If Camilla Skovgaard’s shoes could speak, they would say ‘fuck you’. The Betty Friedan of footwear, this Denmark-born, Dubai-based designer makes strong, transgressive shoes for women who, as she put it, “like to wear a heel, but on their own terms.”
Standing at what seems like a full foot above me, all legs, slicked back short blonde hair, body-hugging black dress, and a Julia Roberts smile, it’s easy to see where she’s coming from. “My heels are not about being a damsel in distress,” she explains seriously, before grinningly impersonating a teetering, lopsided and falling woman in stilettos.
Since her debut in 2001, the 39-year-old designer has garnered a cult following, including celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Charlize Theron, and Kristen Stewart.
This week, she is in New York for, what else, Fashion Week, where last night, she showcased her latest collection to press and friends at the Bowery’s forever cool Hole gallery. there was no catwalk, and no models; just a premiere of her first short film—one she worked on tirelessly for two months with her director friend Ali F. Mosafa, who himself has won too many ‘Best Foreign Film’ awards to count on the room’s champagne-free hands.
Hotel Skovgaard, Room 77 is basically a three-minute-long hypnotic knock in the face, making every woman in the room frown in complete want—for both the shoes and what they represent—independence, domination and sex. Mosafa described the film to me as “out of the ordinary,” but I think that’s putting it mildly. With a custom music score by Zebra Katz, the same artist who produced plenty of noise on Rick Owens’ runway last season, Skovgaard’s dark and moody film is loudly filled with overt eccentricity and eroticisms.
“The film shows that there is beauty through darkness,” explains Mosafa. “Style-wise we worked with Camilla’s brand, which is anti-superficial. Her style is so… avant garde. We tried to go through that route.”
Each girl wields a pair of architecturally sculpted stilettos as she navigates her way around Skovgaard’s exorcist-reminiscent and surrealist hotel room. Yet there is one longhaired beauty, clad in a black cloak and hood, who is wearing a pair of flats. Why? I ask the director. He smiles, before explaining, “Because she tried to be apart of Skovgaard’s room, but she didn’t have the dark side. She was too… innocent.”
That explains the end of the film, when said longhaired beauty falls into mannequin-pieces on the room’s cement floor. “Exactly,” Mosafa says. “That represents what adhering to standard influences of the fashion industry is all about.”