A Vaporwave Universe
There’s absolutely nothing regular about Camilla Elphick’s shoes. Pez-heeled, glitter-filled and full of attitude. Her spring/summer 2017 collection was inspired by the Vaporwave, a retro movement celebrating the aesthetic of early computers and Internet. Minefield, Windows Live Messenger and Paint make for great moodboard material, which Elphick transformed into flats, heels, boots and sandals, and then captured them in collaboration with a young filmmaker Lucie Beecham. Just ahead of her autumn/winter 2017 presentation at London Fashion Week, we caught up with Camilla who talked us through the inspirations for the short film, as well as indulged into some classic shoe talk. Oh, and if you’re wondering if she’s all about flats or heels? “Something in between, a mid-heeled shoe,” Elphick says. What a perfect cheat answer.
How did the idea of a video come about?
We’ve been working with the photographer Nicholas K. from the beginning and while we were discussing the ideas about the SS17 collection, he proposed to do a video project. He was just starting to work with Lucie Beecham, sister of Charlotte, of Charlotte Simone].
And the idea of Vaporwave as an inspiration?
The movement of Vaporwave is something that came up in the office, as a few people were mentioning it as the trend for 2017, and we were at the office thinking: “What on earth is it?”. We started looking it up online and we found the most amazing images inspired by the early days of Internet that were very inspiring, featuring flying dolphins, acid palm trees and Roman busts. Lots of bright colours in a cyberspace, creating a digital dreamland that we wanted to re-imagine through the shoes.
Do you think that an element of nostalgia is the way to look forward or are we all just stuck in a never-ending vortex of inspirations?
I quite like looking back a little bit and then modernising it. Like something that you grew up with and you’ve got a memory of loving, and then creating an updated version of it. I think that’s what people quite like about our shoes, especially the Pez shoes, they remember having them as kids.
You graduated from London College of Fashion in 2013. Your aesthetic is still very youthful and playful, but you’re leading a successful business. How do you balance the fantasy and the reality in your designs?
Obviously, there are some shoes that are more showstoppers, more like one-offs, but then we also have the classic shapes like the flats and the silver boots that we do season after season. We do them in different colours and that’s what drives the business. We know now what are our bestsellers, and they can still be fun shoes - but they are also more day-to-day-appropriate.
And what are you preparing for autumn/winter 2017?
Inspired by Salvador Dali’s cookbook that was recently re-released and includes all these very rich, indulgent, kind of opulent and slightly ridiculous recipes. Everything is gold, red, black, with a bit of embellishment, some velvet and a lot of textures. We’ve got a couple of new shapes like a velvet platform boot covered in gold kale, yet it looks like embroidered leaves.
Do you think there’s still a lot of space in the shoe world to explore and experiment?
Yeah, I think so. It can be a new heel, which can be completely moulded. I’m looking at our crystal heels, and they’re almost like a piece of jewellery. So, I think that you can go quite wild. I don’t think everything has been done yet in the shoe world.
Pre-order Camilla Elphick's playful spring/summer 2017 collection at camillaelphick.com.
Interview by Dino Bonacic