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Head Over Heels

Shoe designer Charlotte Olympia Dellal.

By Jessica Michault

From the moment the first pair of her signature platform heels hit the streets in 2008, Charlotte Olympia Dellal had a hit on her hands. Her unique design perspective, a combination of retro Hollywood glamour and a healthy does of humor, set Dellal’s shoes apart from anything else on the market.

Here, Dellal talks about her design process, her new collaboration with Havaianas and the biggest mistake women make when buying shoes.

What first drew you to designing shoes?
I have wanted to be a fashion designer since I was a young girl. I always enjoyed watching classic black and white movies from the silver screen and fell in love with the glamour. It was, however during my foundation course at the London College of Fashion that I discovered I wanted to specialize in footwear. My tutor noticed that I would design different accessories for all my outfits and encouraged me to pursue a career in footwear design. So I took my passion to Cordwainers, the world-renowned college for footwear and accessories in London where I was able to explore my interests alongside technical training in the craftsmanship of beautiful shoes.

What is your design process?
I love to give my collections a soul and a story. The design process starts by creating a mood and atmosphere, which manifests into the colors and textures of the materials and the design and silhouette of the shoe itself.  I believe in both form and function, being a female designer allows me to create from a woman's perspective and allows me to try the product first hand.

How would you describe your brand to someone who had yet to discover it?
I create classic designs with a modern silhouette and would describe my aesthetic as feminine and glamorous with a touch of humor. The essence of my brand comes from my love of old Hollywood glamour, an era I am nostalgic for.

If a woman could only buy one pair of your shoes which one is a must?
Kiss Me Dolores, a nude signature platform court shoe with a red lip design on the toe is one of my signature styles and a personal favorite of mine. It very much embodies the brand’s identity: it is playful, but also glamorous and feminine and a classic silhouette that goes with everything.

What is the biggest mistake a woman can make while buying shoes?
Never buy shoes that don't fit, they will never be comfortable!!

Do you have any tricks of the trade you have learned in terms of wearing shoes that you could share?
Always look after your feet. Regular pedicures keep your feet feeling good and looking great for pretty shoes.

You have three sons, so can we expect you will want to expand more into men’s footwear in the future?
I recently launched an “Incy for Boys” collection, which complement a few of the men’s styles we recently introduced. Now father and sons can wear Charlotte Olympia.

You are teaming up with Havaianas for a line of flip flops. How did that collaboration come about?
I am half Brazilian so I have been wearing Havaianas since I was little and it has always been a brand I wanted to work with; it was exciting to incorporate my own designs into a timeless classic.

What is the best piece of advice you ever got and who gave it to you?
My mother always told me that if it doesn't feel right it won't look right!

Do you have a motto you live by?
“The higher the heel, the better you feel!"


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