The creatives and businesswomen on sketching in Biro, building a hot brand (while breastfeeding) and cartoon pants
One is a vintage Hollywood obsessive known for red lips and leopard print, who made her name with towering 40s style platforms. The other has attracted a legion of magpie fans with her girlie,glittery rainbow-explosion aesthetic, while harbouring a love for R&B. But Charlotte Olympia, who celebrates her label’s tenth anniversary this year, and Sophia Webster, who has just opened her second standalone store (in London’s Sloane Avenue) have a lot in common. Namely, being successful shoe designers, an arena historically dominated by men. Each of their brands carry their own names, and each live and breathe their particular styles, which run through all their designs like a stick of Brighton rock. They’re both mothers – Charlotte to four - yes, four - boys, and Sophia to a little girl, Bibi, and a 12-year-old stepson – with twin girls due the very month you read this. We sat these two glamorous soles (sorry) down to discuss all the above, and more…
Charlotte: What are the very first shoes you remember?
Sophia: I remember arguing with my mum because I was adamant I wanted to wear my tap shoes to nursery. My mum let me in the end, but it wasn’t very practical. I think the noise drove everyone a bit mad. I didn’t get really into shoes until much later, when I was in college.
CO: The same for me. I always loved them and wanted to be a fashion designer, but I literally didn’t know you could just design shoes until I did my foundation course.
SW: I didn’t either. I studied fine art, and one day we did some life drawing with a fashion model wearing clothes, and I realised I really enjoyed drawing the shoes.
CO: When I was young, I wanted to be a movie star. And then I wanted to do costumes, which led me into corsetry. I did a foundation course and I kept drawing hats, shoes and bags. My tutor said, ‘You’re very focused on accessories. Why don’t you do shoes?’ You’re a fine artist and I’ve seen your beautiful sketches, but I can’t draw to save my life. I draw mine in Biro…
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