In 1978, Robert Clergerie took over the Romans shoe company better known under the name of UNIC, and in the wink of an eye transformed it into one of three great names in shoes, up there with Charles Jourdan and Stéphane Kélian. In the winter of 1981, he launched his first collection, sold in the boutique at 5 rue du Cherche-Midi. The Robert Clergerie machine developed relentlessly, with sales outlets multiplying from Tokyo to New York. Clergerie retired in 2001, only to make a comeback in 2005, taking over control of the company and getting it back on its feet. Design is key, and yet manufacturing still takes place in the French town of Romans. "Developing a brand is a subtle blend of organisation and passion" says Clergerie in explanation of his secret formula. His love of the trade, the simplicity of his style that reaches out to all exceptional women and his commercial success earned Clergerie the accolade of manufacturer of the year in 2005.