Jil Sander reworks the Birkenstock sandal
‘We wanted to keep the essence of Birkenstock but we wanted to introduce new materials and play with the proportion,’ explain Jil Sander creative directors Lucie and Luke Meier
‘They’re the ultimate weekend shoe to lounge around the house on a cold morning, or to walk around outside on a summer afternoon,’ say Jil Sander creative directors Lucie and Luke Meier of the ubiquitous Birkenstock: utilitarian, ergonomic, pared back, and a coveted item for the sartorially inclined and those unphased by fashion. ‘They aren’t ever aesthetically striking, but rather are something authentic that works well,’ they add.
Now, as part of Birkenstock’s 1774 project, a collaborative collection that has seen designs created by Valentino, Proenza Schouler and Rick Owens, the footwear brand has teamed up with Jil Sander on an organic and sculptural reinterpretation of its signature styles. ‘We wanted to keep the essence of Birkenstock but we wanted to introduce new materials and play with the proportion,’ explain Lucie and Luke. ‘The central shape adjustment we made was to enlarge the outsole and tread, giving the shoes a wider, more important rand and top silhouette.’
The four offerings include the Arizona (the most popular shoe of 2020), Milano and Berlin, all reimagined with an exaggerated silhouette, in naturalistic hues of cream, olive and black, tactile suede and raw-edged calfskin. A new silhouette, the Velan is a reinvention of Birkenstock’s closed-toe sandal, featuring balletic soft and elonagated nappa ties that wrap around the ankle. ’We have been using soft leather straps in our collections, and a lot of knots,’ Lucie and Luke explain. We are always drawn to pleasant tactility; elements that just need to be squeezed and feel soft and comforting on the body. Adding this feeling was a nice way to make a more feminine pair.’
Craving that weekend shoe for relaxation and gentle rambling? Now you have a spectrum of naturally inclined Birkenstock and Jil Sander styles to choose from, sculptural and sensual, and sure to draw attention should you leave the house. §