Oftentimes we let ourselves guided by appearances; oftentimes we forget that behind a face there are feelings and emotions; and more often than not we choose to not bother and simply take for granted what others say, without further investigating if it is true or not.
Over the years, Cătălin Botezatu’s name has stirred much controversy, but somehow the things that are truly worthy of this name have either never emerged clearly or have been conveniently passed over by some. I admit I was extremely nervous when I met him and my hands were shaking before the interview, because I’m incapable of hiding my feelings. My state of mind was as such, due to the fact that on the one hand, I was about to meet him – a mega designer; and on the other, I was expecting him to be arrogant and fussy; since unfortunately, a lot of celebrities are so – they forget to act like decent human beings. We interrupted him in the middle of a shoot and although we told him we would only steal few minutes of his time, he patiently waited for us to go through all of our questions.
This is how we found out about his personal story – about the way he started out and eventually managed to become a symbol of Romanian fashion design, the awards he has received, the originality that boils in his veins, which prevents him from doing anything that could be deemed ordinary. There has always been an artistic side to him and if he hadn’t been a designer, he would have definitely become an actor. Perhaps fate had a say in this when he came to meet Bianca Brad, who recommended that he start a career in the fashion industry. He followed her advice and within a very short time he received the diploma that would allow him to take part in fashion shows abroad; and later on he won the first place for Best Model of the Year, an award he recievd in Frankfurt.
He was only 19 at the time, an age at which today’s youngsters have trouble deciding even on their college major. He was enchanted by this world – a world of glitter and glamour – but what lured him even more was the way in which clothes came into being. Thanks to them and thanks to women, a constant source of inspiration, he decided it was time he moved on to the next level. Thus, he took up a course at the European Institute of Fashion in Milan. His talent, and the passion that still makes his eyes sparkle when he talks about his projects brought him close to one of the greatest designers in the world: Versace – a magician of beauty, elegance, and the premium product. From his master he learned that a designer is more than a person who draws silhouette lines on paper that he subsequently drapes in clothes. A complete designer is one who gets involved in everything – from the show’s script to its music and accessories. He is in everything and everything is in him.
He had the chance to be among the 3 students selected for an internship at the Versace creation hub in Via Gesu, and the 6 months he spent in the company of the complex and ultimate designer turned him into what we see today. However, before Versace, there were two Romanian fashion designers whose reputations had gone beyond the country’s borders, that deserve a mention because they basically kick-started Cătălin Botezatu’s career at a time when Romania didn’t quite know what fashion meant. It was Simona Vlanga and Nae Ivanov that he “stole” the secrets of the job from and that helped him to develop a taste for putting together an outfit. Following the interview, I cannot help but wonder what would have happened if he had accepted Versace’s offer and stayed in Milan. Today we would have been undoubtedly poorer, because he would have no longer been one of us and other people would have enjoyed his talent and success.
Other countries would have taken pride in his show organized at an altitude of 10.000 m, in the photo shoot from Egypt and in the many features he gets in specialized international magazines such as Vogue. People such as Cătălin Botezatu are what we need in our country – people who are keen to stay, to win awards abroad, to launch fashion collections in some of the most exotic places in the world and to stay unique; people that will make foreigners who are oftentimes quick to judge us all too harshly to take off their hats. I am glad that emigration has never been an option for him and I am touched by the fact that he proudly claims to love Romania. He has travelled the country far and wide, and there is no single region he doesn’t feel drawn to; each corner has a special charm and an authentic beauty for the one and only Cătălin Botezatu.