The Valentino men’s collection shown in Paris in January 2019 marked an important fashion moment by fusing Italian Haute Couture, Japanese street wear and German comfort. Backstage Valentino designer Pierpaolo Piccioli explained “I think tailoring or Haute Couture need to be reconsidered. That’s why I teamed up with Jun Takahashi who is a ruler of street wear and Birkenstock who are a symbol of comfort.”

At heart an Haute Couturier who has his suits made by his Roman tailor and loving handmade things, Piccioli has been the most influential designer of late. By allowing Birkenstock sandals worn with black socks – yes, the Kraut myth – to be paired with his immaculate tailoring, Piccioli broke new ground. While the first collection was focused on signature Valentino red, this second collection by Birkenstock and the Maison Valentino Garavani is all about camouflage. Birkenstock has been one of the most talked about German companies in fashion for the past three years thanks to their cleverly selected collaborations with Rick Owens, Proenza Schouler or Valentino. Our photographer Michael Ullrich took the sandals on a Rome romp, as you can see worn without socks.

Valentino x Birkenstock worn with socks in Valentino’s Men’s S/S 2019 show.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Michael Ullrich

STYLING: Markus Ebner