A Tribute to Camper by Hella Jongerius

Milan 09: Dutch designer Hella Jongerius has created two collections of shoes for footwear brand Camper.


Jongerius' winter 2010 and summer 2010 collections for the Spanish company were inspired by four existing shoes from the Camper archive, called Pelotas, Peu, Imar and Brothers.


The new designs will be on show at the Camper store in Milan this week, alongside models made during the design process.


Here's some text from Jongeriuslab:


A Tribute to Camper

Date: 2009

Commissioned by: Camper

Type: Industrial product

“When Camper asked me whether I would like to design a new shop for them, or a new shoe, I didn’t have to think much about it. I’m not a shoe designer, many designers before me have done an excellent job in defining all the intricate parts and detailing of a shoe, but being somebody with an eye for beautiful shoes I was intrigued by the challenge. So I decided to continue where the former shoe designers of Camper stopped. To be able to lean on their expertise, stand on their shoulders so to speak, and work with the existing icons from the Camper archives, was a great opportunity for me. In my view Camper is living proof of the many advantages a family business offers. They are great to work with, have a very original and open mind towards changes and ideas and while they introduced me into their world I received the best possible master class in shoe design!”

Camper has created some magnificent designs over the years, shoes that have proven themselves in many ways. Classics. Some of the shoes have become so well known and familiar they might even be called archetypal shoes. Those were the shoes Jongerius decided to work on.

Consistent with her usual way of working she did not want to start from scratch, with an empty sketchbook, but continue a process, much in the way scientists are used to do. From the archive of Camper she chose four existing shoes, Pelotas, Peu, Imar and Brothers. With the fresh look of the outsider Jongerius dived into the concepts hiding underneath their skins and analysed their character and attractiveness. From the onset it was clear that the shoes did not need to be ‘improved’. However, they could benefit from an underscoring of their most characteristic features and they could benefit from the characteristic Jongerius signature.

The result consists of two shoe collections, Winter 2010 and Summer 2010 - new Camper designs in which treasures from the archives are met with the DNA, or more literally with the fingerprint, of Jongerius.

“What astonished me most was the fastness of the creative process, familiar in the world of fashion, and the enormous expertise. Before, I had no idea of the amount of parts a shoe contains. All those parts, and all the tiny details that are necessary to turn them into a unity, need to be designed and taken care of. Colours, forms, materials - they all come together in a collage of piled up details, a beautiful system.

The production process is exactly what any designer would dream of. The starting point for any shoe is always the uncompromised design. A small group of very specialised craftsmen work out the prototypes in the Camper workshop. Only then the industrial process, the research of how to make large scale reproduction possible, would take over. In the designs sometimes elegance was underscored, sometimes we, the team of Jongeriuslab, opened up a new world of possible closures, a new rhythm in patterns or we infused the shoe with the idea of imperfection and randomness, qualities of which I think contemporary times is in need of.”

See all our stories from Milan in our special MIlan 2009