PARIS — Collaborating with brands from the same segment appears to be a growing trend. With among recent examples Valentino’s men’s collaboration with Undercover for fall 2019, Clergerie‘s David Tourniaire-Beauciel for his latest creative tango has produced a footwear capsule with emerging vulcanized rubber shoe specialist Both.
A chunky-soled calfskin lace-up ankle boot encased in rubber — an update on Clergerie’s best-selling Celina model — priced at $750, and a lace-up loafer retailing at $695 will launch in Clergerie stores and on the brand’s web site in July, as well as a selection of retailers worldwide, available in black and white versions.
Tourniaire-Beauciel — the man behind one of the era’s most influential sneakers, the Balenciaga Triple S, who has just launched his own direct-to-consumer line, Shoes 53045, based on a sneaker-shoe hybrid with a bubble air sole — said he liked the idea of exchanging techniques, mixing “the classic and artisanal” heritage of Clergerie with new technology. He cited among inspirations the Prada sport shoe from the early Aughts.
The process for the capsule involved Clergerie preparing the uppers which were then sent to Both’s factory in China to apply the soles using a special vulcanized rubber developed by the brand, which has its creative studio in Paris.
“It’s another brand, but it’s also another technique, another approach, another country,” said Tourniaire-Beauciel, who for spring 2019 collaborated with Beijing-based stylist Lucia Liu.
“It was very interesting to use this hot rubber because it’s lighter, and you can mold in a very different way around the shoe. It’s very modern,” added the designer. “It gave me the possibility to inject a new kind of product that before we couldn’t have in the collection because we didn’t have the knowledge to do it.”
Mixing tradition and modernity has always been part of Clergerie, he said. “Robert Clergerie was famous for bringing back to his factory techniques from all over the world, introducing unexpected outsoles,” explained Tourniaire-Beauciel, who was also tickled by the idea of the words rubber and Clergerie becoming a play on the house founder’s name.
When asked if he thought it’s possible to create a cult shoe at a niche brand like Clergerie, Tourniaire-Beauciel explained that when creating a shoe for a company like Balenciaga, it’s presented as part of a silhouette in the context of a fashion show. When you put a shoe in a store, however, the customer “has to invent in his mind the way to wear it, so it’s a little more difficult,” he said, adding that Clergerie is exploring new ways of marketing its lines.
“There are no limits. There is nothing to stop Clergerie from creating a product as strong as a Balenciaga shoe, but it involves presenting the shoe in the correct way, and convincing the customer to go to this product,” said the designer, who is mulling collaborating with a ready-to-wear brand. “We are exploring all directions,” he said.
As when “waiting for the following hit from a musician,” creating a cult shoe is hard to repeat, he said. “It’s always a challenge — but that’s fashion.”