You might consider yourself preppy. Or maybe you have a thing for vintage or quirky artisan pieces. You could also just be (as this writer is) elated about fall’s early descent here on the East Coast. Either way, those who relate to any of the above understand the importance of the perfect fall shoe. Available starting September 17, a new collaboration between the vanguard of American prep Tommy Hilfiger and a master of handcrafted footwear George Esquivel ends this season’s hunt.
The two designers met in 2009 when Esquivel was nominated for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award and again two years later when Esquivel was involved with the organization’s “Americans in Paris” program, where Hilfiger served as a mentor. The designer has said he was “immediately drawn to George’s work,” particularly to Esquivel’s fresh take on timeless pieces.
Hilfiger showcased the California-based designer’s shoes on his fall 2013 runway and was so happy with the results that the logical next step would be collaborating on a capsule collection. “It was very much a natural fit because we are both about reinventing the classics,” Esquivel tells DuJour.
Not surprisingly, the designers decided to focus on brogues and loafers for men and women (brogue pictured right) and give the popular pieces an all-new edge. “We chose those two styles because they are classics and are very much a part of Tommy Hilfiger and Esquivel’s DNA,” says Esquivel, who has operated his atelier in Orange County for the last ten years.
The design process, as Esquivel recalls, “was rather simple. We started with a list of our likes and dislikes. Then I sent sketches and color samples, and he added to them. Once we agreed on the basic concepts, I made prototypes of the shoes. We added and deleted details to those shoes and before we both knew it, we had shoes that we were both very happy with.”
Design aesthetics from both Tommy Hilfiger and Esquivel are evident in the final product: Unique details like prominent stitching, hand-punched perforations, hand-appliqued logos (the “Tommy Hilfiger + Esquivel” logo, pictured below, is burned on each shoe with a hot branding iron) and bright outsoles give their brogues and loafers an updated feel. Every pair is hand-crafted, polished and leather washed by skilled workers at the California atelier, and each shoe is assigned a one-of-a-kind number hand-written on the shoe and its hangtag.
“The result is a bit rock ‘n’ roll, a bit preppy, a bit vintage, a bit cool,” said Esquivel. “I think it’s a perfect reflection of my style and Tommy’s, fused together.”
Women’s brogue bottom sole
The limited-edition collection launches September 17 at Tommy Hilfiger stores in New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, Paris, London and Tokyo, and on tommy.com.
Photos courtesy of Tommy Hilfiger