PARIS — After upping its fashion cachet on the wings of the “ugly” shoe trend and its first official designer collaboration with Rick Owens, now entering its second chapter, Birkenstock has opened a global office in the City of Light.
Baptized Birkenstock 1774 after the German brand’s founding year, the site on the Rue Saint-Honoré in the city’s first arrondissement measures around 2,700 square feet. It will serve as an incubator for developing innovations and collaborations for a new Birkenstock 1774 collection due to launch in March in New York as part of a retail format yet to be announced. The line will also be presented in the showroom of the Paris office.
However, despite fashion’s longstanding attachment to the ergonomic sandals — Birkenstocks even appeared in Marc Jacobs’ controversial grunge collection for Perry Ellis in the early Nineties, albeit not via an official collaboration, with Phoebe Philo’s fur-lined sandals, or “furkenstocks,” for Celine’s spring 2013 collection among other tributes — the move does not signify ambitions to transform Birkenstock, as the inventor of the orthopedic footbed sandal, into a fashion brand, the company’s chief executive officer Oliver Reichert told WWD.
“Birkenstock is beyond that,” said the executive, who said he’s looking to capture the