Coccodrillo co-owner Geert Bruloot
Coccodrillo founders Geert Bruloot and Eddy Michiels have always been super discerning when it comes to what labels they stock in their Antwerp-based shoe boutique – back in 1984 they started with just two, Armando Pollini Design and Fausto Santini. Being located in the notoriously fashion-forward Belgian city has naturally influenced the store’s directional shoe choices, and it’s now full to the brim with statement pieces from the likes of Balenciaga
, Ann Demeulemeester
, Prada, Nicholas Kirkwood
and Maison Martin Margiela
. Bruloot and Michiels also contribute to the Antwerp Fashion Museum’s shoe collection.
Since Coccodrillo recently made its debut on farfetch.com, we decided it was the perfect time to get to know the men behind the shoes a little better. So we sat down with Geert for five insightful minutes…
Farfetch.com: What's the story behind Coccodrillo?
Geert Bruloot: From the very first day, more than just shoes, we've tried to sell fashion.
Simply, we love them as objects - before you even put a shoe on you can appreciate it's shape.
Antwerp shoe boutique Coccodrillo (Men's store)
In the early days of Coccodrillo you had a lot of involvement with the Antwerp Six (ground-breaking Belgian designer group that included Dries Van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester), can you tell us a bit about that?
I met them when they were still unknown designers participating in the Golden Spindle contests, which were organised by the Belgian Government in 1984. I realised that this young group had the potential for an international breakthrough and when I proposed to present them together as a group at a British designers show in 1986 they all agreed immediately - the rest, as they say, is history. And we dubbed them The Antwerp Six to avoid the trouble of their Flemish names, which were back then considered unpronounceable.
How did working with them influence you?
Their success was the result of their talent, but also of the atmosphere here in Antwerp, with designers, photographers, graphic designers and make-up artists all working together - it’s all part of the story. So we’ve always shared the same vision of the future.
How were you able to tell they were going to be special?
Many people have asked me this, but I don’t know – I’m not an oracle. But I do think I get a good feeling for original talent, and this combined with my desire to share beauty and discovery with the world must somehow play a part in my success!
What do you look for when choosing what to buy each season?
Well in the first place it's always fashion and creativity. We want to amaze, and in general don't follow the market.
Antwerp shoe boutique Coccodrillo (Women's store)
What upcoming shoe labels should we be looking out for?
, Nicholas Kirkwood
, Edmundo Castillo and Mr. Hare
What's the most memorable pair of shoes you've ever had in stock?
We had some shoes that changed colour in different temperatures by Tokïo Kumagaï.
Who is your shoe icon?
The two greatest shoe designers of the 20th century are Mr Roger Viviver and Mr Salvatore Ferragamo