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Valentino and Birkenstock Collaboration Hits Men’s Fashion Week in Paris

Who says you can’t wear socks with sandals? Certainly not Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli.

Valentino and Birkenstock showed off the results of their collaboration on a catwalk during Men’s Fashion Week in Paris Wednesday. It was a brief, darkly-colored show in which Piccioli paired stark minimalism with pop-culture science fiction themes (think UFOs) and Valentino-branded Birkenstock sandals.

The design impetus behind the collection was to abandon “formalism and constraint” by implementing “fluid volumes, impalpable constructions” and monochrome color blocks.

As for the Birkenstocks, Piccioli used them primarily to add to the sense of minimalism that came with the collection. Piccioli incorporated both a glossy black and glossy red version of the “Arizona” Birkenstock sandal, which gave a slimming effect to its wearer in contrast to the multi-colored chunky sneakers that rounded out the collection. The glossy black Birkenstock also features the Valentino logo, “VLTN,” on the side of the upper, artfully cut off by the sandal’s straps.

The simplicity of the footwear in the Birkenstock selection helped bring attention to Valentino’s contribution in each outfit, which was most often monochrome in black or red, and bold.

“The language of couture is stained to become more genuine, opening itself to alien but at the same time authentic elements,” Valentino wrote about the collaboration. “Valentino in collaboration with Birkenstock: a universal sign that has been universally adopted and included in the repertoire of the Maison.”

Birkenstock has made a real push toward the runway recently, along with expanding its traditional styles. The brand has an upcoming collaboration with Rick Owens slated for release in February, which will also focus on men’s wear, following the release of a women’s wear capsule with the designer in 2018. Birkenstock also recently launched a new website called “Birkenstock 1774” that will serve as a repository for the various collections produced by the brand outside of its mainstream offering.