My career is a perfect fit
Filippa Scott is one of the country's leading names in luxury bridal shoes – and now she's joined forces with Van Dal of Norwich to create a party perfect evening collection. EMMA LEE meets her.
You could call it the Carrie Bradshaw effect. When Sex and the City's fictional fashionista skipped around Manhattan in her Manolos, they became objects of desire.
Many women have a shoe collection to rival Imelda Marcos. And whether it's Yves Saint Laurent's Tributes, Chanel's classic monochrome ballet flats or a pair of Louboutins, with their signature red soles, each season has its 'It' shoes – the ones that have the style mavens sharpening their elbows for.
Filippa Scott has what for many would be a dream job – she's a shoe designer.
She's worked for some of the biggest high street names, and is now one of the country's leading names in luxury bridal shoes.
Her designs have been featured in publications including Conde Nast Brides, Martha Stewart Brides and InStyle and are stocked by bridal boutiques on both sides of the Atlantic.
And now Filippa, from Southwold, has joined forces with the Norwich-based shoe manufacturer the Florida Group to create an evening collection.
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Filippa trained at Cordwainers College in London (or 'shoe school' as she calls it) – other graduates include two names who will be instantly recognised by serious shoe fans – Emma Hope and Jimmy Choo.
In fact, as she explains, it was seeing a pair of shoes designed by the former that made her think that she would like to follow in her footsteps.
'I guess I always wanted to do something creative and I didn't know what,' she says. 'I'm not very good at drawing actually but I'm quite good at making things with my hands. I was in an advertising job in London and I was reading Vogue magazine and I read an article on Emma Hope's shoe that she had made for her final collection. It was beautiful and it inspired me.'
However, Filippa didn't change careers straight away. She did what she describes as 'other bits and pieces', then when she was living in Paris decided that the time had come to go for it and she won a place at Cordwainers.
It was a steep learning curve.
'I went in to it absolutely cold. I knew nothing at all. And you come out knowing how to make a proper pair of shoes which is very exciting. I really enjoyed it,' she says.
When she graduated, Filippa started working for a high street supplier and ended up designing shoes for Marks and Spencer.
'M&S is where I did most of my formal training, and that gave me the opportunity to learn how the business works and what the customers wanted.'
But her big ambition was to be her own boss. She set up a label and showed it at London Fashion Week. And it was then, by accident rather than design, that she got in to the bridal market.
'Because it was a spring collection the colours I used were very pale and they got picked up a lot by the bridal press. Three months later I was getting phone calls from brides.
'It's not somewhere where I expected to be, but I really enjoy it and it has given me the opportunity to expand into other things like veils and tiaras,' she says.
Being approached by the Florida Group has enabled Filippa to expand the brand further.
Her first collection of party perfect shoes – from glamorous platform peep toes to pearl trimmed ballet pumps – was launched in the autumn. Highlights of SS11 collection include the Marilyn, a black satin peep-toe shoe-boot with a satin bow and diamante beads and the pearl and crystal beaded Esme – the delicate blush colour make it perfect for weddings.
'It's given me the chance to have a proper infrastructure around me. They are a huge organisation who are very professional,' Filippa says. 'I'm really grateful to them.'
Filippa, 42, grew up in Southwold and moved to London when she was 18. She returned to Suffolk about 10 years ago to spend time with her father following the death of her mother.
It was back in Suffolk that she met her husband, Oliver, who she runs the label with, and between them they have five children.
When it comes to inspiration for her shoes, Filippa says her favourite designer of all time is Roger Vivier, who is credited with creating the stiletto heel.
'His shoes were beautiful pieces of art. Really intricately beaded, they were stunning. And I like Sergio Rossi,' she says. 'I like colour – there's not enough colour in this world.
'Sometimes Oliver will catch me at my desk with my eyes shut. He thinks I'm having a snooze, but I'm actually thinking about designs.'
For Filippa, there's one great advantage to designing shoes for a living.
'I have very large feet so it's difficult to buy shoes.
'There's no point in being a shoe designer if you can't get the odd pair made especially. I'm not telling you what size I take – you can guess that one.
'It's not easy to find my size on the high street, let's put it that way,' she says.
Filippa Scott's limited edition SS11 collection is available now. Prices start at �75. For more information visit www.filippascott.com