Pola Thomson’s collections might fly slightly under the radar, but her modern, elegant silhouettes are the sort that get a gal noticed. The 35-year-old designer launched her namesake label six years ago and has quietly grown her business with a stable of private clients in her native Chile and New York, where she’s currently based. “I have been getting to know my customer better. The women that I dress and connect with — they usually have interesting lives with a lot of things going on,” she said. “They’re thinkers.”
Thomson studied at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile before working as a stylist for local fashion magazines in Santiago and developing two fashion labels there. Seeking to broaden her reach internationally, she moved to London, where she enrolled in classes at Central Saint Martins College of Arts & Design, and then to New York, studying briefly at The New School’s Parsons School of Design. In 2010, she launched her current brand out of New York, with some manufacturing done in Chile.
“The collection has grown a lot [since the beginning]. My voice was always clear, but I’m more secure now,” she said. “I used to do 25 looks each season and now I do 13. I’m superspecific about what I want to say. I’m sure that comes with age — being able to edit things down. Everything [in each collection] needs to be necessary.”
Thomson’s designs err on the side of simplicity — think off-the-shoulder bell-sleeve blouses or cropped bell-bottoms in silk faille — and often feature oversize or boxy proportions and bold, solid colors. Her latest spring lineup, showed at the Americas Society during New York Fashion Week last September in a presentation styled by Natalie Joos, featured her largest selection of knitwear to date — but absolutely no prints or embellishments. “There’s something about the aesthetic in Chile that resembles Nordic [design] a bit. It’s kind of simple, perhaps because of the isolation of the country,” she said. “If I talk about my background or how my designs developed, I would say it responds to that. It’s a practical femininity.”
The collections — sold in a few boutiques in Miami, Mexico and online — are priced from about $300 up to $1,500 for outerwear. Thomson also designs a selection of costume jewelry, mostly collars and bibs, made from perspex, rope and lacquered wood in sleek shapes that work to complement the clothing’s strongly etched silhouettes.
Her latest project, in the works for the past six months, both extends her grasp and brings her closer to home: “I’m going to open the very first concept boutique in Santiago,” she said. “There are none over there yet.” The shop will feature a curated selection of clothing, accessories and home goods from various designers. And, of course, from Thomson herself.