“Markarian – her elegant dresses would match so beautifully with my shoes. I’d love to do a capsule collection with her.” Camilla Gabrieli on a brand she would love to collaborate with
Prepare to tap into the exquisite world of Camilla Gabrieli. The celebrated shoe designer was born on the island of Sardinia, where she spent her childhood running freely through flourishing fruit orchards and swimming in the salty froth of the Mediterranean. A sartorial thread was sewn into the seams of Camilla’s life from an early age, as she watched her grandmother design endlessly elegant creations for high-end clientele (utilising the left over scraps of material to craft footwear for her – I expect, rather irritated – cat Mustafa). Before settling in LA, where Camilla currently resides, the designer studied at the prestigious Cordwainers, London College of Fashion, before returning to LA to design for luxury labels Vivienne Westwood and Halston. Later on, upon struggling to find the shoe of her own wedding dreams, she crafted her own and Camilla Gabrieli the label was born. The brand continues to evolve elegantly day by day…to this very moment.
“There’s a wonderful Italian phrase, “L’amore e’ vita” which means “Love is Life”. In the hectic day-to-day life of being a mom entrepreneur, I think about that often. In the end, life is simple. Find something you love and pursue it with everything you have.”
I caught up with Camilla Gabrieli (digitally, of course) to get the lowdown on her lockdown 3.0…
#1 We’ve just gone into Lockdown 3. In three words, describe how you are currently feeling…
“Hopeful, restless, creative.”
#2 Talk to us about your usual daily routine for your business and how this will change in lockdown…
“I have a home office in Los Angeles, so WFH is not new to me, but when lockdown started back in March of last year, I missed dressing up and going to my work meetings around town. A great thing about LA is its variety of places to discover and being around new things and people that inspire me.
Maybe the only positive thing that COVID brought is the realization that for many jobs you don’t have to be in an office everyday, you can work from wherever you like. My husband and I are passionate travelers and are fortunate to have dual citizenship. My Italian passport gave us the opportunity to temporarily relocate during the pandemic and take a break from the big city.
In October, after spending a month in Italy to visit my shoe factories near Milan, we moved to the beautiful island of Mallorca, Spain, and rented a house in the middle of an orange grove. My daily routine starts by taking my son Luca to school at 8.30am, and after that I’m ready to face the everyday challenges of having a new startup business, from production, to logistics, to marketing … and of course, the thing I do best, design. I have to wear different hats, sometimes too many, but it’s a great way to understand every aspect of your business.”
#3 How will/does lockdown impact your business, and how can people (brides/the wedding industry) support you throughout?
“The uncertainty about when restrictions will be lifted has affected wedding planning but couples are still getting married, whether it is an elopement or a micro-ceremony now, or something on a larger scale in the second half of 2021. Many brides are moving forward with making key decisions on dresses and shoes.
We are a sustainable brand and make small batch productions that are made-to-order, so there is usually a waitlist to get a pair. Now lead times on orders are shorter as we’ve stocked our bestselling styles available on the e-commerce site. It’s a great time for brides to get their dream shoes!
Brides and wedding industry professionals can follow me on Instagram and reach out to me with questions or collaboration requests, I’m always eager to hear from the community. New videos from the photoshoot we did in Como last October are about to go live, so stay tuned! I’m showing a first time preview of some of the pictures here in the article!”
#4 Name three small businesses on Instagram you are supporting or would like to support more…
No.1 “@sallybeancouture – Sally makes beautiful custom wedding gowns in her London atelier, and we’ve talked about doing a styled shoot together in the future.”
No.2 “@viviembellishbridal – the delicacy and details of her flowers is just stunning.”
No.3 “@katherinetashbridal – I love the elegance of her gowns, and they’re made in LA. Supporting small local businesses is important.”
#5 Favourite lockdown snack? Has this evolved from lockdown 1?
“My favorite winter comfort snack: Panettone, an Italian Christmas cake, and hot chocolate (in front of a fire!). Back in the first lockdown in LA, we discovered an amazing Mediterranean restaurant called Mizlala that we got a lot of takeout from.”
#6 What’s your most recommended lockdown pick-me-up when you’re feeling down during lockdown? What’s getting you through the days?
“Spending time with loved ones. Our son is two and every day with him is an adventure.
Also, looking at beautiful and inspiring things that makes my mind wander – couture shows, an art book, dream travel destinations… I’ve been horseback riding in Mallorca, going for long hikes among the olive trees, or to long empty beaches.”
#7 What’s the item you can now NEVER find in the supermarket (and consequently dreamt continuously about) during lockdown?
“Flour was so hard to find when I was in LA during the first lockdown! I guess everyone felt like baking their heart out at home.”
#8 Name a dinner/meal or beverage choice you feel might bring someone joy to their lockdown life…
“Ragu tagliatelle with a good bottle of red is always a fantastic pick-me-up solution (there’s a great recipe for Italian ragu in the Flour + Water Cookbook).”
#9 Talk us through what’s new at your brand…
“I’m very excited to be launching Evening and Resort styles this Spring! While women know my brand for bridal, many clients always ask me for shoes in more colours and styles for other occasions. The new jewelled details, the mirror gold tones along with new bright pops of colour are perfect for all of us who have been waiting to go out after this quarantine and look amazing.”
#10 What’s your lockdown outfit most days? Have you, say, developed an unhealthy attachment to the elasticated waists of your leggings like myself?
“I have! I go days in my favorite sweat pants. But I’ve also developed an “allergy” to anything loungewear now. My favorite fabrics and materials show, Premiere Vision, is happening this week fully virtual from Paris. I’m selecting fabrics to make gorgeous summer dresses, potentially to become a new brand offering. This summer will hopefully be the time to go out!”
#11 What series have you now completed on Netflix/Amazon Prime etc.? Any recommendations?
“The Manolo doc of course. The Queen’s Gambit was great. I love shows where there’s a strong style factor. My brand keeps me busy so on my time off I also like to relax with a good magazine, yoga and meditation.”
#12 The person(s) you will hug first when social distancing is no longer in place?
“I’m planning on taking advantage of being in Europe and able to see my friends in Paris, Barcelona and Milan after an hour flight. Can’t wait for that!”
#13 An act of kindness towards you that you’ve really appreciated during lockdown?
“Friends checking in to see how I’m doing and the mutual sharing of our COVID struggles. Remembering fun times together and planning future adventures.”
#14 For a little Instagram-escapism and positivity, what account would you recommend?
#15 Name three things the lockdown has made you grateful for:
No.1 “My husband and son that support me, keep me company and make me laugh.”
No.2 “My brand that keeps me busy and creative.”
No.3 “My Italian and American passports.”
#16 Which restaurant will you dine at first once restrictions are lifted again?
“NAMA, a modern Asian restaurant in Deia, a romantic coastal town in Mallorca.”
#17 What would be your five film recommendations to watch during lockdown…
“These days I like to mix some classic romance with adventure and escapism – True Romance, Die Hard, The Talented Mr. Ripley, L’avventura, Ieri, Oggi, e Domani…”
#18 What book would be top of your lockdown book list?
“Charlie Mackesy’s book The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. It’s a beautiful illustrated book we got for our son Luca, but the lessons and friendship within the story have a wonderful resonance during these COVID times.”
#19 Name an odd purchase you’ve made during lockdown…
“Glass beads from Africa and Japan to make bracelets that I still haven’t started.”
#20 The best gift you received this festive period?
“A weekend at my favorite hotel on the Amalfi coast, the Belmond Caruso.”
#21 Name a brand you would love to collaborate with…
“Markarian – her elegant dresses would match so beautifully with my shoes. I’d love to do a capsule collection with her.”
#22 What’s your advice to lockdown brides?
“Love wins. Nothing will stop your wedding, not even a global pandemic. There is always a solution. Stay positive, stay focused, keep your plans nimble but choose your dress and your shoes now, so when things open up again you’re ready!”
#23 Your favourite beverage?
“I love fancy cocktails. My top 3 are: Bellini, Negroni, Mezcal Margarita.”
#24 Name your favourite magazine to curl up with.
“Harpers Bazaar and Vogue from different countries for their perspective on global fashion.”
Want to discover more (and potentially your bridal sole mate?) from Camilla Gabrieli, head to the shoe designer’s website.