Classical singer Carly Paoli reveals her top fashion secrets
Carly, 28, has been singing since her teens and has gone on to perform on stages all around the world. She has sung with Andrea Bocelli, Elaine Paige and José Carreras.
Her debut album, Singing My Dreams, was released earlier this year, going straight to the top of the iTunes Classical Charts.
Carly divides her time between London, Arundel in West Sussex and Mansfield in Nottinghamshire, where she was born.
From left to right, Carly wears:
This stunning coral Oscar de la Renta gown is from the designer’s last ever collection and one of the most expensve items in Carly’s wardrobe. Her sparkly shoes are by Jimmy Choo and her earrings were bought in Italy.
Carly loves teaming Elisabetta Franchi jeans with a simple Wolford top and cape-style jacket by Nadya Shah. Her stilettos are by Christian Dior. “They’re surprisingly comfortable,” she says.
This pretty printed dress is from Karen Millen. Her heels are by Guess and her earrings are from Merola on London’s Fulham Road.
How would you describe your style off stage? I’ve never really followed fashion, and most of the things in my wardrobe.I can wear time and time again without them looking dated. I like wearing jeans with a jacket that has something individual about it, for example, but I do also love my cocktail dresses.
What colours and shapes suit you best? I love blues – they suit my skintone and reflect the colour of my eyes – and I think soft pinks look lovely on any occasion. Depending on the time of the year, white or very pale beiges can wash me out – I prefer to wear a bit of colour. I like feminine shapes with simple straps and necklines that frame the face.
What is your favourite fashion era? The 1950s. The hair, the make-up, everything was made to enhance feminine features. This was the era that made me want to sing. I had every MGM musical and I must have worn out three videos of Singin’ In The Rain. I always thought I was born in the wrong era.
Who is your style icon? Audrey Hepburn has always been a favourite – she wore things that would still look fabulous today.
What can listeners expect from your album Singing My Dreams? I’ve been working on it for three years and it’s a very personal album. I’ve written two of the songs – the last one, Memory Of You, I wrote after losing somebody important. It features some film music, which has always inspired me as a singer. I used to sing along to the Disney movies and the old musicals, mimicking people like Debbie Reynolds and Judy Garland.
What has been your career highlight so far? Last year when my interpretation of Ave Maria became the official song for Pope Francis’s jubilee. It was played on the global Vatican radio station to bring pilgrims to Rome. From that, there was a special concert in the Roman Forum, which they’d never used as a concert venue before, and I performed eight numbers. It was the most amazing feeling to walk out on to that stage.
From left to right clockwise:
A selection of Carly’s designer handbags, including a woven Salvatore Ferragamo design, a beige Gucci that she treated herself to after a show and a navy Dior bag.
A dress Carly sometimes wears to perform in, which her grandmother bought her when she was 14 for singing at the Nottingham Arena.
“I’ll often match my shoes and my handbag,” says the singer. These are both by Salvatore Ferragamo
These gold and white shoes are by Alberto Guardiani, the peep toes are by Jimmy Choo, the gold and beige shoes are Sergio Rossi, the blue heels are Dior and the red are by Guess
What do you typically wear to perform in? I’ve got a few gowns that have been made for me and a few I’ve bought over the years, and I have a stylist who will pick up things for me. Recently I wore this amazing red tulle dress by Giambattista Valli and it was so big that the orchestra had to stand up when I walked on stage.
Do you own more high street or high end? A real mix. There are quite a few high-end pieces that I’ve saved up and treated myself to, but I can always walk into LK Bennett and find so many things I like, and I could go mad in Karen Millen.
Who are your favourite designers? Catherine Walker’s a favourite – Kate Middleton always looks effortlessly beautiful when she wears their designs.
I also love Roberto Cavalli and Dior for accessories – I love their classic shapes.
Do you own anything vintage? A few dresses that my grandmother bought me for performances when I was a teenager.
Are you a hoarder or do you clear out your wardrobe regularly? I do regular clear-outs and I’ve got younger cousins who I hand things down to.
What are the most expensive items in your wardrobe? My Ralph & Russo dresses, because they were made for me, or a coral Oscar de la Renta gown, which was from his last ever collection so it’s really special. I’d never part with it.
How much do you spend on clothes a month? I might go in to Harrods once every four months and treat myself to something special, but I could pick up a top from somewhere like Karen Millen any day. Shopping is my weakness.
How many shoes and handbags do you own? About 50 pairs of shoes, which are neatly organised in my wardrobe. I love a nice stiletto. And maybe 25 handbags. I often like to match my shoes and bags – that can finish off a simple outfit.
What is your best beauty secret? Invest in a good skincare regime, especially moisturiser – it means I don’t need to plaster my face in make-up when I’m not performing. I love Valmont and La Prairie products.
What is the best piece of fashion advice you have been given? Don’t always follow fashions – instead look for timeless pieces that you can wear day or night.
Singing My Dreams is out now and Carly will be touring the UK with Collabro from Tuesday to December 2. For tickets, visit gigsandtours.com.