By Carly Klein
The Italian shoe designer known for creating the dreamiest shoes for women has opened its doors at Bal Harbour Shops. Here, we go one-on-one with René Caovilla’s COO & Creative Director Edoardo Caovilla as he shares secrets to great Italian shoemaking along with exclusives only available at the newly opened boutique.
Since joining one of the most storied shoemakers of Italy in 2009, can you take us back to one of your most memorable moments at René Caovilla?
I have a lot of memorable moments, and most of them belong to my childhood. One of the best is the scent of chamois and leather when I was young in the company’s warehouse, where I used to spend my time watching employers magically create the René Caovilla shoe!
Can you describe the design process of your most iconic René Caovilla shoe?
The Snake Sandal is, without a doubt, our most iconic style. It was created by my father in the 60’s and is a timeless style and symbol of our brand. The inspiration comes from a Roman bracelet of the first century. b.c. which my father had seen during one of his travels in the late 60’s. Every single shoe is handmade by our expert artisans at our factory. Since 1929, René Caovilla has created couture shoes with handmade craftmanship and unparalleled excellence. Over the years, the Cleo Sandal has taken on various shapes and colors, survived fashions and trends, and is still one of our best sellers together with the Galaxia Sandal, which I created in 2017.
Where and how do you find your design inspiration?
Since I am an early bird person, the inspiration comes itself once I wake up. I go to bed with the creation of certain shoes in my mind and I often visualize them when waking up, and that is the reason why I usually go to the office very early. Another important source of inspiration comes from nature, especially from the sea and its inhabitants. I am an experienced scuba diver and thanks to my “underwater life” many models were born, such as our famous sandals with seashell and pearl embellishments.
As a third-generation Venetian master shoemaker and Creative Director and COO at René Caovilla, what do you believe is the most important legacy of the brand?
Craftsmanship is for sure one of the core values of René Caovilla. Italy is a country of artisans, and we work with extreme commitment and knowledge to create beautiful shoes. I really believe that this connection can be felt in every pair of shoes we create.
What are some ways the brand is “bridging the gap” between the past and the future?
At René Caovilla we look at the future without forgetting the past. Craftsmanship alone is not enough today. Innovation and new technologies have become the cornerstone of the ongoing evolution of René Caovilla, and for this reason we recently launched our new e-commerce website, and also expanded our digital presence through the online retail platform Tmall.
What can we look forward to most with the newly opened René Caovilla Bal Harbour Shops boutique?
Our Bal Harbour Shops boutique welcomes customers to discover our most iconic collections, featuring a wide variety of assortment, colors and model options. Every season we will showcase exclusive styles available only for our beloved Bal Harbour Shops’ customers as well as special events, made-to-order services and many other surprises.
Does the original DNA of the brand remain true today and how have you adapted to the evolving consumer experience?
Our core values are timeless: elegance, sophistication and femininity. Such values speak to any woman of any era. But while growing and becoming more international, we also started to speak to a wider and more digitized audience from all over the world. Hence, the importance of strong digital platforms and digital interactions to engage our clients remotely, as well as completely new store concepts that are fresher and cozier, which interpret our Venetian DNA with a fresh modern inspiration.
Of the newest collections, any favorites that are a must for our Bal Harbour shoppers?
I recommend you go and have a look yourself. You may fall in love with the Diana Thongs both in leather or in the espadrille version—minimal, chic and perfect from day-to-night. Don’t miss the exclusive colors available only at our Bal Harbour Shops store. You may also fall in love with our iconic Cleo Sandal, available in all possible heel heights, colors and embellishments.
If you’ve had the opportunity to visit Bal Harbour Shops, can you share one of your favorite memories with us?
Very often we associate shopping visits as indoor experiences. What I love about Bal Harbour Shops is that it is like walking in a park. I like the trees, the flowers and the koi ponds. I can simply walk outdoors while enjoying a 5-star shopping experience with the most beautiful brands just a few steps away. Anytime I want to take a pause, I can dine al fresco and sip a Cappuccino or rid homesickness with one of the most famous Italian recipes at Carpaccio!
Discover more at the René Caovilla boutique on Level 2 of Bal Harbour Shops.