Nostalgia and Androgyny Abound in Robert Clergerie’s Latest Menswear Lineup-------
Last Saturday, Robert Clergerie gave its men’s shoe line a place of its own at 8 Rue de Grenelle in Paris’ 7th arrondissement. On Sunday, creative director Roland Mouret followed up the store opening with the presentation of Clergerie’s Spring men’s collection. “It’s about a certain heritage, but it’s also for a man who’s as much at home in Biarritz as he is in Paris,” the designer explained, speaking to his choice of saturated color. Taking archival drawings from J. Fenestrier (the men’s shoe factory Clergerie bought in his heyday) as a point of departure, Mouret sampled styles from the twenties and thirties, then injected a little Bryan Ferry into the mix. Some models, such as the black, white, and blue Simon Richelieu, really pop. Others have a more heritage air about them, such as the black or white “modern classic” derbies, which retain classic lines but are done in a leather treated with a matte, rubberlike finish (these, too, come in Prussian blue and coral red). Sneakers and slip-ons, such as the Gatsby, also bear the season’s perforation and toe-cap details.
Mouret gamely tackled that trickiest of accessories this season—the men’s sandal—by translating a whiff of nostalgia for children’s jellies into a leather model with a striped cork sole for grown-ups. And while this is officially a men’s collection, androgyny is part of the Clergerie backstory, hence the inclusion of a “communal” (don’t call it unisex!) range of ten styles adapted to men’s and women’s foot proportions. Among these: the Glen lace-up boot recently spotted on the Sibling men’s/Resort runway in London, or a mid-eighties-era women’s derby now recast, as Mouret put it, “for the 21st-century man.”