“The image of a Parisian is always in heels, but that’s not really the reality,” says Anne Valerie Hash. “We need to work and run too.”
With that in mind, the newly-appointed Comptoir des Cotonniers creative director has quickly set about updating the French contemporary brand. She took time out of her recent Maldives vacation to hop on a call and discuss her new Slash sneaker, a first for the label, in stores now and priced at $150 – $190 USD.
Why start with a sneaker?
“We were thinking it was important for the brand to have a sneaker with a real identity. A different identity. In my work, I focus a lot with deconstruction so I had this idea to twist the sneaker. The whole collection came together this way, with sequins and different textures [in the apparel]. Because of this, we decided to first offer the sneaker in white. Next, we have launched a complete color set to complement the collection.”
What do you think of the fashion sneaker phenomenon?
“I think this trend comes from the active life we all have and also because we have to deal with so many things during the day. We have to be light on our feet. You can be elegant and cool in sneakers at the same time, depending on the allure and the way you wear them.”
And how would you suggest they be worn?
“It depends on the silhouette. I like it worn with a suit and white shirt. You can really transform a look in a nice way, depending on the sneaker. I did a couture show five years ago [for my own brand] with only jumpsuits and sneakers – it’s all about an attitude.”
How many shoes in your closet?
“I’m kind of ashamed to say. I don’t only buy shoes to wear them. I also collect them. I always wear the same ones, though I have a lot. I prefer to not say how many!”
If you were a shoe, what shoe would you be?
“It’s between a sneaker and a stiletto. I am both. I’m someone with a lot of opposite sides. I love feminine and masculine. A dress with sneakers or jeans with heels. I need sometimes to wear a stiletto just to remind myself that I am a woman.”
Heels or flats?
“Most of the time I am in flats, because I move around a lot.”
What shoes do you wear on vacation?
“Birkenstock Papillion with elastic straps. They are so cool. I don’t like the one with leather because they hurt your feet the first few days. But at night, I wear stilettos.”
Click through the gallery to see the Slash sneaker collection.