• Follow us

Fashion

Pierre Hardy Wanted to Be an Architect, Not a Shoe Designer

Photography by Pierre Evan

How the cult designer got his start in fashion

By Isabel Slone

Date May 8, 2019

icon-facebook icon-twitter

At 63, Pierre Hardy looks as if he’s been taking covert glugs from the fountain of youth. The legendary shoe designer, clad in a casual grey crewneck sweater, jeans and his signature “nerd” glasses, is looking particularly ageless when I meet him at the Yorkille headquarters of Holt Renfrew, in a plush conference room surrounded by key pieces exclusively available at the retailer. Though he appears preternaturally youthful, Hardy is anything but green. In the 1990s he served as creative director of shoes at Hermès and built up the brand’s footwear offerings from scratch, designing the perpetually best-selling Oran sandal before going on to found his own label in 1999. Speaking quickly and animatedly in his accent-laced Franglais he opines on the state of fashion today, what’s behind our collective nostalgia and where the industry is headed.

This morning I went to preview for hiking boots, this afternoon I went to a lunch for a sneaker brand and now I’m here talking to you, a high-end shoe designer. What do you think it says about the world that so many types of shoes are popular now, that nothing is off-limits?

I think it’s definitely a sign of modernity. Nothing is forbidden. It’s funny, fashion is supposed to be avant-garde. It used to be a field of research, but not anymore. Our period is not avant-garde at all. We are totally in a nostalgic, melancholia, retro moment. Nobody would dare to propose something that never existed before.

Why is that?

We are too insecure. In the 1960s or 70s, we used to believe in the future, progress, that things are going to be better. Now, nobody is thinking that the next thing will be better. So we try to reassure ourselves with something we already love, picking things from the past and making them new. It is what it is.

Is there anything you feel particularly nostalgic about?

I’m going to say no. I’m not vintage. I never go to flea markets. I never work on my own archives. It doesn’t work for me. I enjoy creating newness; trying to invent new shapes, new compositions, new balance. Of course, I still have moments and memories [that I look back fondly on], even if they are twisted and transformed. You saw this movie, you saw this image, and it comes back, even involuntarily.

Do you have a favourite shoe that you’ve designed?

That is difficult to answer because the most successful thing I ever designed, I didn’t expect it to be [popular]. The flats [I designed] at Hermès have now been a bestseller going on 25 years. I would never have bet on that. I started very selfishly, for myself, [designing] a sneaker that reminds me of the ‘80s, when I went out dancing on roller skates when I was 17. Something stupid, a little nostalgic. That style has been going on ten years. There’s not one thing in particular that I’m proud of, its the possibility of the dynamic. That’s why I’m still doing fashion, because it’s not fixed.

A long time ago I had the fantasy to be an architect, but I was so bad at mathematics. Actually I wasn’t bad, I was lazy and didn’t want to pay attention, so I didn’t do architecture. But now, I think, ‘would I have the passion to do a project for three years and then wait 10 years to build it?’ I’m not sure that would fulfill my character. I think what I love in fashion is it was dynamic. It’s a flow and that is very interesting, creatively.

If you initially wanted to be an architect, how did you get into designing shoes?

I did not plan that one day I would have a shoe brand. The only thing I loved was drawing and painting. I had friends in fashion and one asked me, ‘can you help me to illustrate my portfolio, and I will show your work.’ So I became an illustrator. I worked for several magazines at the end of the 1980s, then somebody said, ‘if you can make an illustration of a shoe, maybe you can make the shoe.’ I designed a collection as a project and step-by-step I became a shoe designer. It was really through drawings.

How has your approach to designing shoes changed over time?

Over time, like a person, my brand has grown up and become more mature. That doesn’t mean to make concessions because I don’t believe that concessions make a good product. The brands that are working well are the ones where people recognize an identity, a statement, a vision that has a sincerity and honesty about it.

The landscape has changed a lot. A few decades ago shoes were accessories, that’s it. At Hermes, there was no shoe collection proper. There were some styles that went from one season to another, but no specific creative statement. Then some fashion brands, Prada for example, decided to put as much energy into accessories as they put into clothes. That shifted the landscape. The look of the shoe suddenly became a point of access to an aesthetic. All ready-to-wear brands became accessory brands.. Now if you look at the numbers of many brands, accessories are the platform of their incomes 70-80% of the time.

Does that make your job easier or harder?

It’s a challenge of course. I’m just doing shoes so I never know with what [my customer is] going to wear it with. It’s a little awkward. But it also makes things easier because there is such a demand for shoes. So, both.

What are some important qualities that you try to impart into all the shoes you design?

I try to make shoes that are graphic, clear, pure in a way. I try to avoid decoration. Rarely will I put a thing on top of a shoe just to make it pretty. Maybe that’s a prison, because sometimes it is pretty just to add something. But it’s not what I do.

What kind of a woman does Pierre Hardy design shoes for?

I think she knows. She can be experimental, but always has in mind a notion of elegance. She’s not a punk! She’s not wearing Doc Martens with a zipper; you don’t need my brand for that. Probably she is quite aware of creatively what is happening in this world.

Where do you think the future of footwear is headed?

I think we’re not finished with sport. Like you said, there are running shoes and now trailing shoes are popular. Sports are a field of engineering which has given us new shapes, new materials, and new assemblages to work with. But I think in fashion there is always that taste for the opposite; people still want to see beautiful leather, rare colours. I hope for the moment, that doesn’t disappear. Probably the next thing will be a new combination of things we already know.

icon-facebook icon-twitter Read More



Leave A Comment

More News

FASHION Magazine

This Week’s Need-to-Know Beauty News 2019-05-10 18:19:49WestJet Is Getting Some Fancy New Cruelty-Free In-Flight Amenities WestJet announced a new partnership this week with two Canadian brands, vegan

What It’s Like to Work With Your Mom 2019-05-10 09:00:03Every day is a family affair for these mother-daughter brands. The post What It’s Like to Work With Your Mom at Your Day Job appeared first on F

Here’s All the Fashion News You Missed This 2019-05-09 16:16:46Tyra Banks' new modelling moniker, Instagram's latest push at in-app shopping and more... The post Here’s All the Fashion News You Missed This

What Will the Game of Thrones Cast Do 2019-05-09 16:14:15Where does one go after Westeros? The post What Will the <em>Game of Thrones</em> Cast Do Next? appeared first on FASHION Magazine.

10 Affordable Bridesmaid Dresses That Won’t Make You 2019-05-09 13:00:04Wedding season is upon us which means many of us are lucky enough to walk down the aisle with our BFF’s in coordinating outfits. Not to take awa

Aveeno Haircare’s Ambassador Daphne Oz Loves Healthy Gut 2019-05-09 09:59:16Daphne Oz has such an enviable head of hair that recently a hairdresser who was styling her for the first time searched her scalp for where her presum

6 Stylish Hiking Boots You’ll Want to Wear 2019-05-09 09:00:51Celebs and runway models alike have been spotted donning North Face fleeces, fishermen-esque bucket hats, and entire outfits that look like they were

Rosalía Proves That Flamenco Could Be The Next 2019-05-08 16:38:26“People just want to be surprised, want to find something special, want to hear something that they’ve never heard before." The post Rosa

Tie-Dye is Making a Comeback for Summer 2019 2019-05-08 16:20:50The psychedelic '60s trend is back, and all grown up. The post Tie-Dye is Making a Comeback for Summer 2019 appeared first on FASHION Magazine.

Baby Sussex Gets a Name, Meets the Queen 2019-05-08 11:43:17It's been a busy day for the world's most famous newborn. The post Baby Sussex Gets a Name, Meets the Queen & Makes His Instagram Debut appeared

Pierre Hardy Wanted to Be an Architect, Not 2019-05-08 09:00:16At 63, Pierre Hardy looks as if he’s been taking covert glugs from the fountain of youth. The legendary shoe designer, clad in a casual grey cre

Charlotte Tilbury Just Announced a Major Charitable Donation 2019-05-08 04:00:36The second wave of Charlotte Tilbury’s popular Hot Lips line of lipstick is set to launch next month, and the follow-up comes tied to a serious

Mode et beauté

Théâtre et humour au Met Gala 2019-05-11 01:00:00Comme chaque premier lundi de mai, le Metropolitan Museum de New York recouvre ses marches d’un impressionnant tapis rouge à l’occa

Bonne fête maman! 2019-05-07 21:22:48Ce dimanche, les mamans seront à l’honneur. Le moment idéal pour lui signifier à quel point elle est importante dans votre

Jessika d'OD dévoile les premières images de sa 2019-05-06 10:35:59En tout cas, ça flashe!

Voici la coiffure parfaite selon la forme de 2019-05-04 09:00:46Découvrez les coiffures qui complimenteront votre visage sous tous ses angles.

Nuances d’orchidées pour le bal 2019-05-04 01:00:00Quelle couleur de robe ou de complet porter au bal des finissants cette année?

Voici les tendances maillots qu'on risque de voir 2019-05-03 13:00:31Qu’on aime les styles qui flashent ou qu’on préfère rester dans la sobriété, les tendances de l’é

Chanel post-Lagerfeld invite à un voyage épuré et 2019-05-03 11:10:42Voyage oblige, l’allure de Chanel se place sous le signe d’une silhouette en mouvement et la collection se veut fonctionnelle.

Céline en haute couture pour ELLE 2019-05-01 23:26:16Céline se paie un nouveau trip mode, mais, cette fois, dans les pages du ELLE américain.

Shanie de «Révolution» a maintenant les cheveux ultra-colorés 2019-05-01 11:00:02Shanie ose avec une coloration très colorée pour l’été!

On a ENFIN plus d'informations sur la collection 2019-05-01 10:00:03On a hâte de voir où l'imagination de la «Monther Monster» va pousser la marque beauté!

Dans la garde-robe de... Geneviève Leclerc 2019-04-30 20:32:20Le public a découvert Geneviève Leclerc à l’émission La voix en 2016. Elle avait ébloui les juges et le publi

Marie-Mai adopte la tendance cheveux la plus cool 2019-04-30 12:00:58Tout lui va bien, à Marie-Mai!

Glamour

The Best Beach Bags for Summer 2019 (and 2019-05-21 14:00:00Shop the absolute best beach bags for summer 2019—from the classic straw totes to printed crossbody styles—to wear now.

‘Black Mirror’ Season 5: Everything We Know So 2019-05-21 13:30:00Netflix just revealed the first trailer for "Black Mirror" season five, and it gives us a first look at who Miley Cyrus is playing. Her look is fire

Amy Schumer Is Back to Work 2 Weeks 2019-05-21 13:20:46Amy Schumer had the funniest responses to mommy shamers on Instagram who criticized her for going back to work two weeks after giving birth.

‘The Bachelorette’ Season 15, Episode 2, Recap: What’s 2019-05-21 12:51:00On the second episode of Hannah's season of "The Bachelorette," Luke P. emerges as a front-runner while Cam annoys the contestants.

Bran Had the Same Reaction as You When 2019-05-21 11:58:23Isaac Hempstead-Wright, who played Bran Stark on "Game of Thrones," thought that the finale ending was a joke when he first read it. So you're not

The 11 Best Lip Glosses of 2019: Clear, 2019-05-21 11:55:00Lip gloss is back, and we promise they're better than you remember. Here are the 11 best lip glosses to try, according to "Glamour" testers.

Shopping Tips From Swimsuit Models: How to Buy 2019-05-21 11:30:00Swimsuit models—including Kate Upton, Tyra Banks, and Tara Lynn—share their tips for swimsuit shopping and fit.

This New Trailer for the ‘Downton Abbey’ Movie 2019-05-21 11:00:00The first "Downton Abbey" movie trailer premiered in December 2018, and now we have a new one five months later. Watch it here. Is it September yet?

Kate Middleton Wore a Floral Dress From & 2019-05-21 10:29:50Kate Middleton wore a $129 floral midi dress from & Other Stories to the Chelsea Flower Show with Prince William and her children.

24 Best Swim Cover-ups to Wear to the 2019-05-21 09:00:00As more brands think beyond swimwear and begin to design for that "resort" lifestyle, the cover-up has become an "it" item for summer 2019. Shop o

‘Game of Thrones’ Secretly Revealed Who Won the 2019-05-21 08:44:19An eagle-eyed fan on Twitter noticed that "Game of Thrones" actually revealed who ends up on the Iron Throne in a poster from season one. Did you ca

Bebe Rexha Claps Back at Body Shamers With 2019-05-21 08:35:45Bebe Rexha is clapping back at body shamers on social media by sharing a non-photoshopped bikini photo and saying she's "gained weight."


Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.