Cole Haan Embraces Stylists For Their Newest Collaboration
A version of this story first appeared on Forbes.com
Are stylists the new designers? Shoe brand Cole Haan thinks so!
Cole Haan recently launched a collaboration with three in-demand stylists (Karla Welch, Erin Walsh, and Simone Harouche) so we reached out to learn more about how the collaboration came about, how each stylist designed their shoe styles, and more!
SIMPLY: How did this collaboration between Cole Haan and stylists come about?
DAVID MADDOCKS, CMO & GM of Business Development, Cole Haan: Cole Haan continuously seeks to innovate new products and disrupt our industry. As such, we decided to tap these three extraordinary stylists, who are at the top of their game, to reinvent Cole Haan styles for the modern woman.
Collaborating with stylists is a first for us and having the opportunity to partner with these three distinctly talented women—each bringing their unique design perspective has been something truly extraordinary this season.
SIMPLY: Why do stylists make such natural fits for design collaborations?
DM: It was an obvious choice to collaborate with Karla, Erin, and Simone for this limited edition collection because of their individual approach to the Cole Haan brand ethos and aesthetic. These three stylists are on the cutting edge of fashion and work with some of the most powerful women in creative positions. They share a passion for innovative design, while also bringing a fresh perspective and unique take on our traditional silhouettes.
Like Cole Haan, these women are determined to challenge the norm and disrupt the rules of the game. We couldn’t be more proud to collaborate with these extraordinary women for Fall 2018 as we continue to push the boundaries of innovation, design and disruption.
SIMPLY: Tell us a bit about the design inspiration.
ERIN WALSH, Stylist: When collaborating with Cole Haan on my collection, I really wanted to tell a story of juxtapositions. I wanted to use this opportunity to define and create a balance of opposites. The juxtaposition between feminine and masculine was a big inspiration for me when I was designing my hiker. The flannel element is really masculine and strong against the bright optic white of the boot itself, the shiny brass grommets are innately feminine. And of course the optic white just looks great with everything in ones closet- it literally "lifts" anything you happen to wear it with, whether that’s a slip dress or a high waisted jean.
I was also very excited about the Vesta pump; we were able to create a flannel pump, which is such a masculine texture, in a very refined, ladylike silhouette. We topped it with the most whimsical, wonderful bow bearing rhinestone details- in theory, completely nonsensical, but when you see it all together, it’s totally magical. Surprise!
Throughout my entire collection I wanted to create pieces that were surprising and fresh; but that also effortless enough to make sense every day. Pieces that make you smile because they somehow feel like a surprisingly extraordinary addition to your day. In that way, the clothes and accessories that you choose every day make you feel more extraordinary in your life. Now, isn't that something?
SIMONE HAROUCHE, Stylist: When I was collaborating on my collection with Cole Haan, I was thinking about the Cole Haan woman – creating shoes that would speak to her and then we built from there. I also spent a great deal of time thinking about how I would make this collection cohesive yet speak to broader sensibilities. I always have the client in mind when I am styling but in this situation, I was both the designer and the client. When designing the shoes, I thought about what I was attracted to and what I would want to wear and how I would style it.
SB: As stylists, how would you recommend styling one of these designs?
EW: I really love my Vesta Pumps. The Kitten heels (45mm) are always a great go to and we combined beautiful, deep hues with a fun bow and textures. I love these with a slip dress and oversized sweater, or also with cropped straight high waisted jeans and a crisp button down. They’re shoes that function as jewelry, really! Genius.
SH: The GrandExpløre All Terrain Hiker is a great shoe to style! The boot itself is the most amazing forest green color and the cuffs are speckled in this incredible wool which makes them so comfortable. I also love the idea of a true fashion spin on a rugged boot. The color and design also make it easy to pair with most of your fall and winter time outfits. I think these would go great with a pair of jeans, cute coat, or really anything in your closet.