Edoardo Caovilla, the third-gen­er­a­tion heir of a near-100old lux­ury footwear brand strives to re­de­fine ar­ti­san­ship with bold de­signs and for­ward think­ing strate­gies.

The Peak (Hong Kong) - - Contents - STORY JOANNA LAM

Edoardo Caovilla strives to re­de­fine ar­ti­san­ship with bold de­signs

ot many fam­ily-run busi­nesses man­age to pass on the torch to their de­scen­dants. Edoardo Caovilla, the grand­son of 95-year-old Ital­ian de­signer René Caovilla joined the footwear em­pire in 2009 af­ter a taste of en­trepreneur­ship for five years. Cur­rently the Cre­ative Di­rec­tor and COO of the brand, the third­gen­er­a­tion heir has been in­ject­ing un­ex­pected de­tails into the be­jew­elled stilet­toes. Thanks to Caovilla’s sharp eye for aes­thet­ics, ap­pre­ci­a­tion for age-old crafts­man­ship and pi­o­neer­ing busi­ness acu­men, the shoe­maker has grown ex­po­nen­tially in the past decade, count­ing celebri­ties such as Jen­nifer Lopez and Bey­oncé among his fans.

While he is well versed with the brand’s her­itage, Caovilla worked hard not to be tied down by the tra­di­tions. As a firm be­liever in crossovers and cus­tomi­sa­tions, Caovilla’s ef­forts to break­through and nur­ture young tal­ents is ev­i­dent in their re­cent part­ner­ship with Ital­ian Vogue of young de­signer ap­pren­tice­ship in 2017. The Vene­tian lux­ury shoe­maker talked to The Peak about his favourite pair of shoes, why shoes make or break a look, and a com­mon styling mis­take among men.

Let’s talk about your per­sonal style. What is your phi­los­o­phy? I be­lieve in a spon­ta­neous in­stead of con­trived style. Fash­ion should pro­pose and not im­pose. While I love to dress in “city” style for busi­ness, I’m usu­ally clad in sporty at­tire with vi­brant colours dur­ing my off time. Who is your style icon? Why?

I don’t have a style icon. I grew up ad­mir­ing Mr. Ralph Lau­ren for his mar­itime aes­thet­ics and his coun­try chic style. To­day, I wear what makes me feel good. I don’t care about the judg­ment of other peo­ple, as who­ever judges me does not de­serve my at­ten­tion. What’s the lat­est ad­di­tion to your wardrobe?

I like to adorn my wrist with ac­ces­sories like the Her­mès chain Chan­dan­cre and Garmin Fenix watch. How do shoes make or break a look?

The art of ac­ces­soris­ing al­lows us to re­veal our char­ac­ter. Women, for ex­am­ple, like to re­flect their per­son­al­ity in their shoes. Nowa­days, ac­ces­sories take cen­ter stage in an in­di­vid­ual’s out­fit. The qual­ity of your ac­ces­sories is even more im­por­tant than that of your clothes. Tell us about some of your fa­vorite pairs of shoes? Do they have any mean­ing and/or sto­ries tied to them? Some of my shoe de­signs are con­nected with spe­cial mo­ments in my life. In sum­mer 2013, I vis­ited a 25-me­ter-tall arena where I came across a par­tially il­lu­mi­nated cav­ern. A cou­ple of sea horses were swim­ming around a red anemone – I was fas­ci­nated by this scenery and that was how the shoe de­sign of “Sea Horse Danc­ing” was born. The one thing you can’t live with­out?

My fam­ily and my kids.

What is your great­est pas­sion out­side of work? Swim­ming.

Do you have a fa­vorite hid­den spot in Venice? Os­te­ria al Squero, the most ro­man­tic and charis­matic place in Venice! What are your words to live by?

Grow and Con­sol­i­date.

Can you share a com­mon styling mis­take among men? Short socks.

What are the im­por­tant el­e­ments to suc­ceed as a shoe brand? I think it’s a mix of fash­ion cul­ture, tra­di­tion, re­search of some­thing new and in­no­va­tive.

What plans do you have for ex­pand­ing René Caovilla in the com­ing years? Aside from en­larg­ing the scope of re­tail, I would also want to ex­pand the prod­uct cat­e­gories by adding in bags and cus­tom-made jew­ellery, al­low­ing cus­tomers to un­der­stand how big, di­verse and in­ter­est­ing the Mai­son is.

René Caovilla is adored by Chi­nese cus­tomers. What is the main drive be­hind this? Will there be any up­com­ing edi­tions tar­geted at Asian buy­ers? The se­cret is the huge ad­mi­ra­tion and re­spect I have for the Chi­nese cul­ture. The Chi­nese were ahead of the Euro­peans in many ways – they pi­o­neered var­i­ous in­no­va­tions while the Euro­peans were still try­ing to un­der­stand how to use the fire! I guess the rea­son why they are at­tracted to our de­signs is be­cause of our ded­i­ca­tion to com­bine my vi­sion and per­sonal aes­thet­ics with their cul­ture.

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