Exclusive: 12 Top Footwear Buyers Reveal Which Brands to Watch Out For During Fashion Month

Twelve of the world’s top buyers reflect on the brands everyone’s talking about, the fancy footwear on the FROW, plus the hottest tickets and the newest labels you need to know about this fashion month.

Roopal Patel, Fashion director, Saks Fifth Avenue

Brand to bet on: “Saint Laurent. The Niki over-the-knee crystal boots that walked the runway last season created so much buzz. I cannot wait to see who will rock the boots this season.”

Front-row style: “Boots. It is all about a statement boot this season. The white boot, the red boot, the combat boot … there is a boot for everyone this season.”

Hot ticket: “Gucci in Milan is one of the hottest tickets. I am always excited to see what Alessandro Michele’s creative vision is for the season. In Paris, I love what Anthony Vaccarello is doing at Saint Laurent. He brought sexy back with his fall collection. I can’t wait to see what he has in mind for spring.”

Roopal Patel
CREDIT: Illustration by Mario Wagner

Maria Milano, GMM, Harrods

Brands to bet on: “Gucci for its embellished trainers, Gianvito Rossi sandals and Aquazzura heels will be on heavy rotation, but I’m betting on Balenciaga’s sock boot to steal the show — it works with trousers and dresses, and comes in always- sleek black and notice-me red, among other colors.”

Front-row style: “The Balenciaga boot will be out in full force, but we’ll also probably see a Saint Laurent slouch boot or two. I’ll also be wearing my Malone Souliers metallic at mules when I need to give my feet a break — they are a lovely, dainty shape.”

Hot tickets: “I’m looking forward to seeing what Clare Waight Keller will bring to Givenchy and, in turn, to see what Natacha Ramsay-Levi will be doing at Chloé. Paris is my favorite show city, and it’s exciting to have a shake-up on the calendar. Aside from the classic houses, the hot tickets are the buzz brands like Off-White and Faith Connexion in Paris and Fenty Puma at NYFW.”

Felicity Brand, Womenswear footwear buyer, Harvey Nichols

Brand to bet on: “Balenciaga is the thing to be seen in. Demna Gvasalia’s streetwear attitude to couture has resonated this season both commercially and with street-style influencers. Key pieces are the speed sock runners and kitten knife mule.”

Front-row style: “[Everyone will be wearing] boots in the manner of the Saint Laurent crystal Niki from the fall runway. The leather and patent versions are also gorgeous and very versatile. The knee boot is a style we have also seen coming through from Isabel Marant, Francesco Russo and Gianvito Rossi.”

Hot ticket: “This season, everyone will want a ticket to the Chloé show in Paris. With it being Natacha’s rst collection for the house, it will be really interesting to see what direction she is taking the label.”

Caterina Ercoli, Footwear buyer, Antonioli

Brands to bet on: “Off-White’s Nike collaboration, Balenciaga’s Triple S sneakers, Vetements’ genetically modified Reebok pump and Dior’s slingback.”

Front-row style: “Sneakers and logo socks for men. For women, it will be pumps and sock boots.”

Hot tickets: “J.W. Anderson in London. Prada in Milan. Christian Dior, Valentino, Givenchy, Haider Ackermaan, Dries Van Noten and Off-White in Paris.”

Hannah Bibb, Assistant fashion director, Barneys New York

Brand to bet on: “Walter de Silva. He launched with us exclusively in the spring, and I adore this collection. Mr. de Silva, formerly a legend in the automotive industry, threads a technical yet timeless aesthetic throughout his collection. His shoes follow a strict code of proportion, feminine details and ergonomics. The edited collection of evening shoes demonstrates that simplicity is beauty.”

Front-row style: “Consumers tend to be more experimental when it comes to fall footwear, and we’ll see several trends translate from the runway to reality. For example, the slouchy boot will retire the over-the-knee boot. Expect to see them worn with a minidress, a la Saint Laurent or over skinny jeans peering out from under a maxi coat.”

Hot ticket: “Paris will be the capital that is most boisterous this season. I am excited to see how the newly appointed Natacha Ramsay-Levi at Chloé, and Clare Waight Keller at Givenchy, will translate each of the collections with their own mastery. Additionally, Joseph Altuzarra is migrating across the pond and will make his Paris debut this season. He was born and raised there, so it will be an emotional homecoming for him and a show to remember.”

CREDIT: Illustration by Mario Wagner

Morgane Toullec, Footwear buyer, Le Bon Marché

Brands to bet on: “Off-White for its unique street style and Pierre Hardy — always a must-have for shoe addicts.”

Front-row style: “Flats will be important, as will embellishment. Fur will also be key. Expect to see mules and slippers from brands like Avec Moderation, Anya  Hindmarch and Joshua Sanders.”

Hot tickets: “Chloé and Givenchy in Paris will be much anticipated with their new artistic directors, while a spot at Off-White will also be much in demand.”

Graziella Carta, Luxury shoes womenswear buyer, Luisa Via Roma

Brand to bet on: “Balenciaga. It keeps raising interest among fashion insiders.”

Front-row style: “The logo trend isn’t just for apparel. Expect to see it out in force in footwear too — as seen on the Saint Laurent Opyum pumps with the metal YSL label on the heel.”

Hot ticket: “Gucci in Milan and Balenciaga in Paris.”

Alberto Oliveros, GMM, On Pedder

Brands to bet on: “I am behind Balenciaga and Gianvito Rossi.”

Front-row style: “Flats and kitten heels are the new sexy. You can now feel confident on the front row even if you’re not in sky-high heels. Designers have also been going all-out with the statement shoe, so expect to see sparkles and embellishments galore. This is also an exciting season for color, with designers unapologetically showcasing bold whites and reds on their boot styles.”

Hot ticket: “I am excited to be in Paris to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Cristobal Balenciaga’s first atelier, especially after seeing Gvasalia’s incredible reinterpretations of archive couture pieces last fashion week. Milan should be another hot ticket with brands such as Marco de Vincenzo, who has rocked the runway for the last few seasons with showstopping styles.”

Alberto Oliveros
CREDIT: Illustration by Mario Wagner

Federica Montelli, Buying manager of shoes, jewelry and watches, La Rinascente

Brand to bet on: “Definitely Balenciaga.”

Front-row style: “I am pretty sure everyone will be wearing kitten heel mules. The jewel-colored Balenciaga ones will be a definite hit, especially in New York and Milan. In Paris we will see more boots on the front row, and I’m hoping to see many slouchy ones.”

Hot ticket: “In London, Sophia Webster always does the best footwear presentation out there. In Milan, everyone is waiting to see how long the Gucci craze will last. Prada is also a fashion favorite. At Marni, I am waiting to see how Francesco Risso’s second collection develops after his not-so-strong debut last season. In Paris I am particularly excited to see Clare Waight Keller’s debut at Givenchy. I am sure it will be an amazing show with a completely different interpretation. I am also interested to check Altuzarra’s first Parisian show. Their team is working hard for it.”

Cassie Smart, Buying manager for footwear and bags, Matchesfashion

Brand to bet on: “Balenciaga — it’s pioneering compelling new silhouettes and has interesting price points for runway shoes.”

Front-row style: “Kitten heels.”

Hot ticket: “In London, it’s Marques Almeida. We are seeing strong development in the footwear area, and it’s great to see the strong DNA of the brand coming through. We are excited to see what the brand does next. In Paris, Loewe continues to feel new and exciting, also very compelling and luxurious.”

Ida Petersson, Womenswear buying director, Browns

Brand to bet on: “No one can go wrong with Balenciaga this fall. Adopted from the men’s version, the Triple S is one of the key shoes. This is the new generation of sneakers, which is blowing the socks off all other competition. That, combined with their sock boots and those incredible satin kitten heels, is just one of the many reasons why Balenciaga is my favorite shoe brand of the season.”

Front-row style: “Balenciaga. I imagine we will be seeing the Triple S sneaker everywhere, or a hybrid version. I’m also expecting to see a lot of socks.”

Hot ticket: “In Paris, Off-White. In my mind, Virgil Abloh is only at the beginning of his journey, and I know footwear is an area he is looking to explore further. Those ‘For Walking’ boots set quite a precedent, so I really can’t wait to see the next big thing.”

Ida Petersson
CREDIT: Illustration by Mario Wagner

Marie-Julie Malone, Shoe department merchandise manager, Printemps

Brand to bet on: “Balenciaga. We’re launching Charlotte Olympia here with luxury multibrand Biondini, and I love her slippers with the patches.”

Front-row style: “Velvet, a low heel and pearls. What else?”

Hot ticket: “Gucci. We’ve just launched a pop-up store and limited-edition capsule. Alessandro Michele knows how to rewrite the traditional luxury codes.”

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