Fashion Friends: Robert Clergerie and Self-Portrait Celebrate Collaboration
A few weeks ago, back at New York Fashion Week, Self-Portrait founder and designer Han Chong added menswear plaids and velvet rompers to his established vernacular of lacy dresses and off-the-shoulder silhouettes.
And on Wednesday in Paris, the iconic and historically French footwear brand Robert Clergerie gave fans and the industry a late-’80s/early-’90s collection inspired by the stories and film Slaves of New York. Creative director Roland Mouret and the team showed soft, stretchy leather and shiny, textural exotics in a late-summer palette of muted green and wine tones for fall ’17.
For the buyers, editors, bloggers and stylists who’ve been spending the past month on the city-to-city global Fashion Week circuit, there was only one shoe collection fit for both of those events.
From Robert Clergerie x Self-Portrait, the spring ’17 collaboration; all images courtesy Robert Clergerie and Self-Portrait.
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The just-released collaboration between Self-Portrait and Robert Clergerie contains pointy flats and kicky slides that somehow multiply the best elements of both brands. It’s a perfect cross-pollination of sleek, pretty architecture and smart, classic-riffing romantic edge, and it’s available right now. And, we got both creative heads to open up about working together in style.
The Thread: How did this whole thing come about, anyway?
Han Chong: I wanted a shoe expert for a shoe collaboration, and I love the DNA and the story of Robert Clergerie. I sought them out through my friend and PR agent, and it was love at first sight. Roland and I share a similar vision and I loved working with the team at Clergerie.
What was your goal with the collection—what did you really want to make happen?
Han Chong: My main goal is to make women feel great with the clothes and with the shoes. The fit, the comfort, the coolness: The shoe a woman wears can change her mood or look completely. I like that. I wanted a cool pointed-toe shoe that had edginess while remaining feminine and is comfortable enough to take its wearer through the day.
Did you have a muse for this collaboration? Who did you imagine would be wearing these styles out in the world?
Han Chong: I’m always inspired by my friends, by the great women that surround me. For this collaboration, we thought of shoes that were the right juxtaposition with my clothes and also included that architectural, edgy feel of Robert Clergerie. I imagined a nonchalant way of being and of walking, a strong woman that does not compromise on her femininity.
Han, you’re based in London and Roland is in Paris. How did you make it happen, logistically?
Han Chong: I like the real world and these are real-world products and there are real-world artisans in France making them. I always go out in the real world for my projects. So we met in person in Paris, in London. The Clergerie showroom is in Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the heart of the Left Bank in Paris, a great historic neighborhood, and [the facility where the shoes are hand-manufactured] is in a lovely part of the South of France in Romans-sur-Isère, the cradle of French shoemaking.
You were partners for the first time; what did you learn about each other during the process?
Roland Mouret and Han Chong: We learned that we both like to make women feel great in their clothes and in their bodies. We like confident women who dare to be true to themselves and, of course, well-made, cool shoes!
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