The French shoe staple Robert Clergerie joined the likes of Chloë Sevigny, Spike Jonze, Pendleton, Levi’s, Timberland and Keds to join force with the global trendy retail store Opening Ceremony. The collaboration results in an admirable laced up espadrille, the bread and butter of the season’s casual wear.
Albeit seemingly under eulogised, the label’s creations frequent titles across America and Europe (Italy, Germany, the UK…) In fact, I’m going to do a lot of praising here!
Truth to be told, prior to the return of this season’s 70s hedonistic shoes, many digital-age kids wouldn’t dream of paying Robert Clegerie’s site a visit. Their priority at producing comfortable shoes is dismissed as a dated approach to shoes. Think high end Clarks, think wedges with a 1 degree inclination and gold buckle fastenings.
But people forget about the real job of a shoe, which is exactly Robert Clergerie’s simple ethos: to produce comfortable and walkable shoes. The inanity of the whole shoe industry hits home when I saw this with my own eyes the other day: a 5 ft 3 woman in South Kensington, outside the porch of her lush pad, carrying bags and bags of shopping, sans shoes… I could understand why the pair of 4-inch Louboutin – worn by the super models in last issue’s Love – were ditched on the roadside. These are limo-shoes. These are – to put it crudely – fuck me shoes. These are shoes for posing. These are shoes for Carrie Bradshaw’s shoe lounge. There’s only so much love you can give a 2.5 inch stiletto courtesy of Jimmy Choo, Giuseppe Zanotti. The love affair pretty much ends after 100m of walking, when love turns into hatred.
So I’m best pleased when I stumbled upon Robert Clergerie’s catalogue last week. Efforts have been put into attracting a younger clientele. No moral has been forsaken along the way. Painted organza heels, bang on trend, are coupled with a reasonable sized platform and hence a realistic arch. Wedges, one of Clergerie’s best repertoire, veered into a more complex territory. You may argue my fondness for Clergerie’s current season stems from the serious return of the 60, 70s aesthetic, but let’s not deny pretty much every shoe have wished this season can be realised at Robert Clergerie. Clog? Tick. Oxford brogue (with an edge)? Tick. Printed organza shoes? Tick. Grandma’s wedges? Tick. Espadrille?
Innovation and attention to detail has always been on the agenda of the French shoe maker. As early as in 1981, Robert Clergerie introduced a female version of the laced up Oxford. Before then, the shoe had always been a man’s copyrighted shoe. Every year since, the shoes are being polished and revamped. And such is the current season edition of Robert Clergerie’s Oxford. Much deviated from the original staidness, the shoe featured Robert’s best piece of innovation: the sole. It has always been the wedge or the bottom that always get a face-lift… Remember the three-tiered wedge on the black sandals last season?
Some glamazons – who are used to the thin heeled and glossy finished shoes – may scratch their heads when it comes to a face-off with these minimal designs with a chunky flooring. The June issue of British Vogue reinvented the 50s housewife glamour, featuring the sepia styling of the 70s. The sock and sandal combo is the only way forward without looking a retirement home inhabitant. After years of over sexualisation, a bit of demureness surely does make a nice change?
Some of you may scratch your heads when it comes to ‘what do I do with these granny wedges!?’. Fret not, for the June issue of British Vogue has done a shoot featuring the sepia style of the 70s. The sock and sandal combo is the only way forward with these without looking like a retirement home inhabitant.
Clergerie’s offerings are plenty, considering the brand has been around since the 80s. But if your banker will only consent to one pair of expertly made shoe this season, let’s forget about the non-funtional shoe candies, shall we? This pair of organza printed heels is the summer of love. Red socks, blue socks, white socks and no socks. Jeans, circle skirts, pencil skirts, black tuxedo. The possibilities are endless.
As always, I do too much talking. I’ll let you browse Robert Clergerie’s wearable shoe art.