Charlotte Dellal, the woman behind the shoe brand, Charlotte Olympia was recently down in Dubai to celebrate her new store opening at Mall of the Emirates. I was lucky enough to get the chance to sit down and talk to her… Down to Earth, talented and looks like a pin up doll, we spoke about the Middle East, the importance of comfort in shoes and her favourite London hotspots.
This season, I had to get my hands on the Anna May Wong sandals from the Shanghai Express collection (Charlotte was wearing them when I interviewed her!)
How does it feel to be in Dubai? I just heard that the last time you were here was 13 years ago?
Yes I was here 13 years ago.. Now it’s completely different..all those buildings..lot of things obviously has changed.
How important was it for you to open up a store here in Dubai?
It is pretty important..we focus on the states and this year I’ve been to Hong Kong, and now we are here in Dubai! When the opportunity comes to a right moment, we do it. It’s so exciting having a store here.
Honestly it looks great and I heard you’re going there right after the interview for the first time! Any plans for other stores in the Gulf?
I have many plans but I just opened my first one, slowly but surely. It is a good start to have a presence in Middle East.
You can always tell when someone is wearing a Charlotte Olympia shoe but each season is completely different. What inspires you and how do you come about a collection?
Several things inspire me. The last few collections that inspired me starts mainly with a place. The full Shanghai express was inspired by China. It’s about having an outside perspective and also being so romantic when you see it. Shanghai express is a more glamorous, a bit richer with colors, tassels, patterns, designs and when we go to Mexico, flowers, colors, and festivity! It is inspirational, taking beautiful elements from places in transition to the designs.
Is it comfort or design for you when creating a shoe?
Both, because it is not one more than the other. I design shoes to be worn and at the same time I like to design things that look good – fashion pieces, I love them to look beautiful off and when they’re worn.
Do you have a favourite from the collection?
I shouldn’t say this but yes! I love my Chinese Lantern bag and fan bag.
So do you tend to style yourself around the shoes or around the clothes?
It depends on my outfits, I always go for something classic with a standout piece. I want to wear outfits that can be accessorized more than once..I dress from the feet up!
What are you currently working on?
I just launched a leather goods collection, which is exciting!
Are those out yet?
Yes they are going to be out, and to be launched next week on my website and in my stores.
Lastly, What are your favourite London hot spots?
I love the Royal Institute of British Architects – a beautiful building in W1 Central London, an Art deco building with beautiful ceilings (I once showed there!) a secret, yet not so secret place. Another place I love is, Dock kitchen near my house, Ladbroke Grove. It started up as a pop up but because the food was so good, and everyone loved it – it became permanent. The menu changes every week! I go there every day…
I like Golborne Road – just on top of Portobello. I like Portobello Market but I just can’t do it anymore – so many people! Golborne have a lot of antique stores, the odd vintage store and nice cafes. (They just have odd opening hours!)