When she set out to start her little enterprise shortly after being widowed, Dolores Casademunt didn’t know that it would be through her loss that she would find herself.
The founder of the Barcelona-based fashion and accessories brand Lola Casademunt says it was the devastation of losing her husband that got her business started. She needed something to keep herself busy.
And so it was that in 1981, the then 50-year-old mother of four began making hair accessories using ribbons in her garage. Spanish women liked to wear little accessories in their hair, she said through her interpreter. Later, she would travel to Italy to get new ideas, and the brand expanded to jewelry, handbags and clothes.
Thus, Casademunt, whose given name means “sorrows,” slowly shed her pain to give life to a vibrant fashion and accessories label called Lola Casademunt, which is now in several countries—Italy, France, United Kingdom, Japan, China, United Arab Emirates, Greece, and now the Philippines. “Lola” is a diminutive form for Dolores.
A bruja (witch), the Spanish woman recalled, predicted she would become “the Monet of accessories.” It made the widow very happy.
Youthful and colorful
Zenaida Tantoco, president of Rustan’s, was in a trade fair in Madrid when she spotted a little booth bearing Lola Casademunt products.
“They only had a few things, but we liked what we saw,” Tantoco said. “Then they invited us to see their showroom in Barcelona, which was an hour-flight away. We had the time, so we went. And we saw Maite (Casademunt’s daughter) who was manning the showroom, and she looked so lovely in her long Lola Casademunt dress! As you see, the products are very youthful and colorful, even the bags.”
And well-priced, too. Accessories start at about P1,000, exclusively sold at Rustan’s Makati, which carries the entire range, including resort-style clothing and bags.
At the launch in Peninsula Manila Tuesday, Casademunt, still sprightly at age 82, happily posed for photos with her two youngest daughters, Maite and Maria Mar Gasso. Maite, with her mother, looks after the creative side, while Maria Mar takes care of business operations.
“My mother is still always busy in the business, that’s maybe why she looks young for her age,” said Maite Gasso.
“Lola is just like my dad,” Tantoco noted, “he’s now 92 but he’s still traveling the world.”
Maite Gasso said their foray into the Philippines is their first step in their expansion in Southeast Asia.