Maya Angelou and More Model for Cole Haan

Cole Haan Born in 1928

Cole Haan Born in 1928 campaign

Maya Angelou, model? Poetry, not posing, is what Angelou is known for, but she, along with other American icons, have been enlisted by shoe company Cole Haan to celebrate their 85th year in business. In the company’s Born in 1928 campaign, Angelou, along with photographer Elliott Erwitt, astronaut Jim Lovell and model China Machado show the world that after 85 years, a brand can look just as young and fresh as the rest of the pack.

“They are all vibrant examples of how timelessness and true style are born out of confidence — and that never expires,” said Cole Haan vice president of marketing Erin Riley to WWD. “They are as relevant today as they were in the past, and they all represent various perspectives that we thought would resonate with our consumer.”

Cole Haan, which was recently sold by parent company Nike, has struggled to find its place in the market. Street wear aficionados look to the brand for their Lunargrand line, which mashes up familiar shoe styles with sneaker-inspired soles. Other shoppers look to Cole Haan for out-of-the-box comfort, often it’s one of the first brands that college grads flock to for their first pair of dress shoes when they enter the workforce. This season, the company’s campaign focuses on heritage, not the high-tech innovation that has marked the brand’s seasonal promotions in the past. Each of the “models” is 85 years old (other than Machado, who is one year shy) and sports a custom pair of Cole Haan shoes in the Born in 1928 campaign. Machado wears a pair of riding boots, Angelou sports a patterned kitten heel and naturally, former astronaut Lovell is featured with a Lunargrand model. The black and white photos were shot on location in New York City, where Cole Haan operates a special store that offers collaborations, one-off designs and limited-edition releases unavailable in department stores and the brand’s other retail locations.

“We need to look back to look forward,” Riley concluded. “At the same time, we are a very modern brand and we don’t want to be perceived as a traditional heritage brand. We’re more about attitude than an age group.”

Instead of focusing on heritage, which is the main focus for brands such as Allen Edmonds, Salvatore Ferragamo and more, Cole Haan continues to blend street influences with traditional footwear staples for both their men’s and women’s lines. The Born in 1928 campaign comes at a time when Cole Haan is looking to position itself in that sweet spot of accessible luxury. The company hopes that the campaign, which includes digital, outdoor and print ads, combines heritage and ingenuity, just like their cult-favorite Lunargrand line.

Images courtesy WWD

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Author:Christopher Luu for Fashion Trends Daily

Christopher Luu is a Fashion Trends Daily Senior Writer and Menswear Editor.