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Q&A with Lauren Santo Domingo

Style maven Lauren Santo Domingo founded Moda Operandi with a clear vision: to bring sophisticated fashion directly from the runway to the consumer. Now a highly successful e-commerce brand, the one-stop shop for designer clothing has provided women with a new way to browse the latest collections. Indagare spoke to the co-founder, creative director and globetrotter about her inspiration for the business, her most beloved boutiques and her favorite city in the world.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620"]Interior of Moda Operandi Madison Moda Operandi Madison[/caption]

Why did you start your business? When we first launched Moda Operandi in 2010 the inspiration was to give women the power to shop an entire runway collection—a simple concept that, shockingly, no one had thought of yet. What makes Moda Operandi unique is the power we give to the consumer. Our core business, the concept of a trunk show, puts the client first and allows her to make a purchase that is unedited from the runway. Our goal is to continue to connect our customer directly to designers from all over the world, allowing her to choose who she wants to be next season and how she will dress.

From the beginning, it was our goal to create a company that worked within the industry while helping designers to grow. Early in my career, I saw how difficult and costly it is to launch and produce a collection without tremendous financial backing. Moda Operandi is not only a valuable revenue stream for designers, but an excellent platform for emerging talent.

Read More: Five Questions for... Madeline Weinrib

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620"]Woman's hands holding tea cup at cafe table with croissant and teapot Courtesy Atout France, Nathalie Baetens[/caption]

How have your travels influenced your personal style, and how have your travels influenced your brand? Figuratively and literally, my career has taken me all over, but in the best way possible. They say things dull with time, but for me Paris never disappoints. From the shopping to the museums and overall magical ambiance, the city is unfailingly enchanting. Having spent a good deal of time in Paris as a student, an editor, a mother and now an expat, I have seen my fair share of Parisian style. French women get dressed properly no matter their agenda, and drink from actual coffee cups, both of which I find terribly refreshing.

In addition to myself, the Moda team travels around the world seeking out new talent. It is important that we are consistently bringing in new and exciting designers that hail from places other than the “four fashion cities.”

As a frequent traveler, what are some of your favorite cities for shopping? Do you have any favorite boutiques? Beloved recent travel purchase? To be honest, I am much more of an online shopper. In the rare case I want to pop into a store; I love De Vera in Manhattan, La Coqueta (5 Heath St; 44-20-7435-1875) in London for childrenswear and JAR in Paris. I have two goddaughters and I give them a charm for a bracelet at every celebration or milestone. They are too small to appreciate receiving them, but I love finding special pieces everywhere I go.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620"]Palm trees at Casa San Agustin in Cartagena Colombia Courtesy Casa San Agustin, Cartagena[/caption]

Do you have any favorite destinations to which you consistently return? Southampton it is the perfect escape from the city even for a short weekend in the summer. We spend the holidays in Cartagena, which is charming but still feels a bit undiscovered. Our favorite restaurants there are Juan del Mar, La Vitrola and Alquimico Bar (Calle del Colegio #34-24; 57-5-660-9118), all of which are beautiful spots for a fun evening. The Naval Museum of the Caribbean (Calle San Juán de Dios #3-62; 57-5-664-2440) also just reopened and is wonderful!

With such a hectic schedule, where do you go and what do you do to wind down? Someone recently asked me what time I finish work. The answer is never. I don’t really switch off; it’s not in my DNA. I love my work and feel fortunate to be a part of Moda. My days are all over the place, but achieving balance is imperative. Hardcover books are my greatest indulgence. Luxury, to me, is having the time to read them.

What is always in your carry-on bag? I prefer to travel with just the essentials, which usually includes my phone charger, international converters and, most likely, my iPad in place of the book I am reading. If there’s room, I will toss in a pair of sunglasses and Georgia Louise rose water spray.

What are you doing for New Year's Eve? We usually spend New Year's on an island off of Cartagena. The weather is perfect in December, and it’s one of my favorite places in the world. This year, however, we plan to stay home on New Year's Eve and skip all the festivities in favor of something quieter.

Read More: Five Questions for... Photographer Gray Malin

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