This article was published on January 18, 2023 and updated on February 9, 2023
In September 2022, Salehe Bembury revealed to Fast Company that he had a project with French luxury brand, Moncler, in the works. The Los Angeles-based designer teased an early look at the collaborative shoe via Instagram two months later, and has worn the pair – a trail-inspired design – to Crypto.com Arena and Paris since then.
Recently, Bembury visited the French capital to launch a limited-to-five-hundred-pairs style of his highly successful Crocs Pollex Clog. And while the wear-test sample is exciting in its own right, the American designer’s choice of footwear for the occasion was equally as attention-grabbing as it delivers the best look yet at the unreleased Salehe Bembury x Moncler footwear collaboration (captured by the folks at CaminoTV).
Likely to drop ahead of autumn, the upcoming pair was developed in part by Nathan VanHook, a former Nike designer who had a hand in both the Air Yeezy 2 and ACG Mountain Fly. VanHook joined the now-Milan-based imprint in late Summer 2022 with the mission of refreshing Moncler’s footwear business. As the brand’s Head of Footwear Design, the Virginia-native has already introduced the Moncler Trailgrip GTX silhouette to the 71-year-old company’s roster of products. Bembury’s unreleased collaboration – which features co-branding on the top of the tongue – is seemingly a modified version of the Trailgrip, but a lack of GORE-TEX logos at the forefoot, reorganized panels throughout the upper, and modified pull tab at the spine make the shoe different enough to warrant a different name.
Projects with New Balance, Crocs, and ANTA have been largely informed by both the great outdoors and Bembury’s fingerprint, and his Moncler collaboration ostensibly continues the trend. Topography-reminiscent details cover the majority of the upper, which favors varying shades of mauve. Green and orange accents enter the mix via the tongue and supporting components around the heel, making for an experimental aesthetic that surprisingly works. The robust midsole underfoot is coupled with aggressive Vibram tooling that makes transitioning from city streets to the Dolomites – a mountain range in northeastern Italy – seamless.
A teaser image of the sneaker’s heel reveals that the collaboration is part of the Moncler Genius collection prepped for Fall/Winter ’23, which the brand will unveil on February 20 as part of London Fashion Week. Be prepared to pay a hefty price for the shoes given Moncler products’ high price tags – an in-line pair of the Trailgrip GTX sells for $750 USD. The Salehe Bembury x Moncler lineup may boast a lower MSRP if the storied expedition label is looking to use the American designer to expand its consumer base, but that’s yet to be seen.
For more footwear news, check out the Nike ACG Mountain Fly 2, which builds on the silhouette developed by VanHook while he was still working for the Swoosh.