Thursday, June 5, 2008
ARCHITECTURE OF BEAUTY: The "Elegant Cool" Shoe designs of Camilla Skovgaard
Photo courtesy of camillaskovgaard.com
When most people think of beauty, they usually refer to something tangible, something that raises the adrenaline, tantalizes the senses or something that's pleasing to our psyches at a particular moment in time. Simply put—beauty in its purist form means "order." It is evident that creative order is the driving force behind the masterful designs of Camilla Skovgaard.
The Denmark born Skovgaard is no stranger to detail and precision. One thinks of a beautifully "built" shoe; the result of a cosmic pairing of artist and architect. Obviously, Skovgaard manages to be both: "I am primarily concerned with form and material, design rather than decoration," states the designer in an AW08-09 press release. Staying power is the ultimate goal of Skovgaard, who is determined for her designs to remain on the high fashion horizon long after, as she so eloquently puts it, "short-lived fashion gimmicks have disappeared into oblivion." One must agree; "oblivion" is certainly not a term that comes to mind when contemplating the long-term impact of Skovgaard's creative vision on the future of shoe design. Neither is lack of training.
In her late teens, Skovgaard relocated to Paris to study couture and at the tender age of 20, a French-owned fashion house transported her to Dubai to create designs for none other than the Gulf Sheikh's wives and daughters. This experience soon led her to shoe design.
After spending seven years in Dubai, she moved to London in 2000 to complete her BA, with honors, at Cordwainers shoe-college. During her studies at the Royal College of Art in London, from which she received her Masters in 2006, Skovgaard's signature design and provocative style began to manifest through her contacts with Italian members of the high-end shoe manufacturing industry.
Open-air patterns of star-crossed weave and interlacing permeate the AW08-09 collection. The sexy woven designs layered across the naked foot served as the origin of the collection. In Skovgaard's own words, such terms as "rock and roll grunge element, hardware, and high-tech leather" describe her creations.
Skovgaard's rising star was spotted by US fashion retail giant, Saks Fifth Avenue, who quickly snapped up the talented designer's first collection. Numerous awards and collaborations fill Skovgaard's résumé: in 2005 she was appointed shoe designer for British fashion house, Matthew Williams, with whom she has an ongoing collaboration. The latest addition to her long list of partnerships is Emilio Pucci, (AW08-09, Milan Fashion Week). Other notable achievements include an invitation to Membership in The Guild of Master Craftsmen, November 2003, and winner of the Queen Elizabeth Scholar Award for excellence in British Craftsmanship, June 2007.
Camilla Skovgaard's designs are as strong as they are innovative, empowering the wearer with confidence, beauty, and style, and aspiring to a sense of what the designer calls “elegant cool”(I hope she doesn’t mind, but I intend to use this phrase from now on). Like well-constructed housing for the feet, Skovgaard’s designs strike one as being much more than 'mere footwear.'
FA'SHOE'NISTAS take note: the era of "elegant cool" has arrived.