Chantelle Pabros: sommelier, suit designer

Heather Shouse
Photograph: Mireya Acierto
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Chantelle Pabros looks good pouring wine. And that’s not just because the L20 sommelier knows her stuff, but because she dons dress suits custom-made from her own designs, including the one pictured below. Traveling around the globe to bone up on wine, Pabros discovered she was as interested in the haute couture hanging in boutique windows as she was in the barrel tastings in cellars. But it became clear that what looks good doesn’t always feel good. “We’re lugging cases upstairs, moving quickly during service,” Pabros says. “A Dolce &Gabbana suit is great for sitting back and enjoying the evening, but working in it is a different story.”

So she pushed D&G to the back of the closet and started designing her own suits. “I read books on it, studied couture runway shows, bought the same pads and markers designers use and just started sketching,” she says. The difference was in the details—breathable materials that stretch with movement, a dry-fit inner lining with removable underarm patches, even strategically placed pockets for hiding a wine key. Her father, a pilot who flies to China a few times a month, took her sketches on a recent trip, when a contact at a Shanghai fabric market brought the designs to fruition. The six prototypes for the fledgling line only recently arrived by mail. “My time is devoted to work at L20,” Pabros says. “But when I wear my suits and get responses from others in the industry that they would love to have something similar, it’s a really tempting dream.”

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