Hey Philippe, how’s Switzerland?
Fine, thank you. The winter is coming and now the temperature is going down…

Thanks for bringing your chocolate sneaker all the way to Paris for the launch of Sneaker Freaker 6. Did the Vandal survive the plane trip OK?
You’re welcome. It was a funny adventure! I didn’t take it back, I left it with Sarah from Colette.

The story in the last issue of SF was a little vague on detail… How exactly did you make them?
Wow, that’s a long story! First of all a friend came up with the original idea. He asked us if we thought we would be able to make a chocolate sneaker. We loved the idea, so I got in touch with the best chocolatier in town, Bastien Thibault de la maison Blondel. He liked the idea and told us it was possible. He just needed a solid sneaker in order to thermoform it. After that we spoke with Nike Switzerland. They got involved by providing us with a pair of Vandals which we branded. Then I found a Swiss artist (Denis Biggler) who’s used to work with modelling. He did a plaster mold of the Vandals, which was a long and difficult process. I brought back the plaster sneakers to the chocolatier and he thermoformed them. The result wasn’t as perfect as we wanted as we were losing too many details. Denis then told us to make a silicone mold, which is a thousand times more precise. Then Bastien with the chocolate did the magic trick!

How many hours did it take to make the first version? Did it cause a lot of trouble for you?
It wasn’t about hours, it was about weeks. And a lot of stress because at the end there was a lot of people involved in the project and we can’t fuck up without talking about the human relations problems, if you know what I mean!

They’re edible, right?
Yes, they are. But that’s not their purpose! The big ones are too expensive, too time consuming and difficult to make.

Is being a chocolatier a popular job in Switzerland?
Chocolate is magic and everyone loves it. Switzerland makes some of the best chocolate in the world, but I don’t think I can say that being a chocolatier is popular. But Blondel (since 1855) is popular!

We saw some pics of some new white chocolate Air Force. Have you been cooking up some new stuff or what?
Yes we did! We have been asked by Nike Switzerland to do a choco AF1 for Wordless 05. It was really cool. Bastien came with all the stuff and did one choco AF1 and Minis live. It works perfectly, a great job! Check out the video on our website.

And are there plans to make them available for sale?
Like I told you, not the big ones, but we are working on the minis in Dunk Hi, Blazer and Trainer SC. Pairs of those will be available in mini sneaker boxes and should be available at the end of the year.

I know you are part of the +41 design group…  What else do you get up to?
+41 is the fashion brand of our graphic design studio called //DIY composed by Laurence Jaccottet, Ivan Liechti and me, plus Stephane Polikar who handles the business part of +41! With //DIY we do a lot of different things to try to expand the field of the graphic design. Take a look at our websites www.diy.li and www.plus41.ch The new collection is on!!!!!!!

This article appeared in Issue 7 of Sneaker Freaker. Buy it here