Since its formation in 1831, the French International Legion has had boots on the bottom in 5 continents, on terrain starting from sun-baked deserts, to snowy wastelands, to festering jungle swamps, to densely crowded metropolises.
This month, the army power famously made up of recruits from throughout the globe enters uncharted territory — the style world — with its first ever product collaboration: a males’s boot impressed by footwear worn in fight zones by the power’s legionnaires (who, apart from one Englishwoman, have all been males).
“One in every of our mottos is ‘à la manière de nos anciens,’ which suggests ‘like former legionnaires would do,” Lt. Col. Jean-Philippe Bourban, a spokesman for the International Legion, stated in an e-mail. “We cherished the concept for our first trend partnership, we may mirror an appreciation for our historical past and all our predecessors completed.”
The unique boot, known as the Pallabrousse, was launched by the French firm Palladium in 1947. Now targeted on footwear, Palladium at first produced tires for the fledgling European aviation business within the Twenties. However after World Struggle II, demand for its tires plummeted and the corporate pivoted to creating footwear with rubber soles.
The Pallabrousse, which had a lightweight, fast-drying cotton canvas physique, was adopted by the legion as a fight boot and worn by troopers deployed to conflicts in Asia and Africa. Palladium stopped making the military-grade boot greater than 20 years in the past, however later added an tailored model, the Pallabrousse Legion, to its assortment. This March, when Palladium famous its historical past of outfitting troopers whereas selling its seventy fifth anniversary within the footwear enterprise, some lieutenants within the legion took discover and reached out to the model with the thought for a collaboration.
“Somebody from the legion noticed a submit on LinkedIn,” stated Jamel Khadir, the vp for gross sales and advertising and marketing at Palladium in Lyon, France. “Issues went in a short time from there.”
The collaborators determined to create a particular version of the Pallabrousse Legion boot, which options parts of the unique Pallabrousse — together with a protecting rubber toe cap and supportive canvas strips on the edges to stabilize the foot — however is made in another way.
“The boots was made through a direct vulcanization course of, the place rubber was straight injected and molded as an outsole onto the higher, the a part of the shoe which is involved with the bottom,” Mr. Khadir stated, noting that the approach resulted in some footwear melting in excessive temperatures. “Now we use glue as a substitute to place these two elements of the shoe collectively as a substitute.”
French International Legion generals labored with members of the Palladium design staff to good prototypes of the special-edition fashion. Particulars distinctive to the boot, known as the Pallabrousse Legacy, embody a patch with the legion’s emblem and embroidery that includes the power’s (different) motto: “Legio Patria Nostra,” a Latin phrase that interprets to “the legion is our fatherland.”
The collaboration was a “tribute” to the miles walked by legionnaires within the unique Pallabrousse boot, Colonel Bourban stated, and to the some 36,000 troopers who’ve died whereas serving within the legion, which was based to guard France’s colonial pursuits and has extra not too long ago despatched models to the Balkans, Mali and the Ivory Coast, in addition to to Afghanistan, to serve alongside North Atlantic Treaty Group forces.
The special-edition Pallabrousse Legacy boot, which matches on sale on Tuesday, prices $130 and is available in two colours, olive and caramel. Although Palladium has made merchandise with different notable companions, together with Comme des Garçons and the Scandinavian outerwear model Rains, the French International Legion introduced a selected rarity to this collaboration, in line with Mr. Khadir, the Palladium government.
“It’s the solely power of its sort on the planet,” he stated. “And being certainly one of a sort holds a selected resonance, notably right now.”