Ugly sneakers are not the king of footwear for a while. But new brands are betting that clunky, comfortable styles will always be around – no matter the profile.
David Tourniaire-Beauciel, creative director of Clergerie, the designer behind Balenciaga’s trend-setting Triple S sneakers, is launching a direct-to-consumer line: the Shoes 53045 (with the number “shoes” inverted). The brand will be selling models featuring thick, thick-soled bubble soles that are sure to resonate with comedy footwear fans. The brand will soon be available in a $400 sneaker lace-up style for pre-order starting Friday. Future versions will have the same uniqueness, but will look completely different on top.
Tourniaire-Beauciel and his co-founder Aurelia Ammour (a former luxury Goedkope Balenciaga dames Sneakers fashion executive who has worked with LVMH, Kering and others) want foam soles to be as much a brand-defining attribute as Doc Marten’s soles.
“Previously, this French proverb said that to be beautiful one must suffer; Tourniaire-Beauciel says he has been designing shoes for more than 25 years and has worked at Jean-Paul Gaultier, Phoebe Philo at Chloé, Martin Margiela and Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy. In addition to his role at Clergerie, he continues to work with Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia and several other luxury brands.
But while he was designing luxury shoes and sneakers in Italy and Portugal, the products were still very traditional, says Tourniaire-Beauciel. “[Still] shoes that look like sneakers.”
Tourniaire-Beauciel says what sets the 53045 shoe apart is the combination of European design and sneaker technology developed by the Chinese manufacturer to create a lightweight but chunky thick sole.
“It can’t be done anywhere else,” he said. He added that he was proud to manufacture in China. Despite the fact that many luxury brands manufacture their products in Asia (the process is completed in Italy and France, thus avoiding the “Made in China” label), consumers still believe that luxury should be made in Europe. (Production of the Triple S was moved to China in 2018.)
Today, certain mass-market and luxury sneaker styles sell out almost immediately, and even prices have risen on the secondary market, as sneakers have become a status symbol for the millennial generation. But Tourniaire-Beauciel says the luxury sneaker market is in danger of losing momentum because, while European-style designs evolve with trends, their materials and production techniques have not kept up in Italy and Portugal.
The price of the shoes 53045 is another difference, starting at $400, while Goedkope Balenciaga dames Sneakers luxury footwear and even sneakers cost $800 or more.
Tourniaire-Beauciel, who owns his own eponymous shoe brand until 2017, says a direct-to-consumer model is critical not only to lowering prices, but also to moving away from the expectations of wholesale buyers. He said, “They will buy what they think they are, and here we are always changing and we will always be different.”
Meanwhile, his co-founder, Ammour, lives in Los Angeles and works to build a community of supporters. She said, “We invited fashion designers, we met with them, showed them what we were doing, to get their feedback.” She said the brand is currently raising funds and plans to open a store in 2020.