The first time I met Paola, it was on a typically biting cold day in Paris. I was feeling quite euphoric from having just exited the Dior show, Simons’ first, and was heading to St. Germain for a “small gathering of friends” in honor of the newly married couple, Tinko and Paola. It could have been just another routine celebratory evening, except I caught a glimpse of the guest list—and almost every other name began with an “HRH”. Right away, Paola charmed. She was effortlessly dressed in a white Barbara Casasola pantsuit and I noted that she held her head like a dancer, and carried herself like a princess.
When I first heard of Paola, it was at a smaller yet equally stylish affair. I hadn’t known Tinko for long. Discussing my recent engagement, he proudly stated that he, too, had met the love of his life. Within two years of that conversation, Tinko and Paola married in an intimate ceremony in Brussels.
And now, the three of us were all together, and I was curious as to how they would introduce themselves in an interview setting. Tinko was endearingly protective, worried that Paola might not be able to express herself as intended, even though her English is perfect—it came across coated with a slightly husky accent, indicative of her blue-blooded upbringing.
“My name is Paola Orléans e Bragança; that is not my full name, but that is how I refer to myself. I am a designer—a product designer. I began in jewelry, but now I am trying to find my way with my new line of scarves.
Her full name is actually Dona Paola Maria de Bourbon Orléans e Bragança Sapieha, Princess of Sapieha-Rozanski and Princess of Swiatopolk-Czetwertynski. She is the daughter of Polish Prince Jan Pavel Sapieha-Rozanski and Dona Cristina Maria do Rosario de Bourbon Orleans e Bragança. She is the great-great-great-granddaughter of the last Emperor of Brazil, Dom Pedro II, and Dona Isabel e Bragança, the last Imperial Princess of Brazil. Paola is also a cousin of the King of Spain, Juan Carlos I. She is a model, Editor at Large, DJ, and designer.
“My name is Tinko Czetwertynski and I am a photographer specializing in portrait, fashion, and art photography.”
“Tinko” is, in fact, a Vogue and Vanity Fair photographer, and his full name, for the record, is Prince Constantin Swiatopolk-Czetwertynski. He is the son of Prince Michael Swiatopolk-Czetwertynski, a Belgian diplomat who poignantly was the ambassador of Belgium in Brazil in the early 90s. Though of Polish origin, the family ended up in Belgium when the Nazis and Soviet troops pursued the noble families during the Second World War.
Paola and Tinko are in love.