Instead of committing the faux pas of arriving late to a press interview with Carolyn Murphy, I showed up about 15 minutes early — thereby interrupting the all-American supermodel's relaxed lunch break with her press team. Oops. But despite my apologies and offer to go hide in the corner while everyone finished up, she graciously left her half-eaten gourmet sandwich to sit down for our chat.
She's used to multi-tasking anyway — recently starring in Peter Copping's first campaign for Oscar de la Renta and pulling desk duty as the design director for made-in-USA company Shinola. Murphy is adding another campaign to her perpetually-growing portfolio, but with a footwear brand more associated with Aussie surfers, MILFs at after-school pick-up and off-duty Hollywood starlets. She's starring in Ugg's campaign for its new limited-edition Classic Luxe Collection. This made-in-Italy capsule line (available Thursday) features a slim, elevated iteration of the famous sheepskin padded boot that some of us just can't give up. (You know who you are.)
"It’s just really special to have," Murphy said of the range. "This boot that everybody has these connotations around, but here’s a new spin on it. The silhouette and the cut are different and it’s more fashion fashion." Growing up in a California beach-loving family, she has fond memories of the brand, which was founded by an Aussie surfer in Los Angeles in 1978. "My first memory of getting my [Ugg] boots was I was about 10," she said. "And I used to see my grandfather putz around on the weekends with his Ugg boots and sweatpants."
Of course, it's not exactly associated with grandpas. "You’d see all the paparazzi shots of girls in their sweatpants and their Ugg boots," she laughed. "But I wore mine a lot with a jean miniskirt. I would roll down the top a little bit [so the sheepskin would show], so that was my thing."
While the relaxed, laid-back Ugg campaign, shot by buzzy young photog Josh Olins ("I have a real crush on him. I can let that be known," Murphy raved), may initially seem quite divergent from her lush David Sims-lensed fall 2015 campaign for Oscar de la Renta, there is one common thread between the two: no makeup.
"[I thought] okay, that’s fine, are you sure you don’t want any makeup?" she laughed. (The eternally-flawless Murphy was also fresh-faced in person for the interview, so I can confidently answer in an affirmative to her question.)
In reality, artistry and a strategic mix of beauty products (and good genes) were required to create that immaculate, dewy look. "Obviously, great moisturizer is the start of it and then a little concealer," Murphy explained. "There’s always going to be a little bit of that. And the next big thing is the highlighter to make sure that you catch the light. Sometimes filling in the brows helps. That would be the foundation of the no makeup, makeup look."
It's a look that's undeniably a thing right now — see: Kim Kardashian in Spanish Vogue. "She’s so beautiful without makeup," Murphy said of the reality star.
For Murphy, the lack of makeup wasn't the only correlation between her Ugg and Oscar de la Renta campaigns. "This [Ugg] woman, and then the Oscar woman are [both] very much who I am," she explained. "It probably speaks to a lot of women out there. We all have this duality. I’m the nature girl that’s out surfing and riding my horses and reading books and I need that reprieve of sorts — but I also really love putting on a great beautiful gown. Especially if Peter Copping’s designed it."
"He’s amazing," she said about the Oscar de la Renta creative director. "I’ve known him for a few years. He's super sweet, very humble and shy and I really liked that because you know there’s not so much ego involved, which is really nice and refreshing." Plus, Murphy has found a way to incorporate both aesthetics into her own sartorial mix.
"Heck, I could wear that [Oscar] gown with Ugg boots," she said. "That’s right. It’s like the new Converse."