How These Buzzy Young Labels Are Powered by Collaborations

Earlier this month, Matches Fashion hosted a dinner in Paris to celebrate seven of the buzziest new designers on the platform. Molly Goddard, Cecilie Bahnsen, Michelle Duncan, Edward Crutchley, Ludovic de Saint Sernin, Alan Crocetti and Marco Zanini all held court at chic art deco restaurant Brasserie Flo, a beloved establishment that dates to 1901.

The conversation quickly turned to partnerships. Cecilie Bahnsen knows the power of collaboration firsthand. The star of Copenhagen Fashion Week, she has been partnering with Japanese shoe label Suicoke for the last year.

Cecilie Bahnsen spring '20, Copenhagen Fashion Week.
Cecilie Bahnsen spring ’20, Copenhagen Fashion Week.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

“Our first season, we sold more shoes than dresses,” she marvelled. “We are really feminine and they are really masculine, but that is the great thing. I could only ever imagine wearing flat shoes with my dresses,” she said of the play of contrasts. “Collaborations are such a good way to learn.”

For spring ’20, she gave the shoes a different dimension through her use of embellishment. “We made these really beautiful flowers out of beads, which really changed the shapes. I thought they suited the collection so well.”

For pre-fall ’20, she is working on a sneaker with Italian footwear label Diemme. “Cecilie is always very true to her DNA. “She really understands the customer and how she wants to wear things,” Matches Fashion head of womenswear, Cassie Smart told FN.

Edward Crutchley at Matches Fashion Designers of Imagination event in Paris.
Edward Crutchley at a Matches Fashion Designers of Imagination event in Paris.f
CREDIT: Matches Fashion

Edward Crutchley, Dior director of fabric and graphic development under Kim Jones, also had his own eponymous label launched in 2015.

However, while he scooped two gongs at this year’s Woolmark Prize competition for his innovative textiles, he admitted to FN that he originally wanted to be a shoe designer. “When I was a kid, I designed pages of awful platform shoes,” he revealed, pointing out in his defence that it was during the ‘90s.

Meanwhile, he’s been collaborating with Christian Louboutin on his show’s footwear. “They originally loaned us some shoes for fall ’19, but then they told us they’d like to work with us to design the shoes for spring ’20. (He shows his coed collection in the men’s calendar).

The two brands co-created stilettos in velvets and printed satins with 12-inch-long ribbons in matching fabrics, plus men’s slippers with matching bows. “We get to go through their archive; it’s a dream to work together,” he said of the partnership, which is set to continue for fall.

In the future, “I’d love to work more with shoes,” he said. “There are so many possibilities. It’s really engineering as much as it is design.”


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