LONDON – They’re a family synonymous with elegant, slim-line footwear and the most delicate of heels, but now the Blahniks are revealing a whole other side of themselves and they’re starring in the latest ads for Birkenstock.
The series, which focuses on genuine Birkenstock wearers, has featured personalities ranging from the Nobel Prize winner and Stanford professor, Thomas Südhof, to the artist photographer Ryan McGinley to Grace Coddington.
The most recent campaign featured the Korean actor Yoo Ah-In, and the Chinese Artist Zhou Li in their studios.
All of the campaign images have been shot by Jack Davison, who captures his subjects in an environment of their choosing. There is no styling, and subjects are asked to wear their own Birkenstocks, no matter how old or battered, with clothes from their wardrobe.
The spring/summer 2020 campaign, which will appear in the March issues of international print titles, hits particularly close to home, with Birkenstock choosing to spotlight a fellow shoemaker.
Shot in Manolo Blahnik’s first store on Old Church Street in London, the photo shows the designer wearing his Black Bostons with a red suit from the London tailor Anderson & Sheppard. Kristina Blahnik, who’s wearing a white, belted shirt dress, shows off her Birkenstock Gizehs, which she bought in 2004.
“In my youth when I travelled often, Birkenstocks were my holiday shoe of choice,” said Manolo. “I vividly remember one particular trip to Sicily where I explored for hours and walked for miles wearing my Birkenstocks. They are intelligently designed and wonderfully comfortable, with a classical continuity.”
Nowadays, he added, “I wear Birkenstocks when tending to my beloved garden in Bath (England). Pairing them with colorful Paul Smith socks is a must! I respect that as a brand. They have never conformed to trends and have an ethos of creating designs built to last.”
Kristina added that she’s been wearing hers forever, and they are a wardrobe staple. “From a style perspective, I like the simplicity of their designs with a guarantee of comfort in each and every sandal. From a brand standpoint, Birkenstock upholds many of the values that we adhere to at Manolo Blahnik, a tradition-rich, family-run business that believes in the creativity of artist and the craftsmanship of the artisan.”
Oliver Reichert, chief executive of Birkenstock, said he chose Manolo because “we truly respect the genuine and rare know-how a real shoemaker like Manolo Blahnik brings to us, someone who, like us, knows the craft and continues to redefine shoemaking. Taking it to a whole new level.”
He added that the Blahniks are a family business and that “brings them even closer to us.”
The campaign also features the British artist and designer Faye Toogood, founder and CEO of Toogood. She’s been photographed in her London studio, wearing her white Tokio Super Grip Birkenstocks. “I love the immediate sensation of feeling comfortable and relaxed as soon as I slip them on,” Toogood said.
This story was reported by WWD and originally appeared on WWD.com.
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