Han Chong, the designer behind the popular contemporary label Self Portrait, alongside Robert Clergerie’s chief executive officer Perry Oosting and designer Roland Mouret, took over Matchesfashion.com‘s Marylebone townhouse on Tuesday in London, to celebrate their second footwear collaboration for the British retailer.
Building on the success of the collaborators’ inaugural collection of block-heeled pumps, loafers and slip-on sneakers, Chong created the “Leyla” sandals for fall 2017 — a more elevated, evening-appropriate option featuring the line’s signature buckled straps and grosgrain ribbons in a palette of lighter colors from dusty pink, to red and navy.
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The sandals retail for $675 and are stocked exclusively on Matchesfashion.com.
Despite the addition of a higher mirrored heel, Chong said that his focus remained on comfort, which lies at the heart of Clergerie’s ethos.
“There were a lot of things that I wanted to do in terms of footwear but when I started working with Clergerie I realized that technically they are not possible,” Chong said.
“I learnt so much about the process of making shoes and how to make them sexy and comfortable for women, customers would come back and say that those were the most comfortable shoes they’ve ever worn,” he continued, “So we focused on developing those signature styles from the first range but this time I wanted to have more color.” Chong added that he is also looking forward to launching the rest of the fall 2017 range later this year, particularly an ankle boot style featuring a variety of colors and textures.
The two labels will continue their partnership for resort 2017, which will be the last collection they produce together.
Chong said that he plans to continue exploring different categories in order to build his women’s wardrobe. Since launching his label in 2013, the demand for his mid-priced evening dresses has been ongoing and the designer is now looking to add more separates to his range, as well as accessories. For spring 2016, the label’s deconstructed, ruffle-trimmed shirts have been growing in popularity; they are featured heavily in retailers’ edits, including Matches, Selfridges, Harrods, Net-a-Porter and Moda Operandi.
“It’s an oversaturated market so it’s important to stay focused and not loose sight of your initial vision,” said the designer. “I design to make women feel great not for my own creative pursuits, so I’m always thinking of what she wants next and I build her wardrobe for her. We’re adding more separates, our knitwear has been receiving great feedback and of course, footwear is definitely something I’m interested in developing further in the future.”
From his part, Perry Oosting, Clergerie’s newly-appointed CEO, said that he was drawn to Chong’s creativity and the new perspective it could offer to the heritage label.
“The partnership was successful in combining our specialty in shoes with Han’s creativity and vision on shoes. It’s a short marriage but a very good a marriage,” Oosting said, adding that he plans to pursue further collaborations with “a wide range of designers” in the future.
Oosting added that he was drawn to Matches’ omni-channel approach.
“First of all hats off to Matches, they came from a small store in Wimbledon and now they are an empire. They have a great outlook of what’s happening in the market and also the physical locations for us to host events like this one, that’s why we discussed doing an exclusive capsule all together,” Oosting said.