Milton De Paul’s Los Angeles desk is a collage of paper goods. “I’m visual but also very tactile,” admits the Creative Director of Samuel & Sons. “Sometimes I just pick up calling cards to feel their paper quality and finishes.” 

Inspiration takes many forms, but also within reach are the practical tools for various projects he is juggling for the venerable company. Snippets for a catalogue are pinned to a corkboard, a dry eraseboard is poised for brainstorming concepts at virtual global meetings with colleagues, and thoughts for an advertising campaign or a table setting at an event are sketched in innumerable Moleskine notebooks invariably by his side. “The more I look at an idea, the more it comes to life,” is his mantra. Celebrated for light-hearted ads redefining passementerie and notorious for his ultra-zealous work ethic, Milton De Paul has inspired friends to coin a word for what does: “Miltytasking.”

Growing up in El Salvador, De Paul knew that he was different. “I was the odd kid,” he recalls of a youth that intersected with the Salvadoran Civil War. “I was fascinated by theatre design and lighting; I was drawn to fashion and textiles.” When a professor advised him, “There are no possibilities for you here,” De Paul agreed. At the age of eighteen, he announced to his family that he was leaving for New York City. 

This story appeared in the Fall 2021 issue of MILIEU. To read the complete story or to see all photos, visit the MILIEU Newsstand to purchase this issue in print or visit to purchase this issue in digital format.