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Art of Style

Get dressed with Barbara Martelo

Thanks to her patented brand of sexy-meets-insouciant style, lawyer-turned-fashion consultant BARBARA MARTELO has developed a devoted fashion following. These are her fail-safe styling tips…

Martelo mixes masculine-inspired pieces such as boyfriend jeans with more feminine shoes and accessories


“I like taking boyish pieces and wearing them in a way that feels feminine. I think it’s really cool when it looks like you’ve stolen a piece from your husband or boyfriend. I’m obsessed with jeans, blazers, simple tees and cashmere sweaters. Finding great basics is essential for me because I travel constantly, and having a uniform makes packing easier; I can mix and match all my pieces to create endless looks. Of course, I’ve experimented with other trends in the past – like the whole bohemian thing, which really didn’t work for me – but I think that experimentation is how you discover your own signature style. The past few seasons have been so heavily influenced by streetwear, I’m ready for a change; I’d like to see fashion get sexy again.”

  • Goldsign
    The Low Slung cropped mid-rise straight-leg jeans
  • Theory
    Jodi B cashmere sweater
  • Saint Laurent
    Anja suede pumps
  • Saint Laurent
    D-Frame acetate sunglasses


“Without a doubt, my wedding dress is the most special piece in my closet. My husband and I were only together for three months before he proposed – we’ve now been married for over 16 years – but I knew exactly which designer I wanted to wear. I was obsessed with what John Galliano was doing at Dior, and so I asked him to create a bespoke dress for me. The whole process of going for fittings at the atelier and having it crafted especially for me was absolutely magical. It’s a silk bias-cut gown, super-simple but stunning. I didn’t wear a veil, so the final look was really effortless. It actually looks a lot like the wedding dress he made for Kate Moss, which is fitting because she’s my ultimate style icon.”

  • Gabriela Hearst
    Louise herringbone silk-jacquard gown
  • Anita Ko
    Princess 18-karat rose gold diamond ring
  • Gianvito Rossi
    Portofino 105 leather sandals
Matteau’s clean and simple swimwear designs have earned a place in Martelo’s suitcase


“Ibiza is a special place for my family and I. We visit around three times a year, the first of which is always around summer solstice and my twins Alvaro and Constanza’s birthday – they have just turned 13. Honestly, my vacation style doesn’t differ much from my usual look – it’s still very dark, although sometimes I’ll throw in a little bit of red or leopard print. I just bought a great one-piece from Eres and a bikini from Matteau that I’m really excited to wear. I try and keep it simple and just pack relaxed pieces that transition easily from day to night – it has to work with flats and heels. I have my eye on an amazing leopard-print jumpsuit from Saint Laurent that would make a great addition to my vacation closet.”


“When it comes to beauty, I keep things simple. I barely wear any makeup. My hair, however, is my secret weapon; I’ve been blessed with thick, healthy hair, and it’s kind of like my armor. Nowadays I invest more in regular facials and massages than I do in fashion. As you get older, your priorities shift; I make a lot of effort to eat right, drink a lot of water and get enough sleep. No matter where I am in the world, I make sure to wake up early so I can take a few hours in the morning to practice yoga and meditate, then I’m ready for whatever the day has in store. I think a carefree attitude is super-important for your general wellbeing.”


“With designers producing more collections than ever before, and trends constantly changing, it’s really important to invest in great-quality, timeless pieces. Because I have a very distinct sense of style and take good care of everything I own, I’m still wearing designs from Alaïa and Nicolas Ghesquière’s time at Balenciaga that I saved up for and bought way back when I was just starting my career. It’s worth investing wisely.”

  • Balenciaga
    Hourglass wool-gabardine blazer
  • Alaïa
    Stretch-knit bodysuit
  • Balenciaga
    High-rise distressed slim-leg jeans
  • Alaïa
    Bombe 90 studded leather sandals
The fashion consultant recommends spending more on timeless key pieces that you can wear for years to come

The people featured in this story are not associated with NET-A-PORTER and do not endorse it or the products shown.