Fashion has long been at the core of Carla Sibal-Thompson’s career. After graduating from the Parson’s School of Design she launched her own fashion label, Baghera. She also took Philippine publishing global during her helm as Editor-In-Chief of Mega Magazine. These days, the fashion icon and purveyor of elevated tastes is relishing in the joys of pursuing a childhood dream: art. She shares, “Living in London, I was surrounded by art everywhere. I became obsessed with a desire to express an inherent creativity inside me, even if it had been decades since I held a paint brush. There was an intuitive lead that I had tried to ignore for the longest time. After a year of trying to resist, I finally gave in. I bought some art material and just started. I have never looked back since.”
- What keeps you busy these days?
I am currently busy working on several commissioned portraits as well as a new collection of paintings for an upcoming exhibition here in London this summer.
- What is it about your work or career that you enjoy most?
I enjoy all facets of my career. You can say I live, eat, sleep and breathe art.
- What do you consider to be “hazards of the job?”
Overworking. Because it is such an all consuming passion, I need to consciously remember to take time off and focus on other things. I can go for days just painting. If not painting, gathering ideas and doing research and experiments on Old Masters techniques and materials.
- For women who aspire for similar careers, what would be your advice?
Heed the call. Just follow your heart. Even if it seems impossible, a path of least resistance will open up for you.
- What are the career milestones that inspire you to break the glass or mold?
Hitting that perfect technique. The goal always seems so far away, with no clear path to it. Whenever I look at great art, the skill and mastery of the Old Masters seem lost to me but at the same time fill me with so much inspiration.
- How do you balance work and family life? What are activities that enable you to bond with family?
My husband and I take long walks at least one day a week, it is very grounding and walking in nature seems to nourish our minds and spirits. London has an abundance of expansive parks and we love going back to our favorites and walking along the Thames River.
- How do you unwind or rewind? Any favorite spots in your current city that you consider as your me-time haven?
Since starting my career in Fine Art, I’ve gotten more into yoga and a daily meditation practice. I always have my yoga mat out and take stretching breaks between painting. The meditation helps cultivate peace and keeps me in a state of calm which is essential in order to create my best work. When working on commissions, the clients expect the work to be done by a certain date so there is a lot of pressure in making sure your churning out excellent work all the time.
I love going to the opera and watching classical concerts. London is full of them and sometimes host them for free. The Royal Opera house is a definite fave. They even have a plant filled roof deck space with couches to have cocktails.
- How would you describe your personal style? What are three your wardrobe essentials
Timeless and classic. My essentials are my Burberry trench, Chanel Jackets and Chanel accessories which take me from day to evening and go with anything.
- What makes for a good investment piece? Kindly cite examples of pieces in your current wardrobe.
Craftsmanship and luxurious materials. You can’t go wrong as these pieces stand the test of time, are made to last and transcend the changes in fashion. My Burberry trench goes with jeans just as well as a cocktail dress. I have a black Chanel jacket that goes with anything from denim shorts to an evening gown. Because the cuts are so classic, you can wear them for years.
- What do pearls mean to you?
Pearls to me are a symbol of nature, elegance and beauty. They are also timeless and refined while still being contemporary. I love how versatile and easy they are to incorporate into any ensemble. They also remind me of the Philippines and our beautiful seas.