I think I will want. Then I revisit and cull. Come the end of the week, I have a pretty efficient edit.”
How many pairs of shoes do you travel with in total?
BG: “Five — one sneaker, two [day-to-night] fashion flats or small heels for walking around and two high heels for special dinners and parties. I make sure colors and styles work for the clothes I am bringing. I also make sure that the same pair of shoes can go with multiple outfits, at least three.”
What are your go-to show shoes?
BG: “Mesh black Bottega Veneta pumps and bicolor styles by Yuul Yie. Bottega obviously is the ‘It’ brand this season with Daniel Lee at the helm now. It feels fresh and satisfies our Celine nostalgia, while Yuul Yie is sculptural and sophisticated but also edgy, cool and most of all comfortable.”
Take us through your packing system.
BG: “I buy Rimowa suitcases in various colours and also the special editions like Off White and Alex Israel. I have separate pouches for underwear, socks, cosmetics, the soft netted ones from Tumi. They keep everything organized, clean and don’t add bulk. And I lay everything in a suitcase flat to fit the most in, I don’t fold and pack.
Other accessory must-haves?
BG: “Pouches by Bottega and a selection of bags by Korean designer and Koibird exclusive Song Ryoo.”
What labels will you be rocking on the front row?
BG: “Area, Push Button, Blindness, Chanel and Besfxxx.”
What shows are you most excited about attending?
BG: “Generally, those by the smaller, lesser-known designers, but highlights are always Alessandra Rich and Emilia Wickstead. Mary Katrantzou also puts on an amazing spectacle.”
Favorite destinations on the circuit?
BG: In New York, I have seven 7 Cha Cha Matchas a day, head to the Kith store and go gallery between Salon 94 and Future Perfect. In Paris, it’s always Chanel and Hermès flagships as they get the pick of the collections. I also like the new Monies jewelry store. I stay at Hotel de Crillon and head to the Biologique Recherche spa for facials.
Koibird.com, 62 Marylebone Lane, London, W1.