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Catching Up With Camilla Skovgaard

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Between homes in Dubai and Hong Kong and a base in London, footwear designer Camilla Skovgaard doesn’t make it stateside as often as some of her fans might like. But after a month in China building out her business in Hong Kong, Skovgaard (left) was in town to preview her Spring 2011 collection (below) at the Elizabeth Charles boutique in the West Village last night. The Denmark-born Skovgaard, who spent four years designing at Matthew Williamson before striking out on her own, has built a growing following for her vertiginous heels, often featuring sawtooth soles, and this year, was nominated for Accessories Designer of the Year at the 2010 British Fashion Awards. caught up with the globe-trotting designer for her thoughts on global trends, rubber soles, and why she’s feeling turquoise this spring.

How was your trip to China? What’s the market like over there?
There’s quite a few good stockists over there, but it’s also a bit all over the place. It’s growing there, though. One of the interesting things I discovered was I do this really tall over-the-knee boot, and a lot of Russians are buying them, but my next biggest market for them is Hong Kong, which was quite the surprise. The customers are generally quite short there, so the boot would be going all the way up to the crotch! But I like their gutsiness.

You’ve become known for this ridged, rubber “sawtooth” sole. How did that come about?
It actually started in Spring 2009, and I was looking at this sandal and I thought, why don’t we blow up the sole? It sort of unintentionally became my signature. But now, of course, I think, how long can I sell these saw soles? For Spring, I was conscious to only do it for only some of the designs.

I’ve heard women say that the exaggerated rubber sole is comfortable, though.
It’s good for a stiletto heel and it’s great for winter. It has this grip to it. And I’m the type of person, every time I step out in a new pair of shoes, it’s pouring down rain. It doesn’t matter if it’s summer. So now with all this rubber, I can say, “Come and get me, I’m ready!”

Back to the upcoming Spring collection, I see some nudes, but there’s a bright turquoise sandal, too. We’ve mostly seen neutrals from you.
I tend to love to have everything really dark. I wear a lot of black. But I was in the Mediterranean this summer and last summer, and I have to say it was quite cheerful with this light and the beautiful lemon and olive trees. I can’t believe I’ve actually put my name on a turquoise shoe. It’s a big step for me. But sometimes it is a bit of a question whether to do color. My fear is [being] too bubble-gum. I try to find a balance.

Speaking of traveling, do you make it back to Denmark ever?
I go back for Christmas for four days. I go back and visit my family. But it’s a bit sad to go back this time because I had a lovely dog in Denmark. She passed away in September.

What kind of dog?
A boxer. It’s funny because we’ve never really been boxer people. My parents have dachshunds. But it was love at first sight when I saw her. She was with me for 12 years, and she never, never touched my shoes—it’s like she knew!

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