Happy Feet

Happy Feet
Klub Nico's suede and embossed leather boots.

With looks that lean toward the fun and whimsical, fall 2009 is shaping up to be a season of color in footwear. Neon pastels, burnt orange and bold purples will rule, and there will be plenty of embellishments to boot. Wedge heels make a strong comeback and designs will be inspired by all things retro.

At Pink Studio Footwear in Walnut, Calif., designer Lucy Chang has matched vintage-looking leather with European-inspired floral fabrics, and contrasted classic colors such as navy with new hues like burnt orange. Fabrics are given a novel treatment, as well.

“We are using lace fabrics with a contrasting piece of color fabric underneath,” said Chang of the shoes, ranging from $32 to $55 at wholesale. “With this double layer, it adds texture and a very feminine look.”

Similarly, at San Diego-based Naughty Monkey, brand director Jay Randhawa said that burnt orange, pink and yellow will be major parts of the collection, as will softer versions of the blues and purples that were big last year. He also predicts a return of neon pastels.

The shoes wholesale from $60 to $90.

Embellishments will be interesting throughout. Pink Studio has stitched portions of large floral laces asymmetrically onto fabrics, adding plenty of rich detail. Randhawa said hardware embellishments are offered in a large range of shapes and sizes, and will include chains and wood accents. And there will be lots of beads and sequins on the twill and Thai silk shoes from City of Industry, Calif-based JP Originals.

Wedges also will be strong, said Pink Studio’s Chang. “We think wedges are still an essential part of every woman’s wardrobe,” she said. “Wedges give you the height, but are comfortable to walk in.”

Even functional shoes are trending toward new looks. Quebec-based Kamik is launching a line of shearling-lined boots in bold prints designed to look stylish on the rainiest days. Prints include tartan and Oriental and origami-inspired motifs as well as geometric prints and florals, said marketing manager Catherine Cook.

Tanise Hill, designer of Restricted Footwear in City of Industry, Calif., anticipates a return to what she described as “Western-bohemian” looks, and will offer a line of suede and leather boots, flats and pumps featuring fringe. Prices run around $30 at wholesale.

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