Manolo Blahnik x Birkenstock is the first fashion collaboration of 2022 that I'm truly excited about.
Set alongside Gucci x adidas, Supreme x Burberry, and the latest chapter of Balenciaga x Crocs, my enthusiasm for the coming-together of two comparatively understated, hype-averse footwear brands might seem odd.
Let me explain.
As Ana Andjelic once wrote for Highsnobiety: "Good collaborations are art, great collaborations are kitsch."
"They fit into the definition of kitsch perfectly: a replica that’s purposefully fake, and that’s where the joke is. Take it seriously, and you are a goon," Andjelic explained.
Indeed, Manolo Blahnik x Birkenstock is neither a Manolo Blahnik or a Birkenstock — it's a hilariously gaudy bootleg, so ridiculous that it's irresistible.
To fully grasp the genius of the collaboration, one must consider the context of both brands. Manolo Blahnik is synonymous with high society. Less experimental than, say, Christian Louboutin or Jimmy Choo, the brand sticks to what it knows best: classically feminine high heels that start at around $700.
Birkenstock, on the other hand, immediately recalls a certain crunchy granola type that wouldn't deign to step foot in Blahnik's Madison Avenue boutique. The Birkenstock Boston — a cushy, round-toed slide — is essentially the antithesis of the Manolo Blahnik BB 90, a dainty point-toed pump with a 90 millimeter stiletto heel.
The marriage of these two brands doesn't feel natural at all, and that's what makes it so great. Instead of an elegant heel or a comfortable sandal, we're left with disjointed, Frankenstein-like silhouettes: slides in rich shades of blue and fuchsia velvet, accented with opulent crystal buckles.
Blahnik x Birk is an Upper East Side mommy — straight out of Primates of Park Avenue — having a mid-life crisis and turning to ayahuasca for answers.
Blahnik x Birk is Carrie Bradshaw, television's best known Blahnik fan and least practical character, trying to cook in Aidan Shaw's country house.
Blahnik x Birk is that meme of Steve Buscemi wearing a hoodie and snapback and saying, "How do you do, fellow kids?"
It's a costume; it's a gag; it's — gasp — camp. And I'll be wearing it all summer long. You can, too, because they're now available for purchase online at Birkenstock.