Charlotte Olympia Dellal, Founder, Charlotte Olympia, Brand of Tomorrow 2010
Luxury shoes and accessories designer, Charlotte Olympia Dellal began designing from her love of fashion and nostalgia for the bygone era of old Hollywood glamour.
Charlotte took her passion to Cordwainers, the world-renowned college for footwear and accessories in London where she was able to explore her interests alongside technical training in the craftsmanship of beautiful shoes. Soon after graduating, Charlotte pursued her passion and launched her eponymous London based brand in January 2008.
Charlotte Olympia creates glamorous designs with a modern silhouette. Iconic styles such as the Dolly with its signature ‘island’ platform, the distinctive Kitty flats and perspex Pandora clutch box are in keeping with the brand’s feminine and playful design philosophy. All products are handcrafted in Italy using the finest materials and each shoe is finished with a signature gold spider’s web on the sole. The brand’s leopard prints, femininity and arresting use of colour have quickly become design classics; coveted by celebrities and stylish women alike.
Charlotte Olympia enjoys a growing international retail presence of eleven stores in Mayfair, Brompton Cross, Manhattan, Beverly Hills, Miami, Las Vegas, South Coast Plaza, Hong Kong, Dubai, Bangkok and most recently Moscow as well as online and in shop-in-shops internationally. The collections are also stocked in some of the world’s most prestigious retailers including Harrods, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, On Pedder, Isetan, Printemps and Beymen.
In order to be a successful luxury entrepreneur what are three pieces of advice you would give?
Create a strong brand aesthetic which stays true to your design philosophy.
Develop key styles that become signature to the brand.
Surround yourself with a great team who believe in the brand.
What are the most important lessons you have learned along your journey?
It is important to have a business plan and grow organically by introducing products at the right time, but at the same time seizing opportunities that come my way.
Learn how to delegate, you can’t be good at everything.
What are the watch outs along the way?
I am very lucky that I absolutely love what I do, but it takes a lot of hard work, passion and dedication.
Be ready to make mistakes and learn from them.
When you were started out who was your biggest inspiration?
I love Salvatore Ferragamo, he was one of the greats and came from an era that I love. His designs were colourful and glamorous using innovative materials. I also love Elsa Schiaparelli, very glamorous designs with a sense of fun.
When I was at Cordwainer’s I interned at Ungaro, it was an amazing learning curve to be able to work in a big Paris fashion house – you learn things that you can only learn through experience.
I then followed its creative director Giambattista Valli and interned with him when he started his own label which gave me an insight into how a luxury label starts off, he also taught me never to compromise on quality when building your own brand. I saw how passion for what you do can really be the driving force behind it.