Camilla Skovgaard fell in love with fashion at an early age, and has spent a lifetime making a name for herself as a premiere shoe designer.
Her name now synonymous with innovative luxury footwear, Skovgaard has achieved household recognition by outfitting a celebrity roster of clients in her beautiful shoes. Her design origins start in our very own Dubai, but she later developed her line in London. Camilla shares with us her style philosophy, why she loves Dubai, and gives us a peak into her personal wardrobe favorites.
"I’d like to think that Camilla Skovgaard shoes are the alternative for women who want to look sexy, but not conforming to the common ‘fruitcake’ idea of sexy..."
When and how did you fall in love with fashion?
As early as my childhood. In the 1980s, my family knew I had to watch Style With Elsa Klensch on CNN every week. Oh, how I thought that was a fab world of beautiful women. In my teens, I began sketching clothes, inspired in large part by the late Monsieur Erik Mortensen of Balmain – a fellow Dane who worked with Balmain during the golden years of couture in the 40s and 50s, and was later the head of the House when Balmain himself passed away. Mortensen was there for a glorious 48 years.
How did you start out in the industry?
When I finished high school and a diploma in womenswear in Denmark at age eighteen, I moved to Paris where I had been accepted at the only haute couture school in the world – La Chambre Syndicale de la Parisienne, which was the same school that trained Yves Saint Laurent and Jean Paul Gaultier. However, after six months in Paris, the Danish government changed the laws for students abroad and I could no longer afford it. Instead I took a day job in the city, saved some money and travel to the Far East and Australia for a year. Upon my return, I was offered a job in Dubai designing for the Gulf Arab ladies.
How do you stay on-trend and updated?
I don’t deal so much with ‘trends’ but more with a character and style of being. This is more genuine and lasting, I think.
How did you go about into design?
It was important to me to get a formal University degree – to prove to myself that I could see something through from start to finish. So, the moment I hatched onto footwear it was a natural step to find out what the best schools were. Cordwainers’ shoe college in London really stood out and I had some of the best years of my life there doing my BA (hons). Afterwards, I went onto my MA from the Royal College of Art, also in London.
Which type of women do you base your designs on?
I’d like to think that Camilla Skovgaard shoes are the alternative for women who want to look sexy, but not conforming to the common ‘fruitcake’ idea of sexy (that most women’s high-end brands seem to market). My designs are edgy, sexy, and elegant, but with rawness.
What sparks the creative process?
Anything. The worst thing is when you have to deliver designs to the factories on tight deadlines and you are not feeling anything in the ‘belly’. I have to feel something before I get really excited and it’s so great when that happens – that then quickly inspires even more things. It goes in waves.
What’s on your playlist?
At this very moment, club music from Amnesia Ibiza last year. ‘Foreign Substance’ by Grunjah and ‘1980’ by Dero & Rivera.
Who are your fantasy dinner-party guests?
Boy George, Rudolf Nureyev, Karen Blixen, W. Amadeus Mozart, Christian Bale, Christopher Hitchens… and then some crazy politician.
Dearest item in your closet?
A Rick Owens jacket. My whole wardrobe is Rick Owens. I love it all to bits. I see no need to wear any other designers.
The best thing about living in Dubai is…
Returning back from long work trips and booking a day at the beach and the pool at the Royal Mirage. Then ending the day with a spa massage and good dinner out at night with friends. I really love driving here when twilight zone hits – nowhere else do I have this calm, promising sense of the pink/purple sky with its hazy hinge of the desert. It just feels so familiar and secure from when I first came here eighteen years ago.
Camilla Skovgaard is available at Symphony, The Dubai Mall, www.symphony.ae