camilla elphick and lulu the cavachon
The amazing shoe designer talks networking, PEZ and cats!
Words: Simon Glazin Pictures: Rikki Percival
You might have seen Camilla's PEZ shoes bandied around Instagram and like me, you probably 'double tapped' a few of the pictures. Well, all of them actually. They are infectiously amazing, feel good shoes. And, I hear, actually super comfortable too, which we all know is rare when it comes to heels. But behind the super fun shoes is a serious business woman.
From showing her first collection only two years ago, for Spring Summer 2015, her shoes were immediately snapped up by online retailers Avenue32.com and Luisaviaroma.com. And it's easy to see why retailers jumped on board. Manufacturing everything in Italy, using only the finest ethically sourced materials, and drawing inspiration from her many trips around the globe (including New York, where she studied at Parsons School of Design - renowned for its fashion and design courses), Camilla's shoes have life, soul and a story, which essentially make them easy to sell.
Camilla cut her teeth in the upper echelons of the shoe world, working under designers including Nicholas Kirkwood (amazing!), Sophia Webster (pure brilliance!) and Charlotte Olympia (ooh la la!). Those are the kinds of jobs where you absorb as much as possible - like a sponge - so that when it comes to setting up alone, like Camilla did, you have all the know-how under your belt.
And those Pez shoes... those were from her graduate collection, and her most popular to date, being featured by the likes of Glamour, Vogue and Refinery29, and are still being produced today. Not bad for a newbie! Scroll on to find out Camilla's daily routine, and who she'd like to play her in a movie...
"She is always putting herself back to bed at any opportunity - she lies on her back sprawled out on the bed, it's not very lady like!"
On having a dog: Adopting Lulu has been life changing. I remember the moment I saw her nearly two years ago at a Dogs Trust event. She was so little and helpless and needed a home. She gave me a look with her big brown eyes and that was that. She has been my joyful little companion ever since.
On using cats and dogs on shoes: I absolutely love animals and you are quite right, we do feature lots of cats, there is even a cat on our brand logo! I also have a cat called Tiger (he hasn't yet featured on shoe design yet, perhaps next season!?) We do also feature dogs on our shoes!! There is 'Mademoiselle Poodle' and 'Princess Corgi' which are part of our Fashion Capitals PEZ collection for SS16.
On her daily routine: I am woken up at 7.30am by Lulu patting my face with her paws most mornings. We get up and go for a coffee at C Press, which she loves as they her allow her to naughtily sit on the seat next to me! Then we walk to work together. She loves the office, which is great as she also gets on well with the rest of our team, and they love having her there also. When I am travelling my mum helps out and Lulu stays with her and her two dogs Rufus and Heidi. My boyfriend Hugo adores her too and often takes her to the park after work and on the weekends - we are planning on all going running together when the weather is nicer!
On industry advice: I think networking and meeting as many people as possible who have experience in the industry. Advice from those with experience is invaluable and every idea or opinion (even if you don't necessarily agree) should be taken on board. You never know where your next inspiration will come from.
On her favourite thing about Lulu: I love how relaxed Lulu is, she is always putting herself back to bed at any opportunity - she lies on her back sprawled out on the bed, it's not very lady like!
On naming Lulu after Lulu: She might well be! Lulu had already been named by her previous owner and I thought it was quite fitting with her blonde hair!
On what breed of dog she'd be: A Cavachon of course!
Who would play her in a movie: Brittany Snow, on my best day of course!
Camilla lives in Chelsea with Lulu.
Shop Camilla's shoes here...