A touch of Colombian style in Auckland

By Zoe Walker

Colombian Gilberto Navas-Cotte shaers his South American style.

Gilberto Navas-Cotte co-owner of Paco Design Store. Photo / Babiche Martens
Gilberto Navas-Cotte co-owner of Paco Design Store. Photo / Babiche Martens

Gilberto Navas-Cotte brings a touch of South American style to Auckland with the boutique Paco Design Store. He co-owns the store with partner Paul Askew, selling a select number of pieces from Colombian labels. Subverting the usual retail journey, they began Paco as an online store before opening a physical boutique in St Kevin's Arcade last year. Navas-Cotte moved to Auckland from Colombia in 2008, and cuts a smart, stylish figure with a style he describes as clean and monochromatic with a love of colour. Fashion is in the blood, his father having owned clothing factories and stores in Colombia since the 1960s, while siblings also work in fashion, keeping him in contact with Colombian style. The self-confessed shopaholic tells us more.

My love for fashion began in my father's textile factory from an early age. Back in Colombia my family's business revolved around fashion, from the making and designing clothes through to retail.

My first shopping experience was with my mum, I used to help her select pieces for her clothing store in Bucaramanga, Colombia.

The way I shop ... I go around Auckland boutiques, making friends with the staff, they get to know me and keep in in mind as the new season arrives in-store. By mid-season my wardrobe is full of new shiny goodies - I'm a bit of a shopaholic.

My approach to accessories ... Obviously I love accessories as my shop specialises in them. It's a important part of my every day look - it's what it makes an outfit. I prefer big bags as you can carry all your everyday needs. Long pendants and chunky silver rings are essential.

During the week, I wear ... As most of the time I'm at my store, I tend to dress up in basic layered outfits. Color blocking is a must for me, I usually combine black, white and cream contrasted with bold colour accessories like my latest buy - a pair of turquoise trainers.

During the weekend, I wear ... In the daytime I prefer to wear super comfy and relaxed clothes - designer joggers and long oversized tees with big fleece jumpers. In the evening If I'm out on the town, I prefer black skinny jeans, a basic tee and an outrageous coat to keep it glam.

Colombian style for men is ... As Colombia has a wide range of climates, every major city has their own style. In my city, Bucaramanga, the boys wear brighter colours. Diesel clothes are a classic example and very popular among them. Bogota, the capital, is cold all year around, so men tend to wear smarter outfits from local edgy designers.

New Zealand style for men is ... For me, there are two major tribes among the Kiwis. The first is understated and casual, these boys are wearing it long this year, lots of oversized tops and skinny trousers. The second are the preppy guys who go for a timeless look wearing shirts, chinos and tailored suit jackets.

My favourite designer is ... In NZ I have to say Zambesi. I love the fact that all the pieces from previous collections fit perfectly well with all the new ones - it's like buying little investments. In Colombia I love Juan, one of the brands we sell at our store - they are locally made basics, that combine with anything in your wardrobe.

The best place for tailoring ... Zambesi will customise any of their pieces for you, just ask. For a smart suit you can't go past Crane Brothers though.

The best place for shoes ... It is not easy to find good men's shoes in New Zealand. Fabric and Workshop are some of the best shops to find them, be quick as sizes go fast - otherwise online at oki-ni.com.

The most stylish man in the world is ... There are two very stylish fashionistas I admire. One is Pelayo Diaz, he runs a blog call Kate Loves Me - his style is very out there and he is not afraid to use bright colours and accessories. The other one is Francesco Cominelli [Vogue Homme's international editor], he knew how to combine different styles to make his own chic look.

My approach to grooming ... It's an essential part of my daily ritual. Keeping yourself looking in your 20s doesn't happen without a little help.

Every man should own a designer wool coat, a pair of black trousers and a simple white tee.

- NZ Herald

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