A stiletto loyalist, front-runner of flats and all round purveyor of glamour, Charlotte Olympia has garnered a legion of women to her designs. She talks about her latest collection, dream collaborations and the balancing act of work/family life…
How did you become a designer, what has been your journey?
It was glamour that got me interested in fashion. As a child I used to watch old movies with my mother, introducing me to silver screen classics including my favourite, Gilda. I wanted to be a fashion designer from a young age, but only decided to specialise in footwear during my foundation course at London
College of Fashion when one of my tutors commented on my emphasis on accessories when I designed outfits. I then went on to do a BA at Cordwainers learning the craft of footwear and started my own brand soon after I graduated.
What inspires your collections?
So many things inspire me including people, art, movies to fabrics, textures and colours. I love to give my collections a soul and a story. I love collecting beautiful things and I translate this by transforming everyday objects into something wearable. I am constantly collecting ideas whether it›s for a current collection or saving them to develop for future projects. For Cruise 16, Charlotte Olympia celebrates the glamorous grandma, enjoying her twilight years in style by the pool. Never without her dazzling jewels, her luxurious turban or her beloved lap dog, this collection explores the eccentricity, the glamour and the joie de vivre of the fashionable silver set.
With soft jewel tones, fun prints and rich embellishments, the collection has many tongue and cheek elements, yet remains timelessly elegant.
What does an average day look like for you?
I try to be full time at work and a full time mother; this is only made possible
because I chose to have my office very close to my house so I can almost be in
two places at once! I have always wanted a family and a business so I try my best
to make it work. Every day is different, but it always starts with breakfast with the
boys, followed by the school run and then into work for meetings and design and
finishes with bedtime reading for the boys and a dinner with my husband. My
ideal day off would be spent with my family.
If you could collaborate with someone who would it be and why?
Next year I am collaborating with three great brands. It is very exciting for me to be able to add my creative stamp to brands and products I love. I’ve always loved Agent Provocateur and have been collecting their beautiful lingerie for years.
Beautiful shoes and lingerie both have a positive impact on how you feel and
can instantly elevate you in every sense of the word! Funnily enough when I first
started to study fashion design I was very interested in corsetry. 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. Finally I have always seen MAC as a leading global make up brand and was very happy that they wanted to collaborate when I approached them with my dream project. We both share similar sensibilities making a great partnership. Beauty plays a big role in my life; my style is defined by my hair and makeup,
which is inspired by the glamorous stars from the silver screen.
What’s your favourite place to visit and why?
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (where my mother is from). Rio is my home away from home. The first and last thing I do when I arrive is have a run up and down Ipanema beach followed by a fresh coconut and admire one of the most beautiful views in the world.
What are your favourite items from the collection?
*Wallace sandal – a glamorous red silk satin sandal with an elegant bow ankle strap – perfect for the party season!
*Vreeland sandal – a sculptural platform sandal draped with metallic python and luxurious twisted fabrics.
*Dolly On The Rocks pumps – jewel encrusted heel and platform glimmers on seasonal swimming pool blue Dolly.
*A Girl’s Best Friend clutch bag – a larger than life emerald cut Perspex clutch bag in emerald green.*Newman handbag – off white leather handbag decorated with beautiful jewel embellishments.
*Heirloom Case – a clear perspex vault box designed complete with a bejeweled
velvet insert to keep your sparklers locked up but always on show!
On a separate design note, how have you decorated your home?
Are you more shabby chic or modern lines? I have a family so my house is very
much a home rather than a showcase. I would say it was eclectic, a collection
of things old and new, some past memories and new additions. Like my shoe designs, the foundations are classic, but I do like to accessorise. I love mid-century
design which inspired my past Fall 15 collection, ‘A World of Interiors’.
What item can you not leave the house without?
Red lipstick; it instantly makes me feel glamorous regardless of what I am wearing.
It’s a timeless classic that goes with anything and everything.