Known for her gravity-defying footwear, designer Camilla Skovgaard shows just how fearless she really is with her new short film Hotel Skovgaard, Room 77. Directed by her close friend, Ali F. Mostafa with original music by Zebra Katz, the film is a trippy descent into an underworld—with fabulous shoes. “I just couldn’t bear to see women portrayed in a traditional sense of sexy in a dainty little pose with a cocked ankle in high heels,” confesses the designer. “I loathe that. I wanted something more physical.” The designer gives us the skinny on the inspiration behind the clip, shot on location in Dubai, where Skovgaard initiated her career and still lives. Hit “play” to experience the world of Hotel Skovgaard, and get ready for a dizzying experience on par with the frenzy incited by her designs.
How did you dream up Hotel Skovgaard?
[My] wish was to better help communicate a more true side of CS and our direction. I was dead curious to see how [the collection] works with film as opposed to just doing a photo-shoot – I wanted the challenge.
I am a bit of a film-buff myself – it’s been fabulous to take on this new creative project and see it to completion. I showed Ali, the director, books on amputees, nudes, trippy reference films on YouTube as well as music by Zebra Katz. I wanted a darker side while still being able to show beauty in a completely abnormal way – on this Ali went off to formulate a concept that evolved to the individual people who are the tenants of Room 77, in Hotel Skovgaard. I wanted a grunginess to it as well as being stylistic. I just couldn’t bear to see women portrayed in a traditional sense of sexy in a dainty little pose with a cocked ankle in high heels. I loathe that. I wanted something more physical.
The film was shot in Dubai. We specifically wished to shoot in Dubai and show this too can come out of the area, which traditionally is more known for gloss. I’m anti-gloss.
Tell us a little about the energy on set.
Totally awesome. An actual set was built in studio for the film. A crew of some 30 people were shooting for 18 hours straight the first day. The next day we shot the running corridor scene in the Old Souk area in old Dubai, Deira side of the city. [We were] drenched wet in sweat – no air-conditioning there. The crew was very inspired by the concept of the film – buzz was high all way through. I’m so delighted to have worked with this warm-hearted and talented bunch of people.
How did you come to collaborate with Ali F. Mostafa and Zebra Katz?
I knew Ali’s mother and sister some 15 years ago in Dubai when I first was in clothing (before I went into footwear) and had designed some dresses for them. When I returned 2 years ago Ali had grown into a talented budding director so when I had the idea to do a film for CS we got hooked up and things went from there. I more or less bombarded Ali, quite angrily in our first meeting [laughs] with ideas for the film.
I was already a fan of Zebra Katz and in touch with them for something else – so I tip-toed an email to Ojay if he possibly would be interested in doing music for the film. I nearly fell off the chair when he said he’d be honoured to.
What do you hope fans discover about you and your line from the film?
The film reveals a more true side of CS. One of the goals of the film is to address the change I have gone through as a person and a designer over the last six years. I am becoming more true to myself and not necessarily conforming to what others may want from me.
What is currently your go-to pair of heels?
Personally it’s my Trashbag bootie I wear the most from day to evening. I also wear our new SKOVGAARD trainer – out in market next month for both women and men.
What are you looking forward to for Fall?
I’m hoping to join on a charity trip to Uganda in October. A friend of a friend has built two orphanages there. I’m curious to see how the whole project is organized and managed. I haven’t been to Africa yet which is a long-time dream of mine.—Angela Cravens