What's better than getting into bed after a long day? Not much, right. It was this feeling of maximum comfort that Martine Rose wanted to hone in on for her first collection as Clarks' creative director. Teased at her S/S 24 runway show, the results are fantastically squishy, exaggerated iterations of archive Clarks staples including the Oxford, Loafer, Sandal and Torhill Hi. The new campaign by long-time collaborator Sharna Osbourne goes inside the subversive world of Coming Up Roses, and comes to life with an immersive installation at The Corner Shop at Selfridges.
The ultra-cushioned shoe styles, which nod to Austrian artist Erwin Wurm’s ‘Convertible Fat Cars’ with their blown up proportions, are modelled on various MR characters within retro bedroom interiors designed by Polly Philips. Beds form a focal point in the campaign by Osbourne, referencing archival Clarks advertising from the 1980s where mattresses illustrated the extreme comfort of a Clarks shoe footbed.
'The collection was about comfort and this overblown feeling of softness and squidginess, so it felt easy and natural to create that feeling around bedding', Rose explains. 'Subconsciously, personal spaces have become a motif for the label that I’ve used for the collections and in various ways, and Coming Up Roses is about that intimacy that I enjoy pulling people into. There’s something so completely unique about personal space, a generosity to being invited to someone’s house – it breaks down the hierarchy.'
From both outside and inside The Corner Shop, shoppers and passersby will come across bedrooms which may remind one of a teenager's lair plastered with archive MR flyers, a nan's kitsch boudoir or even a musician's motel room. Available to buy in store, the Coming Up Roses collection can be tried on alongside the nostalgic foot measuring service offered by Clarks, with a limited edition shoe care set and posters also on offer.
‘A way of pulling someone in is to work with and build on something familiar - with the ghost of the thing that’s in your head. Clarks is such a democratic brand; I love that it’s for everyone and it’s so expansive. It would be out of step to create something removed from people’s everyday experience', Rose says of approaching The Corner Shop installation. 'We looked at the idea of the bedroom and added personal elements to the shop setting - which can often be quite sterile. We’ve brought familiar touches to the space, so people feel comfortable and hopefully feel the resonance of an emotional memory too. The playfulness and humour of the project - we can all be in on it. There was something so happy about going to Clarks as a kid, the special day with mum or dad having your feet measured for new shoes. We wanted to pay tribute to that shared, collective experience so many of us in the UK have.’