The tale of Alexandra, Luella, Jameson & Stirling Gizela



“My childhood was spent running around the streets of NYC… literally,” recalls Alexandra Gizela, the New York-based mother of three - Luella, 5, Jameson, 3 and Stirling, 10 months - and founder of one of our favourite childrenswear lines Cabbages and Kings....

She started modelling and acting at the age of eight. “My mom would pick me up from school and we’d jump on the subway and go traipsing around to go sees and auditions,” she says. Gizela went on to spend almost two decades dancing for The New York Theater Ballet. Six years ago, after the birth of her daughter Luella, she turned her focus to childrenwear with the launch of Cabbages & Kings. Gizela describes her range as “an eco-conscious children’s fashion line for the global citizen” and her beautiful garments are hand made by artisans from Central Mexico and in the Andean Valleys of Peru and Bolivia. We spent the afternoon with Gizela and her sweet children in Central Park to talk motherhood, career, life in New York and how she keeps a journal for herself and her children…

Photography: Grace Alyssa Kyo | Go to www.cabbagesandkingsny.com

 


When I wake up...

It’s usually because I have been attacked by my eldest kids and so it is not the most peaceful way to wake. I then kick them out and lay awake for about five minutes taking deep breaths and zoning out. Shortly after I have a cup of black tea with milk and honey… make breakfast and try my best to finish tidying up from the night before.


Before I go to bed...

I like to rethink my day and jot the highlights down in my journal. I keep a journal for myself as well as each of my children… so I have a lot of writing to do. This is accompanied by a glass of red wine.


Motherhood has taught me…

To plan, but always be ready for a curve ball. There needs to be flexibility on all fronts. It has taught me to let things go. You learn the significance of having priorities. Basically there is no time to get upset about things, it’s always on to the next.


Life as a mother of three…

Is game time. There are no breaks or time outs. There is always someone who needs to be made to laugh, console, correct, or help. It’s crazy chaotic at times – it’s also like being in a constant state of yin and yang – to be firm but loving, to be assertive but not too overbearing… it’s a whirlwind and I wouldn’t change it for the world.


I handle sleep deprivation by…

I still have not mastered this yet… I seem to be in that natural high state of being overtired.


My approach to wellbeing is…

Taking the time to just breathe and reflect. As of late it has been hard for me to get to a class, and so I try to do 30 minutes of yoga on my own whenever time permits. It usually happens late at night, it’s a nice way to cap the day. Yoga, red wine and a balanced diet seems to do the trick.


Raising children in New York is…

Convenient, lively, colorful and fun. There is so much to do and see and it is forever changing. I also love the fact that we can fit so much into our day. Transportation is easy so we can properly explore the city from a restaurant downtown to a museum in mid-town to a play date on the Upper East to home on the West.


I treat myself by...

Getting a lie in – I aim for every Sunday. But on the regular… I treat myself with food! I love to eat – so nice meals are the way to my heart. I won’t second guess a break with Davey’s Ice Cream Shop to get their sweet corn ice cream in a waffle cone!


The biggest misconception about me...

I could do it all, stress-free. People get to see the smiles, but the behind the scenes of life can be very chaotic at times!


My role model is…

There are a few people I admire and look up to in my industry. Women like Giovanna Engelbert (she reminds me of a modern day Audrey Hepburn), Iris Apfel (I love her passion for travel and worldly style), and the Roitfelds (Julia and Carine are just so NY cool).


The definition of success is...

To have that feeling of achievement and purpose. Knowing that you did your best to accomplish whatever it is you set out for is success.


If I wasn't doing what I'm doing today…

I would be eating my way around the world and writing about it. I would love to be a food critique… Anthony Bordain has my dream job.


My mother taught me…

To always be happy and grateful with what you have in life.


Happiness is...

Watching my kids giggle and tell each other secrets.


My career path has…

Put me on such a beautiful journey. It has led me to some of the most amazing places on this planet and has put me in touch with such wonderfully interesting people from all walks of life. It’s the cultural aspect of my work that I love most. Learning about people’s way of living, dressing, eating – it’s all so interesting, I love it!


Working in the fashion and entertainment industry was…

A great environment to grow up with. It opened me up as a person at an early age. The exposure I had to the “behind the scenes” of the industry is priceless. Knowing first hand that it isn’t as glamorous as it looks and that much of it is smoke and mirrors has definitely made me more comfortable in my own skin.


I like to dress my children in…

My own childhood clothes that my mother kept for me. I also love mixing all sorts of brands and price points. A few of my favorite brands are Trico Fields, The Little Creative Factory, Zara and Babaa.


My biggest career highlight was…

When we were featured in Vogue!


2016 is going to be the year that I…

Buy and start renovation on my dream house. I simply cannot wait to decorate my very own house. I am obsessed with interior decorating and up until now have only had the chance to work on small spaces (apartments). I have been collecting pieces for years and it is all stacked in my grandmother’s basement. I cannot wait to unveil!


The process behind each Cabbages & Kings piece is…

I keep a camera and journal with me at all times – I take note of color ways I love or patterns that jump out at me. I take inspiration from everywhere. From my travels – architecture, people, museums, food, all of my studies. I majored in Anthropology in college and focused on Andean cultures and so this continues to play out a lot in my design aesthetic. From here I come up with a theme for the season and I comprise a collection of about 30 pieces. For some items I keep the silhouette and just change the color ways (this happens mostly with the winter collections). Because the majority of our collections are hand-made, I am in constant contact with various artisan groups to solidify the details such as what patterns of hand-embroideries can be done etc.


Social media is…

A blessing and a curse.


My time management secrets are…

My old school plan book! I literally have to write things down and check things off… and I use white out in it! Haha.


Having my own business is…

A humbling experience. I am so lucky to be able to make my own schedule and plan my days around my children. It’s a creative outlet for me, something tangible that I can say I’ve done and made myself. It’s a great feeling.


Today I’m wearing…

A 3.1 Phillip Lim tank, Zara culottes and Isabelle Marant sandals.


The last meal I ate was….

Curry crab and dumplings on the beach. It is my absolute favorite West Indian dish.


My style essentials are…

Stud earrings (I have seven ear holes and rarely ever wear matching earrings), flats (love flats!), linen pants (love breathable materials), capes, black pencil pants, scarves (so versatile! head, belt, necklace…), sunnies (love my classic aviators).


I relax by…

Taking naps with my baby even if I only nod off for a few seconds.


I get stressed when…

People disagree with me!


I laugh when…

My kids argue with each other.


My most annoying habit is…

According to my other half: Loading the sink up when there is a dishwasher; Chipping non-stick pans; Driving like there is an emergency when there is not one; Cleaning up as we cook.


My next travel destination is...

Spain for a wedding!


After I finish writing this I’m going to...

Finish my beer and jump in the ocean.


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