I design footwear to fall in love with and stay in love with. When designing new collections, I ask myself whether they would make you feel free to stride out, to ‘go anywhere and do anything’.
Some styles become ‘old friends’ that I wear daily till they die, while others become favourites that I don’t wear enough. Neither should be superfluous, none are meant to be a one-night-only purchase. They are built to be dependable, with destinations and celebrations of life at the heart of my inspiration.
In Search of Silence
Our collections are born from a journey of exploration and it has long been Penelope’s ambition to travel to the Sami regions of Northern Europe to discover the origins of the traditional snow boot, now so synonymous with the brand.
The Sami people are migratory reindeer herders - the last indigenous culture in Europe - and their handicrafts have been a source of inspiration and focal point of our winter mood boards for some time.
After 2 years of planning for this exploratory trip, an email popped into Penelope’s inbox one morning in March, beckoning her up into the arctic circle to photograph the collection in very place that inspired it.
Our base was to be a log cabin at a husky breeder’s lodge in the wilderness that is Karasjok, a remote and beautiful area close to the Norwegian/Finnish boarder, owned by a famous musher and eleven times champion of the Finnmarkssløpet dog sled race, Sven Engholm and his partner, Christel.
As we sat in the evenings in the wooden cabin, built single handedly by Sven, warmed by animal skins and firewood, with not a piece of plastic or manmade fibre in sight, Penelope chatted to our hosts, and was heartened to hear that natural materials like wool, felt, leather and canvas are still considered the most insulating materials to wear on your feet in cold climates like these. She listened to their concerns of a growing ski mobile tourism, damaging this very fragile natural environment for wildlife, and learnt of Sami culture and craft; from knitting mittens, and making jam to weaving young tree shoots into knots to grow into road signage.
The Sami are drawn to bright colours, and their traditional costumes are a staccato palette of primary red, cobalt and cadmium yellow, making a strong and vibrant contrast to the monochromatic winter landscape of snow. And so it is with so many of our Resort AW19 styles, these boots are designed with travel and adventure in mind.
From the technical Incredible snow boot, in pony (cowhide) to Galaxy boots in luxurious curly wool shearling, our boots are naturally insulating and practical for the coldest conditions. Our Incredible boot has a traditional turn up at the front to allow warm air to circulate above the toes, so they don’t freeze and our new woven ‘Incredible trim’ of red, and cobalt, delineates these forms.
The new midcalf Aurora boot, named after the light-filled skies under the Aurora Nobilis, is the new show-stopper of the collection. A longer version of our bestselling Galaxy boot, it’s crafted in taupe coloured shearling, on a heightened, fluted rubber sole, and bound up with luxurious 3-tone mountaineering laces.
New camouflage print combinations and Barracuda Verdigris echoe the tones of nature, recolour the snow boots this season. While khaki and melange ‘gintonic’ pony are lit with flashes of blackened pewter, bronze and gold burnished leathers, our solids of deep red and black can be found on our Harmonica bum-bags and utilitarian saddlebags, reminding us of the local painted architecture of the north.
For cold city days we have the double-faced shearling Clog boot – a best seller remastered from the archives with added brass stud work. We are great believers in escaping the fast, urban planet and getting back to nature. This 100% natural style in wood and wool is certainly that - walking on wood has never felt so luxurious.
A full line of accessories from shearling mittens to scarves and stoles, will be available in natural materials such as mohair, lambswool & cashmere. And our soft winter socks come with our heritage brand stripe to complete the winter look
Penelope Chilvers is passionate about global conservation and preservation of the world’s natural environment. The historical roots of ancient cultures remain our inspiration. World fashion with a classical reference.
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