Buyers’ Insights: Men’s Spring 2016 Shows in Europe

Major retailers say sandals and sneakers continued to dominate the men’s runways in Europe for spring ’16 and are likely to take center stage again this week in New York.

Valentino and Saint Laurent were cited as Paris Fashion Week standouts, while Alessandro Michele brought new design energy to Gucci.

Sneakers appeared at both sides of the fashion spectrum, from polished kicks at Emporio Armani to battered styles on Saint Laurent’s runway. Also seen again this season were sandals with socks.

Here, five top buyers weigh in on the brands and trends that caught their attention in Europe and what to look for at New York Men’s Fashion Week.

Tom Kalenderian 
EVP & DMM of men’s and Chelsea Passage, Barneys New York

Top Trend: “Native American Indian beaded footwear is hot at the moment. No one understands this better than Hiroki Nakamura. He has created Visvim with a sensitivity and respect for this art form that is unprecedented. Del Toro’s Matthew Chevallard’s take on the trend is on point. Valentino showed the most luxurious spin with hand-beaded shoes and bags.”

Sandal Style to Watch:
“Alvaro Gonzalez crafts the chicest sandals. They are handmade with naturally tanned leathers that get better with age and are timeless.”

Style That Won’t Take Off: “We love espadrilles, but they are more of a European fascination. [Some] Americans take the plunge and wear them, but that’s more likely to happen on the Cote d’Azur rather than Madison Avenue.”

Labels to Watch at New York Men’s Fashion Week: Simon Miller, Ovadia & Sons, Greg Lauren, Orley, Siki Im, Visvim, Public School, Hood By Air, Tim Coppens, Eidos.

Kevin Harter
VP of men’s fashion direction, Bloomingdale’s

Key Brands: Mr. Hare, Church’s, Y-3’s collaborations with Kolor and White Mountaineering.

Top Trends: “Footwear, like apparel, has become more casual and relaxed. We are seeing that continue for the spring ’16 season, as well as the use of color for shoes.”

Style Standout: “Sandals continue to gain momentum in the upcoming season, and the influence of the Birkenstock-style sandal can definitely be seen on the runways.”

Labels to Watch at New York Men’s Fashion Week:  Armando Cabral.

Bruce Pask
Men’s fashion director, Bergdorf Goodman

Key Brands: “Berluti continues to surprise witha continuous stream of product innovation. Alessandro Sartori, after introducing the Playtime sneaker, showed even more athletic models, with youthful, exciting colors and patinas that are perfect for our customer. It has been exciting to watch Alessandro Michele’s reenergizing of the Gucci brand. Brunello Cucinelli’s shoe line has defined the balance between sartorial and casual.

Top Trends: “Denim as a material in footwear. We saw it at Givenchy in a boat-sneaker style, in a skater-style slip-on at Bottega Veneta and in sneakers and espadrilles at Brunello Cucinelli. Valentino had denim camouflage sneakers, and Prada had denim dress shoes. I’m also loving the patterns and animal prints in various colorways we’re seeing in sportswear and accessories.”

Sandal Style: “The classic crisscross double-strapped sandal received quite a few fresh interpretations that I loved.”

Style That Won’t Take Off: “Shorts worn with sandals, and shoes with darker dress socks. It has been ubiquitous, but I don’t think it will translate much into life off the runway.”

Labels to Watch At New York Men’s Fashion Week: Orley, Michael Bastian, John Elliot.

Damien Paul
Head of menswear, Matchesfashion.com

Key Brands: “I thought the footwear at Y-3 was brilliant. I loved the sandal hybrid versions of their Qasa trainer. I also loved the more bohemian feel at Valentino — the beaded sandals and printed trainers felt like a strong update for the brand. And I’m always a fan of Raf Simons x Adidas.”

Top Trends: “The scruffy, scuffed-up sneakers we saw at Saint Laurent and Raf Simons. I love the idea of pairing an incredibly expensive piece of clothing with a pair of battered old sneakers.”

Sandal Style: “Technical sandals are set to be everywhere — particularly the elevated hiking sandals at Bottega Veneta and Lanvin. They were more often than not paired with socks, [so] it’ll be interesting to see if that trickles down.”

Labels to Watch at New York Men’s Fashion Week: Tim Coppens, Off-White and Public School.

Eric Jennings
VP & fashion director, menswear, home and beauty, Saks Fifth Avenue

Key Brands: Balmain, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta.

Top Trends: As sneakers got really dressed up this season, I love the double monk strap and brogue-inspired versions.

Sandal Style: The slide. Some call it the shower slide, some call it the dorm-room slide and some call it the sandal slide, but the slide is definitely the go-to sandal of the summer.

Style That Won’t Take Off: The men’s Mary Jane.

Labels to Watch at New York Men’s Fashion Week: Timo Weiland, Public School, Billy Reid.

Laure Heriard Dubreuil 
CEO and co-founder, The Webster

Key Brands: Pierre Hardy, Valentino, Carven

Top Trends: Summer espadrilles with or without prints.

Sandal Style to Watch: Slide sandals. Birkenstock shapes with a twist.

Brands to Watch at New York Men’s Fashion Week: Calvin Klein always comes up with some very strong and editorial shoes. Rag & Bone is now offering a full line of footwear since last year and I look forward to see what will be offered this time.‎

Alberto Oliveros
Head buyer, Level Shoe District 

Key Brands: Valentino, Dries Van Noten, Pierre Hardy.

Top Trends: Woven was prominent this season across all the categories, from sneakers to sandals to classic shoes. Denim made a comeback for spring ’16 throughout the collections, giving us 70s and 90s vibes. The monk strap is a trend that may be here to stay, while sneakers are still the strongest trend in men’s footwear.

Sandal Style to Watch: The slide sandals are a season staple, interpreted in a formal and casual way.


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