LONDON — Le Chameau, the rubber boots and outerwear brand from France, is striding into fashion and luxury territory with help from Marc Newson, Fabien Baron and Charlotte Stockdale.
The company, founded in 1927 as a saddler and boot maker, and which still makes natural rubber boots in its factory in Normandy, will launch two new boot styles for spring, in a palette of colors including Yves Klein blue, burnt orange and army green.
The company will continue to make its traditional boots — beloved of clients ranging from the Duchess of Cambridge to the fishermen of Brittany. Its fashion offer will launch with a capsule collection of two styles and six colors set to land in stores in January.
“When I visited the factory, the first company I thought of was John Lobb,” said Newson, the award-winning industrial designer whose title is creative director, referring to the British company that hand makes its footwear. “Le Chameau boots are made in France from natural rubber, and we have no intention of changing that, or of moving production to China. With the new collection, we’ve done nothing to hinder how the product works or how it is made.”
The boots are hand-shaped to fit the contours of the foot, ankle and calf and 150 operations are used to make each pair, according to the company. Bespoke linings — such as calfskin leather — are selected according to function.
Newson is working alongside Stockdale, a fashion stylist — and his wife — on product development, and with Baron on branding and packaging.
One of the new women’s models is the Paris, which comes in long and short versions. It has a white wedge heel, and a sole that provides traction on wet, flat surfaces, much like a fisherman’s boot. The Vierzon is based on one of Le Chameau’s most popular styles and is geared more toward country life with a buckled calf and grooves on the sole.
The new models are lined in either leather or jersey, with the former costing 220 pounds, or $327, and the latter 120 pounds, or $179.
Le Chameau’s traditional models will continue to be sold in specialty stores, while the newer boots will be sold through fashion retailers. “There is no reason why the two trajectories of the business cannot exist in parallel,” Newson said.
Le Chameau plans to launch more new styles for fall, and will also begin to develop its outerwear collection into a more luxury offering. The company plans to unveil a few pieces for the fall season.
Baron has been working on the branding and packaging, the latter of which is graphite gray. A company spokeswoman said there are no plans to advertise for the next 18 months, although Baron will be creating films for the Web that tell the story of the brand. The company will also launch a new Web site to coincide with the launch of its new fashion products.
Le Chameau was purchased last year by the London-based Marwyn Management Partners from the French-based company Lafuma. MMP is quoted on the London Stock Exchange and Le Chameau is the company’s first luxury acquisition.
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)