Camper has always toed the line, so to speak, between simplicity and quirkiness. Known for its multi-hued, multi-functional footwear, the Barcelona-based brand prides itself on creating comfortable, durable shoes that nevertheless retain a sense of playfulness and imagination. Given the preponderance of striking, albeit quasi-painful footwear on the runways of late, it’s refreshing to see comfort not at odds with creativity. Granted, Camper is refreshingly not in the business of designing vertiginous, wait list-worthy It-shoes, or making high fashion cameos in magazine editorials. Its latest collaboration for fall—a continuation of the Camper Together initiative—nonetheless goes a long way in lending the company an aura of legit style savvy. Next season’s roster of collaborators includes artists Jaime Hayon and Maria Blaisse, along with designers Veronique Branquinho, Romain Kremer and Bernhard Willhelm.
Hayon, a celebrated product and industrial designer in his native Spain, first created footwear for Camper in 2006, and his been allied with the Together project since its inception. For fall, he has created a series of monochromatic, lace-up oxford-style shoes and booties, the latter of which feature a nipped-in heel reminiscent of an hourglass. For her part, Blaisse has designed a slouchy, accordion-like boot very much in keeping with the artist’s penchant for sculpture-in-motion. Her C Shoe recalls the tire tube-inspired work that made her name in the ’80s, its toroid-like contours doubling as as a sort of leather sleeve.
Up-and-coming menswear designer Romain Kremer’s streamlined, futuristic footwear for Camper evokes the bold colors and techno-sleek aesthetic that informs his runway collections. Whereas his men’s model features a synthetic-only, two-tone or monotone body, the unisex styles are more classically inspired and comprised of calf-skin, inset with rubber.
Bernhard Willhelm’s latest offering, meanwhile, is as brash and irreverent as his ready-to-wear looks, imbued with the designer’s signature eclecticism. His latest men’s style resembles a high-top sneaker/hiking boot hybrid, replete with thick laces, multi-color piping and three-part, TPU soles. Women’s looks, on the other hand, couple thick and pliant leathers with pleated or velvet finishes, anchored by stacked, covered heels that match each sole’s rubber inlay.
If Veronique Branquinho’s spring collection received a disproportionate share of attention, chalk it up to the fact that she’s both a Camper newbie and a widely celebrated designer, having recently shuttered her cult namesake label to take the reins at Delvaux. Branquinho’s fall models for men are, in essence, a cold weather version of the elegant, minimalist styles she created for spring. Having swapped linen for all-leather, Branquinho crafted the Chelsea boot and Derby shoe using crêpe rubber soles and Goodyear Welt construction, colored-thread stitching and heel etchings.
Along with Willhelm’s creations, Branquinho’s resulting looks embody what the Camper Together initiative originally sought in pairing “designer” with “durable.” Though at opposite ends of the aesthetic spectrum, Willhelm’s and Branquinho’s shoes are both, in their own way, classically Camper.
The company currently aims to open freestanding stores to only house the Together collections, a goal we hope to see realized sooner rather than later.
Available at Camper boutiques worldwide, or go to www.camper.com.