The renowned product designer and new creative director of rubber boot brand Le Chameau talks to Ian Wright.
What is it about the rubber boot that makes it such an enduring style?
It’s the perfect mix of performance and craftsmanship. Le Chameau boots are made from natural rubber lined with leather, so it’s an incredibly well made, hand-crafted product that endures and serves you well. When you buy Le Chameau boots you buy them for almost a lifetime, so it’s far from being a disposal product. That, combined with heritage, performanceand comfort, has a resonance with customers.
How are you changing Le Chameau?
It’s an evolution rather than a change and is about making a broader audience aware of the qualities of the product.
Le Chameau has a strong following from a specialised audiencethat wears their boots in the eld and country. I believe there is a broader range of product we can o er that audience - for example, heritage styles that are known and loved inexciting new colours such as a bright Yves Klein blue. We can also introduce the brand to a new audience and show more of a fashion point of view, through the white soles and a newelegant colour palette. Beyond that, my aim is to contemporise the brand and introduce a sense of consistency. It’s an old brand that’s evolved organically over many years, so weneed to take stock of the assets we have and enhance its DNA.
What are the advantages and challenges of working with a brand that has so much heritage?
For me, a brand with such a rich heritage is the de nition of a luxury brand in its truest sense. The combination of Le Chameau’s history, the impeccable quality and the storyof how the boots are handmade by artisan craftsmen in the original factories in Normandy and Morocco gives a true luxury context. The challenge is how to maintain balance while preserving the brand’s heritage and injecting a contemporary element - you have to tread incredibly carefully so that one isn’t done at the expense of the other.
Where do you and your team see the brand in ive years’ time?
It will be the same brand but more coherent, with a wider product er and reaching a much wider audience, both geographically as we introduce the product to new markets, and in terms of the type of person who will be buying Le Chameau. It will still have a loyal following with a country audience as well as new customers who will wear the product in cities around the world.
What is the most treasured item in your wardrobe?
A morning suit created for me by Azzedine Alaïa for my wedding, made from kimono fabric. I believe it’s the only piece of menswear he’s ever made.