Italian maison René Caovilla is synonymous with luxury, exquisite craftsmanship, and… bling! Read on to find out: how to pronounce Rene Caovilla, and who is Rene Caovilla?
“We have never ceased to consider our shoewear as refined objects of art called shoes” –Edoardo Caovilla
René Caovilla’s jeweled shoes are works of art. And no, that’s not a hyperbole: the label’s trademark Cleo snake sandals were exhibited at MoMA in 1975. Since then, the list of celebrities who sported the Cleo on the red carpet and other exclusive events has only grown. But first, how to pronounce Rene Caovilla?
Who is René Caovilla?
René Caovilla is pronounced REH-NAY KAH-OH-VILLAH. He was born in 1938 in Fiesso d’Artico, a small town near Venice, Italy. His father, Edoardo Caovilla, had been an apprentice of Luigi Voltan, the first shoemaker in the Riviera del Brenta, and opened his own workshop in 1934.
After studying design in London and Paris, in the 1950s René took over the company, which was then simply named Caovilla. In 1969, René created the Cleo sandal, which would become the signature style of the label: inspired by a Roman snake-shaped bracelet he saw in a museum, René designed a sensual stiletto shoe with a sparkling strap that spirals around the ankle and calf. In the 1970s and 80s, Caovilla collaborated with Valentino Garavani, Christian Dior, and Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel.
“Every woman dreams of having a precious jewel to have and keep forever,” Caovilla told Style Magazine, “and so it is with my shoes. They represent the dream that every woman would like to have on her feet, just like a piece of jewelry.”
Since 2012, the company has been run by René’s son, Edoardo. Balancing tradition and innovation, he has put a modern twist on classic styles, while still cherishing and paying homage to the label’s heritage. He has also introduced new items, such as combat boots and sneakers. Today, the Galaxia jewel sandal, introduced in 2017, is one of the label’s best sellers.
Did you know? Nearly 90 years old, René Caovilla is the second-oldest luxury shoe brand in the world, after Salvatore Ferragamo!
How do René Caovilla shoes fit?
Like most Italian footwear brands, René Caovilla uses Italian sizing. The shoes are available in half sizes, from women’s IT 34 to 42. If you’re unsure what the US equivalent is, read our shoe size conversion article.
Generally, René Caovilla shoes fit true to size.
The slingbacks (including the Fiona lace slingbacks, the Chandelier slingbacks, and the Cinderella slingbacks) run large, so we recommend going down half a size.
As for the other models, keep in mind that, as a general rule, a pointy toe will fit narrower than a rounded toe—if you have wide feet, we recommend going half a size up. For all styles, we recommend comparing measurements with a similar shoe you already own.
Are they comfortable?
Surprisingly, yes! While we won’t go as far as saying they’re as comfortable as a pair of sneakers (which, by the way, the brand also offers), René Caovilla’s jeweled shoes will not hurt your feet, even if you stand on them all night.
If you find walking on stiletto heels difficult, we recommend you go for a block heel sandal, such as these Cleo sandals or these Caterina sandals. Alternatively, for a more causal, summery look, we love the Diana thong sandals.
Where are René Caovilla shoes made?
Almost a century later, René Caovilla shoes are still made in Fiesso d’Artico, the industrial town near Venice where Edoardo Caovilla Senior first opened his workshop in 1934. The factory is at the rear of the Caovilla headquarters, which overlooks the wonderful Villa Pisani.
René Caovilla shoes are crafted by skilled artisans using traditional manual techniques, as well as innovative technologies and advanced machinery which “reflect the brand’s handmade precision codes”. For instance, while a machine counts the right number of stones to decorate a shoe, each stone is painstakingly applied by hand, row after row.
This requires skill, experience, and time: each single Cleo sandal takes two days of work! And, once they’re complete, all shoes are delivered to quality control, where 20 people look over each item.
Because René Caovilla shoes are crafted by hand, there could be minor divergences between each product—this is not a defect, but rather a distinguishing element. When you purchase a Caovilla shoe, you’re really purchasing an artistic product.
“…in fashion, quality costs money,” Caovilla told Elle. “If you see pumps for less than 300-400 Euro, then something is being sacrificed.”
Now that you know how to pronounce Rene Caovilla with confidence, and you understand the painstaking detail involved in the production of his shoes…discover our wide selection of René Caovilla shoes for women and save up to 40% off retail!
Learn more about italist pricing and why italist prices are lower.