The founder of the French luxury brand Robert Clergerie is 83 years old, and to this day, he remains one of the main characters in the world of French footwear. And his factory is one of the few surviving businesses that still meets the high standard of "footwear made in France".
All world stars from Bianca Jagger and Madonna wore Robert Clergerie shoes when the brand was at the height of its glory.
The founder of the brand, Robert Clergerie, began to engage in shoes when he was 37 years old. “My father barely put me on my feet, and I worked in his grocery store from 14 to 24 years, until I gathered in the USA. I went to war in Algeria, then worked in different places, work in which did not bring me satisfaction ... ”, says Robert Clergerie.
The master recalls that a huge love story for shoes began for him with a short announcement: "We are looking for a manager of a shoe company in the Valais du Rhone region." Famous French shoe designer Charles Jourdan (Charles jourdan) was looking for a manager for one of his factories and hired Robert Clergerie. It was this appointment that turned out to be a turning point in the fate of Clergerie, so he found his place in life.
Robert Clergerie left the factory of Charles Jourdan in 1978 to head the French shoe manufacture Unic Fenestrier, which belonged to the André shoe holding and was located in the Romans-sur-Isère region, the cradle of the French shoe industry.
In this factory, in the winter, 1981 Klergeri launched his first collection of shoes under his own brand. These were just three models of men's shoes, which were called Paris, Paco and Palma. The designer began with the production of men's shoes, but today the Clergerie brand is known primarily as shoes for women, which differs in architectural forms, original styles and materials. It is to Robert Clergerie that we owe the fact that men's oxfords and brogues in a more elegant version once migrated to a women's wardrobe.
The 80s were the years of gold, discos and parties, and the “golden time” for the Robert Clergerie brand, which exported its products all over the world right up to Hollywood. The brand's boutique in Paris on Cherche-Midi Street sold about 1 thousand pairs a year.
In 1996, Robert Clergerie turned 62 and decided to sell his company to a consortium of investors for 59 million francs. As a result of the deal, Clergerie remained the owner of 10% of the business and the creative director of his own brand. In 2001, the designer decided to finally retire, and with this decision he supported the decline of the golden era of French footwear. His competitors, French designers Stéphane Kélian and Charles Jourdan retired, and Clergerie followed suit.
But three years later, when his company was declared bankrupt, the founder of the brand laid out 2 million euros and bought out his business. “I was 70, but I was bored, and I could not watch how the enterprise was falling apart, because I knew almost everyone who worked for it,” the master admitted.
Under the direction of the Clergerie, the factory was reborn from the ashes. But in 77 years, the maestro nevertheless retired, selling the business of RC Holdings, a corporation that was an alliance between a French investor and a Hong Kong-based family business. This was the only buyer who agreed with the Clergerie’s condition - to keep the factory in France. So the brand Robert Clergerie remained afloat and the factory still produces luxury shoes, which are sold in 20 branded stores open in different countries of the world.
Robert Clergerie Today it is one of the most famous French shoe brands. The brand is famous for its classic models - brogues, architectural forms, square heels and sometimes unexpected combinations of materials. Currently, the creative director of the luxury brand is designer Roland Mouret. Robert Clergerie is a must-have for Fashion Week and a favorite celebrity brand.
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