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Fashion

Cole Haan x Rodarte Is The Pretty Shoe Collab You Never Expected

American lifestyle label Cole Haan's first collab with Rodarte is a footwear line bridging the gap between pretty and practical

If Rodarte’s Spring 2020 lookbook is anything to go by, the pixie dream girl lives on. Featuring some of the fashion circuit’s coolest It girls – from King Princess to the label’s OG muse Kirsten Dunst – the dreamy portraits shot by American photographer Daria Kobayashi Ritch capture everything ardent followers have come to love the Los Angeles label for: its eclectic-meets-ethereal aesthetic.

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Laura and Kate Mulleavy, the sisters behind the cult LA-based luxury fashion house Rodarte

Helmed by sister duo Laura and Kate Mulleavy, Rodarte – also their mother’s maiden name – has grown from a small family business to a globally-stocked demi-couture fashion house. Fourteen years on and their trademark colourful ruffled gowns, ingenue-esque crochet frocks and affinity for taffeta have helped establish the idea that pretty can be cool. Now their latest collaboration adds another dimension to the pretty dressing playbook.

Enter the limited edition Cole Haan x Rodarte capsule collection, the former known for its reliable, perfect-for-everyday shoes that have been designed specifically for comfort. It might seem like an odd coupling, but unpredictable has always been a part of Rodarte’s DNA and the result is a playful line that marries fashion with function.

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Cole Haan’s signature party-appropriate styles get updated with studs and pretty-meets-playful colours in the Cole Haan x Rodarte collection.

Landing in the Cole Haan boutique at Paragon (#02-11) on Sept 13, the first drop from this collaboration features styles from the footwear label’s Grand Ambition range – its dressiest – given the Rodarte makeover. Expect a quirky mash-up of tough and delicate materials (leather, neoprene and lace) and a colour palette consisting of three of the Mulleavy sisters’ favourite shades: ruby red, black and optic white. Tone-on-tone stud details complete the Rodarte edge.

The four key shoes – sophisticated yet sensible three-inch-high pumps; indie cool block-heel booties; sleek loafers (or what Cole Haan calls “slip-on sneakers”) and intellectual chic “shooties” (a boots/pumps hybrid) – are all equipped with Cole Haan’s Grandfoam technology. Trademarked by the brand, the latter sees the footbed of every pair of shoes engineered to ensure maximum comfort, optimise shock absorption and distribute the wearer’s weight evenly. In short: wear them all day and your feet will most likely still not hurt. Also included in the debut release are a generously roomy satchel with a detachable shoulder strap and a circular shoulder bag that’s spot-on the small, geometric bag trend that’s swept street style, both in embossed croco and the same fun finishes.

To understand why this could just be the year’s most surprising – and one dreamy – collaboration, flip the gallery below. (PS. Part two of the tie-up is slated to be launched in November and will reportedly include lace-up sneakers and a bucket bag as well as more signature Rodarte elements: think bows and perforated hearts for decorative details, and the addition of pleasing bubblegum pink to the colour palette.)

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