In 2017, it borders on cliché to say you met your significant other in your DMs—but in the case of Australian model Madison Borbely and her stylist beau Anthony Cataldo, their Instagram meet-cute is anything but trite.
“It’s funny; I wrote a thesis in college about Facebook being the end of romance,” Anthony tells us with a laugh. “But if it wasn’t for Instagram… well, I’ll let Madi finish.”
“I first saw Anthony at a nightclub in Hollywood and was enthralled,” Madison continues. “I did some stalking and added him on Instagram the next day; he sent me a direct message and that was that. Modern romance at its finest!”
Originally from Hawaii, Anthony’s resumé includes VIP and styling roles at Dior and Saint Laurent, the latter during the epic era of Hedi Slimane. Presently, he’s developing his own line of Hawaiian shirts, and moonlights as a stylist for a few clients from his luxury alma maters—including the one and only Lady Gaga. Madi is a major model in Australia who's making waves in the US following a move to the West coast; J Brand discovered her through her portfolio as well as Anthony’s Instagram, and instantly we were smitten.
Together, they’ve decided to set roots in downtown LA. We visited them in the 1920s factory that was renovated into the perfectly styled loft apartment they currently share with their adorable fur-baby Lou.
Anthony, you’ve worked at some of the world’s most influential fashion houses—Can you share a bit about the scope of your roles?
I’m very fortunate to have had these experiences. I was originally recruited to work for Dior Homme, where I learned nearly every aspect of high-fashion retail. It was a small boutique and staff, where we all did a bit of everything to run the iconic LA store.
Saint Laurent was amazing—what an epic moment for LA. That brand really started the recent fashion resurgence here. I was the VIP manager, and to be a part of the atelier right here in West Hollywood was truly remarkable, and something I will always remember with gratefulness and pride.
Has your time working in luxury influenced your personal style?
A: Being from Honolulu, my style has always been about this laid-back yet sophisticated approach. So when I started to work in luxury and be around some of the world’s most incredible fashion pieces, it was only natural to be inspired. I would often try to find the vintage originals of high-fashion pieces I desired, and have my tailor re-cut it; then I’d have a custom vintage piece, which I always thought was cool.
Madison, both your native Australia and your current city of LA embrace a more laid-back approach to life and fashion. How have both places influenced your style?
I grew up in the countryside of Australia, where fashion was not the most important thing. When I started modeling and working in Sydney, I saw this whole new world of boundary-pushing fashion. Australia and LA are very similar in terms of living, so it wasn’t too much of a transition moving to LA because there is the underlying chill factor running through both places.
LA has definitely added an edge to my style along with a no-judgment kind of experimental attitude; there are so many different kinds of people living here, and thus so many different styles, that it really allows you to find your own. But I think I still have a carefree part of my style that comes from growing up in Australia—when in doubt, I’ll always revert back to a looser jean and plain T-shirt.
We believe that our hometown of Los Angeles has become a major center of fashion and the arts, and you two live together in DTLA. Do you agree, and can you speak to LA’s transformation into one of the fashion capitals of the world?
A: I definitely agree, and in fact I feel as though LA has always been a fashion capital. For example, the music/surf scene and the way they dress has always been iconic and influential. However, in the early 2000s, LA was overlooked in the fashion world, and was even viewed as tacky. The recent LA fashion renaissance has been a long time coming—the whole city has been on fire lately. From the food scene to the arts, LA is getting rediscovered in many ways.
Do you think the LA lifestyle has a big influence on the world fashion stage?
A: 100%. Every level of the fashion industry is almost mesmerized by this LA lifestyle. From designers moving here to this laid-back vibe walking down their runways, LA is influencing fashion more than any city on earth.
We agree! And denim is such a major part of LA’s fashion aura. Can you describe your relationship with denim and your view on the role denim plays in the modern, stylish person’s wardrobe?
M: Denim is so vital in my wardrobe, and is the basis of my outfit 80% of the time. Now there are so many different cuts and washes and styles that the versatility makes dressing really easy and fun.
A: Denim is probably the most important fabric ever created. I’ve used it every day for as long as I can remember. It’s something that can work with anything in my wardrobe and it has always been my go-to. Originally created as workwear, denim now has a huge role in dressing well—it’s not a trend, but rather a classic.
What upcoming projects are you excited about?
A: My Hawaiian shirt line is coming along! We are about to start production in Honolulu. I think it’s the perfect project to show where I’m from and where I am now. Hawaiian shirts have a funny history of being cool but at times tacky—but either way they are a staple for anyone who resides in Hawaii or LA. I’m very excited to launch this, please hang tight everyone!
As a stylist and a model, you two both work with the medium of fashion in intimate and unique ways. Do you ever work together? Do you feel you’ve influenced each other’s style?
M: We actually rarely work together! But we definitely influence each other’s style to the point where we will be getting ready for a night out and walk out wearing literally the exact same thing. Then one of us has to end up changing.
A: Haha. We both inspire one another to be ourselves and dress the way we feel most comfortable. I’m from the city and she’s from the country, so there’s also a good balance there. I’m so happy to finally work together for this project!
We’re so happy too! We would love if you could each share a little about the project and what you envision when you think of J Brand?
M: J Brand was one of the first LA denim brands I discovered when moving here in 2013. It was always the first place I’d go when I needed a new pair of jeans. To me, J Brand’s jeans end up being tools people use to discover and create their own style. I’m obsessed with the Wynne High-Rise Cropped Straight because they’re beyond comfy but also super-flattering. I get so many compliments when I wear them, which is a sweet bonus too!
A: J Brand has always been the denim brand of LA, always producing high-quality classics and steering clear of temporary trends. I find this project very organic; I’ve known Mary (J Brand’s Senior Global Marketing and Communications Director) for quite some time now, and to have her and her team over to our loft and hang out for the afternoon was so fun. Our dog Lou loved it as well, haha! I love the black Tyler Slim Fit. A great black jean is always an essential in my wardrobe.
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