Il recréerait des souliers,
Ah Dieu, si vous le vouliez!

Stéphane Mallarmé’s The Savetier perfectly embodies the spirit of Adieu, the made in France shoe-brand founded in 2012 by Isabelle Guédon and Benjamin Caron.  

The Adieu project is to ennoble the history of men and popular shoes, offering mixed collections for men and women. Friends since adolescence, Isabelle and Benjamin take two different routes. In the late ‘90s the latter creates his first collection of brothel handmade creeper shoes, sold exclusively at Absynthe in Paris. Afterwards, he creates a special collection for the Dunhill concept store Rue de la Paix. Isabelle instead works in various fashion houses, mainly as the right arm of Alber Elbaz at Guy Laroche and then at Yves Saint Laurent. She also spends time as the director of The Textile Design Department at the High School of Decorative Arts of Paris. It’s just the common desire to create something absolutely original, that so longed shoe, sought and never found, to make them choose to join the forces. The result is a line of shoes with a romantically evocative name. A measured mix between the Teddy Boys’ style of the ‘50s, the punk-rock scene of the ‘70s and the ‘80s and an exquisitely Parisian elegance. Theirs is a bad-boy yes, unabashedly sophisticated.

Their collections are timeless, released by seasonality, always fresh and innovative yet. For the 2014-15 A/W they bring us to Japan – on the roofs of an illuminated nighttime Tokyo – for a bowling party… We only need to wear their shoes and drink with Champagne to that  just made strike!



Fucking Young! – Welcome Guys! Let’s start with you… You have known each other since adolescence and travelled parallel but different paths. Then, in 2012, you decided to join forces and found Adieu, a shoe-line with the purpose of melting precious “elegant” and bad boys. When and how did you realize it was the right time?

Adieu – In a way, we have always known that we’d have created a shoe brand that inspired by all we like. Benjamin has been designing shoes since he was a teenager and we share so many aesthetic references that it had to happen at one point.
Why now…? This is a bit mysterious to be honest.
We had to be ready and mature for it and our past experiences just told us “do it now”!


FY! – “Purpose is nothing less like the things themselves that what is very close”, Raymond Radiguet’s sentence extracted from Devil in the Flesh is your brand’s motto. Your original idea was to start with the shoes you wore as teenagers. You wanted to give them a real nobility, focusing on minimalist design and quality: to make beautiful shoes on the basis of a simple and popular philosophy. Who was Adieu thought for?


A – At the beginning, just for us! We felt someway frustrated for not being able to find and wear them!
Well, more seriously, for girls & boys like us: those who in their teenage time liked the same kind of music we liked, had this kind of British punk & mods scene influence. Those who are now adult and would be happy to get all these little signs, slightly balanced in shoes designs.
And we’re happy to give them the opportunity to find all that in the Adieu shoes. One day, a French journalist told us that what she loves about Adieu shoes is that “she was feeling like she’d always known these shoes, but she couldn’t find them before”… This is a great feeling about our work and a big compliment for us.
Some younger people, who now go back to past rock ‘n’ roll influence are also attracted by our shoes, which is great!


FY! – Why a so evocative name?

A – This is a very poetic and romantic word in French; you can find it in a lot of poems.
And this is where it came from. From a poem by Stéphane Mallarmé where he wrote:
“Et il recréerait des souliers,
Ah Dieu, si vous le vouliez!”
In English, you might translate it like this:
“He would recreate shoes,
Oh God! If only you’d wish!”

From the “Ah Dieu” came this idea of the word ADIEU.
Since 18 years ago Benjamin was producing some handmade brothel creepers, for us it was a sort of sign to go back to our original interest for shoes. And we thought it was just the mood of our shoes: romantic, inspired by the past but with this radical minimalism also in the design.
For us, it is a positive word, which means, just go ahead, don’t look back!


FY! – Benjamin, you have always observed and worn  shoes of the English working class, made famous by the Teddy Boys of  the most significant punk-rock scene of the 70’s and 80’s figures. In the late 90’s you created your first collection of brothel handmade creeper shoes, sold exclusively at Absynthe in Paris. Isabelle, you worked in various fashion houses, mainly as the right arm of Alber Elbaz at Guy Laroche and then at Yves Saint Laurent.
How do two so different souls combine? How much and what there is of Benjamin and how much and what there is Isabelle?

A – Well, we have known each other since 30 years now…  and we share so many tasted in terms of music, movie, aesthetic things and design that we’re a bit like Siamese, and Siamese with no ego trip, which is a very important point! Ours is really a fifty-fifty contribution for structuring the brand and collections.
Then, the fact that Benjamin was not so involved in fashion keeps him “fresh” to propose personal design. On the other hand, since Isabelle has been very “immersed” in fashion, from here she can focus more on the line-sheet and the brand construction.


FY! – How much have your mutual experiences helped in shaping the brand identity?

A – For this Adieu project, we both agreed not to think about everything at the very beginning of the brand, but rather to give a very personal vision of the ideal shoes we both would love to have.
Then, after this first step, we had to build around that and this is when our backgrounds helped a lot and allowed us to share very harmoniously what we both have to do for Adieu.
Isabelle had a great experience alongside Alber Elbaz, so she generally starts to find the theme and details ideas for the season. Benjamin has to stay “fresh” from outside inspirations, so he starts to design very spontaneously from there. Then, Isabelle criticizes and looks for directions and Benjamin designs again in a more directional way on the basis of the different collection lines.
After this, it is the opposite: Isabelle suggests colors and materials and makes suggestions on the designs. Benjamin criticizes and she reviews it.
At one point, the collection is there!


FY! – With an adjective, how would you define the Adieu-style?

A – Sharp!(If we can have a 2nd one… Evident!)


FY! – Your shoes are completely handmade. The lasts are made by you, Benjamin, and the styles are first drawn on the lasts. Then the soles are made in France, the leather is French or Italian and the shoe is constructed in Portugal. How important is it for you to maintain the quality, the uniqueness of your items? Would you like to describe  for us the creative/production process?

A – Yes, the soles are very important in Adieu shoes, and they represent a large part of the original concept.
We definitely kept this “brothel creepers” idea but we wanted them slicker in both design and most of all in feeling: we wanted them silent, lightweight, comfortable ; structured but with the comfort of sneakers.
We like the fact that our crepe soles are visually simple but that very sophisticated in their execution.
The 3 mm raised pad and the Blake sewing crosses all along the layers are also one of our distinguishing features.
So they are hand made in France since we want the best results for our design.
The same for our uppers which have subtle details like piping, fine stitching and are inspired by 50’s shoes. We always maintain simple and minimalist designs so the manufacturing has to be perfect to get the exact result we want. Like people say “simple is not easy”!
This is why Benjamin still continues from his handmade shoemaker experience to make the wooden last himself, so that we have exactly the volume we want. He also draws each style on the last to give the most precise information to our manufacturer. I think we are a bit obsessional but we have to be like that!


FY! – Adieu first collections were bought by boutiques such as Colette and Le Bon Marché in Paris and a dozen of very exclusive international stores like Dover Street Market in London and Tokyo. In a saturated market and in a difficult historical moment, what do you think the key of this success is?

A – Sincerely, this is a bit mysterious and first of all, I think that we have to be so thankful to these so influential stores for dedicating to us their time, being curious and there before everyone knows you. This is a magical alchemy. It might be that Adieu was here at the right time and in the right place… No more rational answer… And this is the beauty of this kind of launch since you can’t know at the very beginning, you can’t plan, you can only propose and hope that something matches. This is the poetic side of this business.


FY! – Let’s come to the 2014-15 F/W Collection. You offer classic men’s shoes like the Derby, TYPE 1. The archetypal shoe, like all the other 4 models from the first winter 2012 collection: TYPE 2 (desert boots), TYPE 3 (zip boots – inspired by the shoes worn by French priests), TYPE 4 (the creepers), TYPE 5 (the loafer). Would you like to talk about?

A – As a designer who has to make The Chair once in his designer’s life, we thought that we had to start by iconic shoes, as a basement.
We don’t believe that things have to be changed every season if you propose some permanent basics. Of course, they are all inspired in the Adieu spirit by the ‘40s to ‘70s (zazous, mods, punks…), but as simple classics they don’t have to be changed.
Which is also great because, then, we can even play more on the non-permanent styles, every season and get funnier designs, since Adieu has a “crazy” side too… we’re not only “basic”. 


FY! – What is the item that best represents your collection?

A – Every season, we say TYPE 1! And for this FW14 season, TYPE 28 is a new creeper that at a first sight may seem a classic model but has a shifted twist!


FY! – The unisex garments are the fil rouge from one collection to the other… Why this choice?

A – At the beginning, when we started Adieu, we thought to launch a men shoes brand. But when the 1rst prototypes arrived, Isabelle just wanted them so eagerly! So we ordered them in a women size too and we thought it be a mixed brand. Like we said before, intuition and “accident” are great sometimes and you have to listen to them!


FY! – The item that can’t miss in your wardrobe?

For Isabelle – A scarf : vintage with nice colors and patterns (otherwise she gets sore throat…!) and also, I think it makes a nice end point to an outfit.
For Benjamin – A pin for tie: also vintage ones that I could put instead of the tie!


FY! – One value and one fault for each of you?

Isabelle’s value – Multifunctional brain!
Isabelle’s fault – Very talkative…
Benjamin’s value – Highly tuned.
Benjamin’s fault – He is not a “morning guy”.


FY! – In Benjamin e Isabelle’s opinion, what is really FUCKING YOUNG?

A – GOD!



Take a look below at Adieu’s Fall/Winter 2014-15 collection: