Generally, shoe designers use leather, velvet, suede, silk, satin, what is your favorite material?
I love leather, but I have a special weakness for silk brocades and linen.
What is the oddest thing that had once or twice inspired you to design a particular collection of shoes?
Once I’d hurt my knee. As a result, I was wearing a brace for some time and that inspired me to create a thigh-high boot with round shields and straps.
Is there such a thing as an ideal height of shoes for a woman of a certain age, for a young elegant woman or for a charming conservative woman?
I do not believe in rules and regulations. One should wear what they feel beautiful and comfortable in. However, I must say that I do love a kitten heel on a slightly older woman … I think that is very elegant. But I also love them on younger girls, the way Julie Christie and Jean Shrimpton used to wear them.
Should they be a height limit to high heels?
Yes, there should be and I believe it to be 115 mm.
Do you at all subscribe to the dictum, “form follows function?”
Absolutely. Shoes have to have balance and technical know-how for a woman to be able to walk in them beautifully.
Considering your love for literature, who are your favorite authors and what do you like about their respective styles?
I love 19th century authors like Balzac who wrote beautiful stories, crisp with details and sentiment. Also Flaubert. In modern times I have always loved Gore Vidal who in the 60’s was very daring and created masterpieces like Myra Breckinridge and in the 40’s he wrote marvelous books like The City and the Pillar and later Julian (my favorite book of all time).
What are your favorite books?
Il Gattopardo and Madame Bovary.
What books are found on your bedside?
At the moment I am reading Parker Tyler’s ‘Magic and Myth of the Movies’ and Guillermo Cabrera Infante ‘Three Sad Tigers’.
Besides your love for books and literature, you have as much passions for movies. Who are your favorite actors/actresses of yore and contemporary favorites?
The list is endless. I absolutely adore Vivien Leigh and love the All-American style of Gary Cooper. I have also always been a huge fan of the luminosity that one finds in Julie Christie and Charlotte Rampling.
What is your favorite scene in a movie or two?
I love the scene of family prayer in Il Gattopardo, the family prayer in a palace outside Palermo… the curtains moving and people praying. There isn’t a scene more perfect.
You are also reading or rereading Tennessee Williams. Why Tennessee, and why now?
I think it is right for me now. I am just on a whim.
Which of the three characters—Basil Howard, Lord Henry Wotton and Dorian Grey—in Wilde’s novel, do you most identify with?
I don’t really identify with any of them, but if I could be one of them I would choose Dorian Grey at least for the beauty.
How do you feel about being, as someone said, the fifth protagonist in Sex and the City?
To be honest, I don’t think about it too much, but at the time of the series it was quite entertaining to be featured in the show. It also exposed our brand to every girl who watched the series across the world and I am grateful to Ms. Parker for that.
What is your idea of a well-lived life?
Have a passion for what you do and help others. That should make your life complete.