Mother and daughter Pippa and Ninnia Toledo are way more than just that. The design duo runs the boutique store L’Allée by Pippa Toledo, which is “a dream come true”, says Ninnia. The concept store’s focus is on hand-picked fashion and lifestyle items, and the duo will be launching a beautiful baroque bridal collection this month. Ninnia joined us to answer ten questions.
Hi Ninnia, it’s lovely to have you here. Would you give us a quick introduction of yourself?
Thank you for having me! I’m Ninnia, designer and founder of L’Allée by Pippa Toledo alongside my mother. I’m also a recent newlywed.
Your design work is renowned in Malta and beyond: both your jewellery line and your interior design. What is it about design that you are really passionate about?
I am more focused on the jewellery than the interior to be honest. All the credit for interiors goes to my mum – she is the star behind all the gorgeous interiors. With regards to jewellery, I am deeply passionate about it. I absolutely love the whole design process – from the second I get the idea, to designing the piece, and finally to the finished product. I just love creating new and original pieces.
The boutique store L’Allée is a collaboration between your mum and you. How would you describe the relationship and cooperation between the two of you?
My mum is my best friend, I can’t imagine myself working with anybody else. We have a great relationship and without her I wouldn’t be where I am today. As the best mother, friend and mentor, she has taught me all I know.
When did you start working together, doing what you love?
I don’t think I can put a date on when I started working with my mum as I grew up in the business, so I’ve always been involved in everything. We launched our first jewellery and accessories collection back in 2010 and we have been growing ever since. About five years ago I wanted to expand our accessories line, and that’s when L’Allée by Pippa Toledo was created.
What is your design philosophy?
To be original.
You will be launching a bridal collection in August. Can you give us a little taste of what that will be like?
I would describe it to be a baroque fairy tale. Dreamy, vintage, lavish, embellished, rich. I wish I could live my day over and over again to be able to wear all the pieces!
Brides-to-be are living in uncertain times. What do you recommend to those soon to be married?
As someone who had to postpone their wedding, I understand the uncertainty most couples might be feeling. But I promise you it’s not the end of the world. I hadn’t booked any new dates when I postponed. I hadn’t booked hair, make-up, bands, caterers, cars, church… nothing at all.
We decided to go ahead with the “wedding”, as my mother calls the garden party, six weeks before and planned everything from scratch. And I tell you, I had the perfect day. It was the fairy tale wedding I’ve always dreamed of. Sometimes things just work out better. At the end of the day, as long as you have the people that mean the most to you around you it could be anywhere. It will still be perfect. Having your family and closest friends by your side is the most important thing.
COVID has obviously affected everyone’s lifestyle over the past few months. How have you been dealing with it?
Because of COVID, I ended up working a lot more than usual. I moved my studio and both shops to my home to have all of my stock under one roof. I no longer had the switch ‘off’ from work to personal life and found myself working 24/7.
Our online shop did really well, we even found it hard to keep up with deliveries. So my mother and I would go out on deliveries twice a week so that the packages wouldn’t go through too many hands. It wasn’t easy, but we adapted and learnt from it. We are still learning and adapting as we are still living uncertain times.
Where do you find inspiration when you need to spark your creativity?
For me, if someone is creative, you always have that spark. It comes naturally. My mood is always a big part of my creative process. There are days where I’m just blank, and days where I would use that blankness. I find my most creative time to be late at night. It just hits. Which usually ends up with me staying up all night working on a new piece, taking notes so I don’t forget anything. Inspiration comes from everywhere. Like I said, my moods play a big part, but it could an object, a colour, a feeling or a memory.
What are your hopes and aspirations post-Covid?
Well, we’ve been working on a new project for L’Allée which includes opening our third store! We hope it will be over really soon so we can carry on with our plans…
If you are a bride-to-be, indulge yourself in L’Allée’s new bridal collection and plan the perfect day with your favourite people around you, just like Ninnia Toledo. Or have a look at the most stylish lifestyle and fashion items available on www.lalleebypippatoledo.com.
Photo Credit: Mark Cassar