"I draw on my bed, couch, dining room table, in my car. I have no rules," says Mr Hardy of his design process, which starts with sketches, and moves on to prototype models that are refined until the end product is reached. These high tops combine athletic styling with futurism, made elegant by the proportions and luxurious suede
The shoes lace up through reinforced eyelets and have a Velcro strap across the ankle on to which the designer's name is subtly stamped. The soles are engraved with a geometric pattern, a Pierre Hardy signature. The shoes are made in Portugal, and are fully leather lined
Having studied fine art, worked as an illustrator, created shoes for luxury fashion houses and collaborated with Gap, Mr Hardy is not short of expertise. "I love creating things," says the designer. "Maybe I like designing shoes because they're like sculptures. And even when they're not being worn, they still have a presence"
Taking inspiration from art, architecture and geometry, rather than from trends or historical influences, Mr Hardy creates some of the world's most stylish shoes. Having studied fine art at the prestigious École Normale Supérieure in Paris, Mr Hardy initially worked as an illustrator for publications including Vanity Fair and Vogue Hommes, before taking his first design job in 1987, creating the shoes for Christian Dior. This ensured that when Mr Hardy launched his own label in 1999, he was already well versed in the intricacies of designing and producing luxurious shoes. The Pierre Hardy men's collection debuted in 2002, with a strong emphasis on the elegant sneakers, carefully constructed from fine leathers, for which the designer is still renowned.
In addition to designing his own label, which in 2009 was admitted to the exclusive Comité Colbert (a select group of French luxury brands), Mr Hardy also collaborates with Mr Nicolas Ghesquière on the shoes at Balenciaga, and oversees the footwear and fine jewellery at Hermès. Every Tuesday, Mr Hardy teaches at the leading Duperré fashion school in Paris. "I find the exchanges with students very refreshing," says Mr Hardy, who is constantly innovating and developing new approaches to shoe design.