Robert Clergerie’s Creative Director Talks New Vision for the Iconic Brand

Robert Clergerie
Robert Clergerie CEO Perry Oosting and creative director David Tourniaire-Beauciel.
Courtesy image

Change is underway at Robert Clergerie — and in more ways than one. The iconic French brand recently tapped Perry Oosting to succeed Eva Taub as CEO and named David Tourniaire-Beauciel its creative director, replacing Roland Mouret.

With 25 years’ experience in the industry — including time spent at Ferragamo, Maison Margiela, Givenchy and Balenciaga — French shoe designer Tourniaire-Beauciel has both a solid track record and a precise vision for his role.

“The direction is quite clear and quite easy,” he told Footwear News.“I want to take the real DNA of Clergerie but be more modern in the new interpretation. You take two records, you mix it together and there’s a new one. Fashion is like that.”

The “real DNA,” he explains, goes back to the brand’s heritage of brogues, architectural shapes and mixed materials, which he plans to balance with current trends. “Robert was famous for this kind of courageous direction,” said Tourniaire-Beauciel. “You’ve got all these different kinds of DNA as strong as each other, and I want to bring them back to mix everything and create a hybrid.”

Born in Romans-sur-Isère — the same location where the Clergerie ateliers are housed today — Tourniaire-Beauciel believes his presence in the factory will be a key to success.

“I’m a factory guy,” he said. “I love to be in the factory. I love to smell the leather, the glue [and] hear the noise of the machines. This factory needs me, and I need it. I’m convinced it’s the better place to find a solution and to transmit the things you want to be realized.”

Comfort, heel height and articulated technique will be at the forefront of his design process, the designer noted. “You will have the same signatures — the Derby, for example — but rebuilt completely,” he said. “The most important thing is the woman that’s going to be happy wearing the shoes. I’m not here just to make a design and the sell-through be zero. I want to make a nice sell-out because that means a woman went into the store, she saw the shoe, and she bought it. That’s the goal.”

Fall ’18 will be Tourniaire-Beauciel’s debut collection. In the meantime, he’s tweaking the current lines.

For Oosting, product and brand presentation are the main focuses as he begins his tenure.

“Robert Clergerie stood for creativity, innovation and daring in his approach. It was nonconventional but always with a touch of elegance. This is what we want to bring back for the woman of today,” Oosting said. “We will not change the positioning and keep our price points, but will add [more] value to our proposition.”

The company will also broaden its retail strategy with two locations slated to open this fall: one on New York’s Madison Avenue and another on Paris’ rue Saint-Honoré.