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Meet René Caovilla's creative director

Q&A
Edoardo Caovilla.

Last Saturday, Edoardo Caovilla, COO and Creative Director of René Caovilla, made a special appearance at Neiman Marcus to present the brand’s 80th anniversary capsule collection. Here, we spoke to Edoardo about his inspirations, family values and what the future of Rene Caovilla looks like.

You pulled some of the most iconic styles in the brand’s history for the capsule collection for Neiman Marcus—how would you describe Caovilla’s style evolution since 1934?
Since the beginning of our history we have been creating masterpieces of arts, elegant jeweled creations that link tradition and research, craftsmanship together with innovative techniques. The world has changed and so the luxury industry, but we keep the same passion and care for this incredible work.

For the capsule collection we picked up the most iconic models and together with the creative team we studied how to add a contemporary touch and update them – through the choice of materials, embroideries and using the most advanced technique combined with the super skills of our artisans.

As of 2009, you are the third generation of the family running René Caovilla. How does family legacy affect your objectives for the Caovilla brand?
When I was young I used to spend my time watching my father. He loves making shoes and he carried me the same passion. He taught me to conceive beautiful creations, emphasize innovation and build unique collections.

My family is my first source of inspiration. I have a lovely wife and three incredible children: daughters and a son. They always support me and follow my work.

How does the brand compare today to when your grandfather started the company in 1934?
My grandfather Edoardo started the business in 1934 between the two wars, they were difficult times with high poverty. However he had the crazy and strong idea of creating handmade and precious shoes… for sure he was a visionary for that time. Today I am very honored to represent the third generation running the company and being creative director, I feel the responsibility of carrying over the heritage of this wonderful brand.

My mantra is to always look forward. We mix tradition with innovation, craftsmanship with technology. I work with a young team and artisans that have incredible skills and a great passion for their work. The key is to be curious and always look for new challenges and opportunities.

Family inspiration seems to be a common theme in your life; I read somewhere that you learned to cook by watching your Mom. What is your favorite dish to prepare?
I love cooking, especially the Italian dishes. For me cooking is about my family traditions and history, there is a truly interesting culture around food and that’s always something new to discover.

My mom has always had the passion for cooking and she taught me many “kitchen’s secrets” from typical Venetian recipes to others Italian “must cook”.

It’s amazing how food and cooking can bring people together, let them share fantastic moments and happiness. I like to cook for friends coming to Milan from all around the world, it’s my way not only to practice more and more but also a great chance to enjoy friends and good things of life .

We’ve discussed culinary inspiration, but more importantly, where do you draw inspiration for your designs?
Inspiration could come at every moment of our life, the ability is to get it and transform it immediately in a concrete creation. I can find inspiration anywhere: in a landscape, a painting, in a building or dress.

I spend some time in our museum and archive—at our headquarter and production site in Venice—that gathers all the René Caovilla shoes from the 30s till today. I grew up in that wonderful place, I found it so inspiring, it’s a way to enter into a dialogue with my creative maestros, my grandfather and my father.

Your brand is defined by timeless “ultra-femininity.” What does this mean to you, and how does it manifest in your designs?
Luxury is no longer something only for the special occasions, luxury is about being special in every moment of our life. I really like giving a luxury touch to the casual looks. I added embroidery and crystals to the sneakers and espadrilles, crystal studs and stones to the biker boots.

Women wish to feel unique 24 hours a day, and I want to bring that preciousness and uniqueness in their lives—even when they wear a pair of jeans, they travel and walk around, they cook, they discover and enjoy life.

What is your favorite design from the capsule featured at Neiman Marcus?
I actually don’t have a favorite one since all them represent the history of the brand and the creativity of our family. For us this is key to emphasize our history and give value to our craftsmanship and artisans by creating desirable and precious shoes that combine the unparalleled heritage with creativity, extravaganza and the urban, contemporary femininity.

We selected the most feminine styles that made our history and we added a contemporary touch. Selection spans from a colorful tulip patterned low heel pump to beaded Masai style sandal with gros-grain ankle strap, without forgetting the re-edition of the signature snake shoe in hot pink featuring multicolor feathers and crystals.

Let’s jump ahead to René Caovilla’s 160th Anniversary, and they are pulling your current designs for their capsule collection. Which of your designs would you choose for the capsule, and how do you see the brand in that far-off future?
I put no limits to imagination and creativity, my passion will continue to drive me in creating the most feminine and extravagant haute couture shoes and to bring the Venetian shoemaking art around the world.

Caovilla is transforming into a women accessories brand - including bijoux and other categories – with a high selective and strong distribution worldwide as well as a relevant digital voice.

Maybe we will celebrate the uniqueness of Caovilla creations with a capsule collection made by glam shoes and sparkling bijoux.

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