The fourth collaborative series between German-born designer Bernhard Willhelm and shoe brand Camper features 'surfboard inspired' wave trainers, ruched velvet brogues and block heeled lace-ups with two-tone patterns typical of Camper's quirky collections. Dazed Digital speak to Willhelm about the inspirations behind the pieces and their working relationship.
Dazed Digital: Why did surfboards inspire you for an Autumn/Winter collection? Bernhard Willhelm: Surfboards (boldness and graphics) inspired the 'wave' trainers, also the specially developed wave sole refers to the sea - like in a wave you can look right through. For the woman's collection the inspiration was David Bowie, the classical men's shoe in two colours with a high heel. The same shape we also made in pleated velvet.
DD: You’ve said you use lasts for more than one season if they’re good. Were any of the lasts from previous collections used for this one? For which shoes? Bernhard Willhelm: You can use good lasts for a lifetime. We developed this special wave sole for the trainers with Camper together for this AW 10-11 season, only for men's. It was a very complected procedure to make this happen, and we will continue to use this last and sole for the coming seasons as well. For this season all lasts are new!
DD: This is Camper’s 4th collaboration with you. Why has your relationship with them lasted this long? Bernhard Willhelm: We want to build an image for BW shoes with Camper Together, and an image for Camper Together with Bernhard Willhelm, so far we did great shoes together and we will continue to work now for the fifth collection.
DD: How did the collaboration come about to begin with? Bernhard Willhelm: Linda Loppa, former head of the Antwerp Royal Academy proposed my name - et voilà.
DD: What do you like about the brand? Bernhard Willhelm: It's like a garden with orange trees. Go to Majorca, then you know.
DD: How did the complex designs for A/W 2010 challenge the production team? Camper: New designs are always new challenges on a technical level but in Camper we are always open for innovation and new creativity.