Terry de Havilland trailed a bright and distinctive blaze for what the cool people were to put on their feet back in the 70’s. “The rock ‘n roll cobbler” made shoes for Rock Royalty, such as David Bowie, Cher and Bianca Jagger to name a few. Despite ups and downs, the brand and his flair has survived.
Today’s styles echo those heady days, with party all night long, towering platforms, extravagant colours and bold prints—nothing for quiet souls—thanks, to Terry de Havilland’s creative designers like Stevie Cape.
She’s taken on the challenge of continuing the legacy: creating expressive shoes for women who wear their personality on the outside, who like to step strong in shoes tailored to astound and admire.
We spoke to Stevie to find out more about the legend, the legacy, and the future of Terry de Havilland.
Why did you choose Terry de Havilland? How did you start designing for the brand?
I started designing for Terry de Havilland whilst I was studying Footwear Design at University as an intern between my second and third year. I never left!
I chose Terry de Havilland because I was such a fan: I still remember the first time I saw a pair of Margaux wedges in 2008 and fell in love with them! I think that has to be one of the most privileged things about my role: to be able to work for a company where you are passionate about the product.
A Terry de Havilland woman is strong, independent and knows what she wants. How do you design with this in mind, to convey the same feelings Terry did when he first started in a completely different social environment?
At the time, Terry’s shoes were outrageous and shocking, so you were making a really rebellious statement wearing his shoes. Today, nothing is as shocking, and we are a lot more open minded and accepting of people’s individuality.
One thing that hasn’t changed is how our women want to feel when they are buying our shoes and wearing our shoes: powerful and striking. We always think about how desirable our shoes are when designing the collection.
We also consider how Instagrammable and Snapchatable our shoes are, as social media is such big influence on people these days.
Terry’s wild side came across in some of his designs back in the 60’s and 70’s, what is your inspiration to design now, minus the acid :D?
Firstly, our inspiration is Terry de Havilland and the history behind the company — always! Fashion moves so quickly that we try not to follow trends too religiously.
We take inspiration from both vintage and contemporary trends at the design stage, then execute them to make sure we always have a desirable product.
The 70’s and London party culture were trademarks of de Havilland’s designs. Would you say your designs still respect that history?
It is really important for us as a company to stay true to the roots of Terry de Havilland.
We like to use styles from our archive and blend these with new inspirations and trends that are current, so we get a new take on a classic Terry de Havilland style.
We also have styles that are new and refreshing but have a Terry de Havilland stamp on them through materials and colour!
Terry was well known for designing shoes across many subcultures: from glam rock to punk to cyber goth. What subcultures do you have in mind when you’re designing?
I think it is a lot harder these days to categorise people into subcultures because everyone is so free and able to express their style.
However, we always take into consideration what our women are doing in their lives. We have a checklist to make sure the collection has a style/colour to suit everyone and their shoe needs.
Terry’s shoes have always been a favourite of fabulous celebrities, the likes of Cher or Bianca Jagger among many others, but how do you keep the balance between designing shoes that ‘real’ women can wear day-to-day?
We always try to keep the balance between styles that are a bit more outrageous and styles that are more “wearable”.
Whether it is a celebrity or non-celebrity customer, it is always depends on what they need the shoes for, what statement they want to make, where they are going to wear the shoes and how the shoes make them feel. That’s why we have such a range of styles and colours — we want our shoes to be worn.
How do you feel about the current trends for ‘streetwear’ – do you think that it is moving away from glamour?
I feel there are a lot more practical styles on the market, but they are still very glamorous. It’s great that we can cater to hectic lifestyles but still allow people to feel stylish. I love how sneakers and flats are now available in luxury fabrics and leathers complete with embellishments.
What trends in footwear do you see being worth investing in this Spring/Summer?
I’ll be investing in a flat mule for the summer. I also love metallic shades in the sun and I’m always partial to a glamorous sneaker!
Desert Island Shoes: If you had to wear just one pair of shoes for the rest of your life, which ones will you take with you?
100% a pair of Terry de Havilland Margaux wedges! Maybe one silver, one gold — they are too gorgeous to choose between!
Which celebrity would you love to design a pair of shoes for?
As an individual: Beyonce. Designing the Spice Girls’ shoes would be pretty cool too as they’re completely different characters! Also, to do the Victoria’s Secret runway show would be spectacular!
What’s one piece of advice you’d like to give to women that want to spice up their style?
Choose clothing shapes that suit you, not just what’s in fashion. Also, pick out things that you feel comfortable and confident in — there’s nothing worse than feeling self-conscious about something.
To easily spice up your style (for me) it has got to be your shoes. I love to wear all black then, for example, a pair of our Zias!
Thanks so much, Stevie!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this insight into one of London’s boldest shoemakers. We’d love to see your outfits with De Hav shoes! Send us your shots on Instagram @estilistasuk.