With another couture season in the books, here’s a closer look at the fall ’16 footwear highlights that hit the runway.
Fendi closed out the season on a memorable note, with flora embroidered round-toe bootines with contrast laces. Overall, the collection pushed the au-courant-quirk (ahem, Gucci effect) a little too hard, but the shoes had Victorian charm to spare.
J. Mendel also embraced lacing, with crisscross mid-calf boots done in satin and wrap-tie thongs grounding all the open-work of dresses. Nothing remarkable (Chanel did couture flip-flops first), but nice nonetheless.
Heels and mules at Givenchy came embellished with stark stonework for a modernized take on bling. Speaking of modern, at Valentino, side-belted combat boots toughened up ethereal dresses. Chunky lug soles and airy chiffon are the new pretty punk.
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Other substantial styles ruled at Maison Margiela, where John Galliano’s artisanal collection played with volume top to toe, from exaggerated wader boots to amplified studded clogs and platforms.
On the more prim side of things, there was a parade of Mary Jane pumps at Armani Privé. Speaking of tame, at Chanel, simple squared-off suede boots in all black seemed to be intended to direct the eye upward to the tweedy couture craftsmanship on display. Following an opposite approach, Giambattisa Valli smartly reflected his hyper-feminine DNA right down to Laura Ashley-esque buttoned boots. Atelier Versace also skewed more sweet and less overtly sexy than usual, showing a series of pumps with perfectly imperfect knotted leather twists at the toe.
Ironically, it wasn’t a couture collection at all that produced the strongest shoe message of the week. Instead, it was Vetements’ spring ’17 special collection, with its collaborative Manolo Blahnik thigh-highs, Lucchese boots, Church’s loafers and custom Dr. Martens — that quickened fashion’s pulse the most.