Catalina Gonzalez makes everything look chic, from her dreamy tablescapes to her travels—all while juggling four boys and a burgeoning business. Her company, Dondolo, creates luxury children’s clothing that marry heirloom quality with playful design, all ethically manufactured in her home country of Colombia.
We caught up with Catalina to learn what inspires her approach to design, how her heritage and family influence her entertaining style and why giving back is at her core.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got to Dallas from Colombia.
I grew up in Cartagena, Colombia, came to the US for college and ended up at SMU where I met my husband during freshman year. This year we are celebrating 17 years together!!
We have 4 beautiful boys! Santiago is 9, Jaime 6, Luis 4 and Baby Robert 1, “Bosco'' our Bernese mountain dog, “Olaf” the bunny, “Cookie” the guinea pig and “Lemon” the goldfish.
What are your favorite occasions to host? Are there any traditions from growing up in Colombia that you bring to the table today?
I love hosting birthdays because I love celebrating life! Especially those of loved ones around me, family and friends. Christmas is definitely my favorite, because my husband's birthday is on the 24th so it's a double celebration.
We have loved following along with your gorgeous dinners on Instagram. What’s your approach to bringing these tablescapes to life?
I approach a tablescape the same way I approach all the Dondolo designs. It starts with colors, and the challenge of how to make all the colors I'm feeling work in a beautiful, fluid way. Even if it's a monochromatic table, I love the challenge of making all the ‘blues’ play well and complement each other.
My 4 boys and my husband are always around through the process of setting the table - always asking how to help, giving advice about where to put the napkins or the wine glass, or wanting a wine glass on their seat to be able to toast too…
The core of your business is about giving back and you do this by employing mothers in Colombia to bring your collections to life and through various social causes, including offering your clothing to children in need (over 5,000 pieces donated to date). Can you share with us what giving back means to you?
Giving back is my ‘why,' my purpose, my dream. For me giving back means a way to live and a way to run a business. It’s my way to teach my children that we are called to serve others and always help the ones that need it the most.
Oh my goodness I love this idea so much! Elizabeth Lake Besos Napkins (I am obsessed), Margarita or Tequila Sets from Ellis Hill, Coral Plates from Pomelo Casa, Wine Glasses from Estelle Colored Glass in red or pink, Garden Rose Melamine Plate from Shop the Avenue.
Who do you look to for inspiration – fashion, interiors and beyond?
Fashion designers: Johanna Ortiz, Wes Gordon, Emilia Wickstead, Brock Collection, Horror Vacui, Zimmerman.
Interior designers: Ariel Okin, Miles Redd.
Movies: Wes Anderson
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to read and will read 2-3 books at the same time. Travelling no matter if it’s a 2 hour road trip or across the ocean to Europe, I find there's something magical about escaping and learning about different cultures. Tablescaping is something I really enjoy and it's been an amazing creative outlet during covid times!
3 tips for a great party?
Select a theme that brings you joy. Relax. Enjoy every minute of it.
Favorite piece from EL?
It’s the dinner party of your dreams.. set the table for us!
What: Cartagena nights
What to wear: Carolina Herrera Bandeau mini dress (perfect shade of orange-bow in front)
On the Table: Citrus and florals (bougainvilleas, bird of paradise flower…)
Under the Table: Sand
On the Plate: Colombian fare and seafood: coconut risotto, lemon sea bass, coconut pie for dessert
In the Glass: White wine or rosé
Around the table (dead or alive): Family and friends