Charina in Paris
Designer Charina Sarte, husband Valentin Kretz and their son Noah.

Charina in Paris

WORDSWORTH - Mons Romulo (The Philippine Star) - February 16, 2021 - 12:00am

It’s been three years since fashion designer Charina Sarte moved to France, where she married and settled down with her long-distance love, Valentin Kretz. They now have a good looking three-year-old son named Noah, whom they plan to raise in France.

While her husband, Valentin, works for his family in their luxury real estate business, she has successfully continued her clothing line in Manila, which she has been managing through WhatsApp.

“I work from home and I start pretty early because of the six-hour time difference. I used to come back to Manila every two to three months to work but it’s almost been a year since I have, because of COVID.”

Charina has made us even more proud with the great news that her brand is now available at Le Bon Marche, reportedly the first Filipina clothes designer to have that distinction.

“I work with an agent that got me an opportunity to present to them. They came to our house to view the collection. I was so stressed but the buyer was so nice and told me that she knows the brand well and just came to see the clothes in person and order,” Charina reveals.

On her future plans, she says, “I would really love to be in more places internationally. We are also growing our online business more. I also just launched another brand of loungewear called Noah and Nara.”

We will also be seeing more of Charina with her husband and his family through the reality show called L’Agence, which is coming out on Netflix soon. Such good news, especially during these times. Here’s wishing Charina more blessings.

Charina shares with us the pros and cons of living in Paris.

The happy couple.


1. Exposure to a whole new culture. I think Filipinos by nature are a happy people. We are warm and hospitable. And despite hardships, we always manage to smile. Not to say that the French are not friendly. I’ve made a lot of friends who are French and it takes them a while to warm up. We both love a good party, though! So we have that in common.

2. You get away from some of the “draManila,” including the chismis and expand your bubble.

3. You learn to be independent because we don’t have help 24/7, which is also a con.

4. You can walk everywhere. We live in the second arrondissement, so we are literally in the center of Paris. Palais Royale is at the end of our street so you can find us there every day. Weekends we walk to the Tuileries, spend the afternoon there. And during spring or summer, we love to walk by the Seine and have Apéro there at sunset.

5. So easy to travel to neighboring European countries and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Memorable places for me are Lake Como and Florence, Barcelona for the food and Mykonos for the beach, although you don’t have to go far because there are also so many beautiful places in France.

6. Cheese and wine, need I say more?

7. There is a working healthcare system in France.

The Kretz family love the outdoors in Paris.


1. Understanding French culture is a long and winding road. How did I cope? I have to say even after three years here, I still have a lot to learn. It’s my home now and I am still discovering more.

2. The language barrier and the bureaucracy

3. Not seeing my friends is something I’m not sure I will ever get used to. I still get FOMO when I see everyone together.  I have a tight group of Filipino friends in Paris. So, when we are homesick we get together and cook Filipino food.



(We welcome your suggestions and comments. Please e-mail me at monsrt@gmail.com. Follow me on Instagram @monsromulo.)

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