Charlotte Dellal has a lot going on. The British footwear designer, of the semi-eponymous label Charlotte Olympia, has an upcoming collaboration with Tom Binns inspired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s upcoming exhibition Punk: Chaos to Couture, and she’s a recently released a collection of astrological-inspired shoes. But Dellal took a break from jet-setting (in her signature pumps, always) to talk to DuJour in the famed shoe department of Bergdorf Goodman. We got down to business, immediately.
DuJour: First thing’s first: What’s your sign?
Charlotte Dellal: I’m a Gemini, but my feet are Virgo.
You’re feet are Virgo. What does that mean?
It means that I’m a Gemini [pictured], but I like my Virgo shoes.
The Cosmic Collection was all flats, but you’re most known for designing sky-high platforms. Do you find think they are both comfortable?
I always say, “What kind of woman would I be if I were designing uncomfortable shoes for other women to wear?” So, they’re all tried and tested by yours truly; I believe they’re comfortable.
Do you try every style that’s coming out?
I am the guinea pig; nothing isn’t tried on by myself. I only wear my own shoes, so it’s not like I have to change out of other peoples and try mine for a bit.
Which shoes are you wearing today?
Are these your favorite color?
I love the color red—be it a red dress, stockings, shoes, lipstick, hair and nails, I love the whole thing. Even red wine! I go through phases, for example, in my La Vie en Rose collection, I really liked pink. It was French-inspired, and I wasn’t necessarily a very pink person until recently—even though I’m wearing pink tights now. I think I can boldly say that I love leopard print and I love red.
How would you describe your signature look?
It’s always the same hair and red lips, regardless of whether I’m wearing leather pants and t-shirt with my Converse. I think it’s the hair that gives me a look. Otherwise, I have a simple wardrobe, and that’s why I do go kind of heavy on accessories and am not shy to wear more statement pieces like pumps or bags.
Have you always dressed like this?
I definitely have the same sense of style; the things that I love now I’ve carried on from my childhood. I’ve always loved old movies, since I can remember: old Hollywood glamour, watching my mother dress up, my grandmother, who was super glamorous and came from an era that I love—the ’40s and ’50s. I have always admired the way that she dressed. My hair is like my grandmother’s. I’ve always loved things like fringing. I’m quite obvious about what I like, everyone knows I love leopard print, sequins, and fringing in general. I’ve loved that since I was little, I grew up with feathers. Give me all of that, please!
You must have looked very cool growing up, then.
My mother wouldn’t let me out the house in feathers and sequins. I definitely appreciated it, though, 100 percent. I did have the odd sequined little number, but, you know, nothing inappropriate. I was actually quite soberly dressed as a child. I think maybe when I was 13 I was allowed to really choose what I was allowed to wear.
When were you allowed to start wearing lipstick?
I never used to wear lipstick, but I wore eyeliner. I only started wearing lipstick when I first dyed my hair red, because I loved red lipstick with red hair. It was my love for Rita Hayworth. I think redheads look good in red lipstick, and it started sticking, I guess.
Rita Hayworth had a lot of odd beauty routines that she did, for example, she moved her hairline up an inch. Are there any things that you’ve taken from that era of beauty?
Normally, [my hair] looks like I’ve just got done with the salon, because I set my hair every week the old-fashioned way. I pin curl it, set it under the dryer for an hour, and then finger-wave it. So it’s high maintenance for that hour and a half, but it’s very low maintenance to keep up. You wake up and it’s kind of like a helmet—it doesn’t move and stays the same. I also do the half moons on my nails, I guess that’s kind of old fashioned. I don’t like to say that I’ve got a retro fashion sense, but I think it’s nostalgic.
Are there any pieces that you have from your mother and grandmother?
I have a few pieces from my mother that I wear—most of them have sequins on them. There are some things that are super special that I can’t bear to keep in the back of my cupboard, never having them see the light of day, so I’ve box-framed things. I have a beautiful vintage Versace suit—Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean-print suit—that belonged to my mother that I’ve framed. So that becomes a piece of art, as well—it’s my kind of art.