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With Roland Mouret now firmly in the old master’s shoes, it’s exciting times for the Robert Clergerie brand.
Spring Summer 2014 sees 1970s disco styles alongside futuristic brogues and loafers from the modern French brand with traditional shoemaking roots.
There is a little town in South East France called Romans-sur-Isère near Grenoble that is a shrine for shoe aficionados everywhere. Base for several of France’s top shoe designers due to its long tradition of tanning that goes back to the mid-19th century, it is also home to the startling Musée International de la Chaussure where famous shoes are treated like relics in a chapel to footwear.
One of Romans’ most famous footwear exports is iconic footwear designer, Robert Clergerie. Hired by the Charles Jourdan company in the early seventies, Clergerie fell in love with shoes and leather accidentally. Later, in 1978 he bought a men’s shoe factory that was in bankruptcy that included in its portfolio heritage French brand, J. Fenestrier.
Clergerie reinvigorated the J. Fenestrier brand, but of more importance to this story, in the winter of 1981, launched his own name brand. “When the idea is strong, the way to express it is clear and simple,” said Robert Clergerie in a 1992 interview for the New York Times. “My idea was to make women’s shoes inspired by men’s shoes but with women’s proportions.”
A series of awards and store openings later, a buy-out and a buy-back, and the Robert Clergerie name remains synonymous with well-crafted, traditionally made French shoes. Always creative, stylish and beautifully simple. Even the most experimental of Clergerie creations are never vampish or wacky, relying on more purely aesthetic forms found in Japanese platform sandals or in Minimalist modern art.
In a superb twist, in 2011, French designer Roland Mouret was appointed creative director, perhaps to bring a little ‘je ne sais quoi’ to the collection. Mouret introduced the first Clergerie stiletto heels and a certain 1940s cinematic flair.
The Robert Clergerie collection for Spring Summer 2014 continues with the brand’s signature masculine-feminine interplay and attention to detail. Look out for the 1970s disco vibe in the metallic and glittered leathers and wooden and sequin heels used for the stunning statement shoes. Brogues and loafers are given a futuristic makeover with metallic panelling and surface studs; and there are coloured raffia styles that are just perfect for summer.
For more on Robert Clergerie see www.robertclergerie.com.