History

CAREL, AN OPEN BOOK

The Carel house has been following four generations of women for 60 years. More free and more available, they travel, they work, they are passionate about everything… and they love these shoes that fit their needs!

“ Les femmes qui aiment lire sont mystérieuses.”

The 50’s

page_image_1In the 1950s, women wore shoes with thin high heels and pointed toes. They are the ideal consequence of the New Look collection highlighted by Christian Dior. In 1947, Georges Carel left Grenoble, where he was born, and moved to Paris. He first worked in a store near Notre-Dame de Lorette, then opened a store in the latin district with his wife Rosette in 1952.

The success was immediate and students from the district ran to the store to get the emblematic Mary-Jane shoes, Charles IX shoes and the low-heeled pumps offered in any colour: it was an innovation at the time!

The 60’s

nav_carel_vignette_4In the 1960s, winds of freedom swept upon fashion: the skirts were shortened and were worn with low-heeled pumps in pop colours. In 1964, the house created a trend-forecasting agency. A former bootmaker from Christian Dior (Mr. Mantilla) assisted Georges in designing the shapes, the heels and the models crafted in Romans. The 1960s marked the opening of the store on the Champs-Elysées.

Then were opened the stores at 4, rue Tronchet and 41, boulevard des Capucines in Paris, and in Rouen, Grenoble, but also Lille… The very first shoe booth was opened at the Galeries Lafayette in Paris. The brand was also present in Bruxelles and New York.

The 70’s

1974The 1970s were a prosperous period of great creation for Carel. A manufacture opened in Blois in 1977. Tony, Georges’ son, joined the family team after being trained in Italy. The small heels from the 1960s gave place to thick high heels and wedges for the next decade, giving height to women while remaining comfortable.

In 1974, a rich collaboration started between the photographer Jeanloup Sieff and Carel. Both very modern, feminist and sexy, his photos still remain in people’ minds and were instrumental in bringing about Carel’s advertising success for two decades.

The 1970s also marked the advent of collaborations between Carel and great designers: Castelbajac, Thierry Mugler, Poppy Moreni, Chantal Thomass, Jean-Paul Gaultier or even Lagerfeld for Chloé. They presented their collections with shoes specially created by Carel for the runways and manufactured in Blois.

The 80’s

1970'sDuring the 1980s, the shapes of shoes grew longer, the leathers were box calf, calf leather, and soles and heels were thick. Through this decade, the collaborations with the designers went on, and humour and creativity were key words. In 1982, Carel bought Carvil and borrowed one of its iconic models from the brand, adapting it to women: the Triomphe model.

Then, Carel opened new stores avenue Victor Hugo and rue Royal, in Paris. In 1986, Michèle Bineau-Carel joined her brother Tony and her husband Gilles, Carel’s financial manager, to handle purchases and the organisation of the collections.

The 90’s

Carole Bellaïche CarelIn the 1990s, during the day, women dressed in a very functional way. However, at night, and on great occasions, the shoe must be refined, with thin straps and decorated with pearls. During that period, the founder Georges Carel retired.

 

The next generation took advantage of the success of the elegant shoe to unrestrainedly express themselves. In the 1990s, the photographer Jean Langlais took over Carel’s advertising.

The 20’s

Jalouse3The 2000s marked fashion with the presence of elegant and feminine lines. Moreover, the heels were high and thin. Carel opened a store rue Saint-Honoré, a booth at Printemps in Lille, then Lyon, and eventually Strasbourg. After a 10-year collaboration and success at Annick Goutal’s perfumery, Frédérique Picard and Monia Ghazouani joined forces and purchased Carel in order to give it a second life.

This wish to rejuvenate the brand translated into a deep effort on the collections, most importantly the timeless collection, the development of a line of pumps, of capsule collections (the Fable theme) and of limited series.

An accent was also put on communication, with the resurgence of advertising campaigns. Big store renovations were organized in 2011 and the first to be unveiled was the one on rue Tronchet, in Paris.

The architect Claudio Colucci was entrusted with the conception of the store following his work on the windows for Hermès in Tokyo. He designed the Lumen hotel in 2007, located in the heart of Paris.