The high-fashion runway moment is thanks to Pierpaolo Piccioli, Valentino’s creative director. “I chose to make this collaboration with Birkenstock for the same reason people choose Birkenstock every day,” says Piccioli in a press release. “No matter what you wear, who you are, no matter your gender or social background, no matter your age, your style, no matter if you care about fashion or if you do not, Birkenstock has its own universal language. I loved the idea of approaching the DNA of our Maison, represented by the individual and intimate world of Couture with something that it is so free and adaptable. To me, this is the definition of inclusivity.”
Two new styles were unveiled — a black version with “VLTN” on the side and a slick red rendition of Birkenstock’s beloved Arizona style.
This isn’t the first time that Birkenstock received a high-fashion update. The brand has had a myriad of designer collaborations under its belt, including Rick Owens, Opening Ceremony and J.Crew. And back in 2013, Phoebe Philo famously sent models in luxe black-tie attire down her Céline catwalk wearing fur-lined Birkenstock-style sandals.
However, the footwear label has continually been divisive among consumers, split between those who abhor it and those who swear by it. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by Birkenstock’s own execs, either. “You will never buy something from Gucci and not like it, but you can always wear a pair of Birkenstocks and hate the shoe,” Oliver Reichert, the co-chief executive of Birkenstock, explained to Business of Fashion. “This really is the fundamental difference.” It’s not so much about aesthetics as it is about comfort, and the loyalty that comes after a customer experiences it.
Keep your eyes peeled for the Valentino and Birkenstock sandals to be released on Valentino.com and select Birkenstock and Valentino boutiques worldwide later this year. In the meantime, shop the classic Birkenstock men’s Arizona style below that inspired it all. Unfortunately, it’s not exactly sandal weather yet, so we rounded up a few shearling-lined versions and clogs you can wear now too.
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