“It’s the season of the boot. This might sound obvious but I’ve never seen a stronger boot lineup,” said Net-a-Porter’s retail fashion director Lisa Aiken today at a presentation of the retailer’s top trends for the upcoming season, held at East London’s new members club, The Ned.
Boots came in all forms and sizes for fall 2017, and Net-a-Porter will be standing behind the trend in a big way. Aiken pointed to a series of key styles: the sock boot where Demna Gvasalia’s versions for both Vetements and Balenciaga continue to dominate; the ankle boot with key styles including knee-high versions in bold shades by one of the most popular label’s on the site, Off-White; the combat boot with embellished military-inspired styles by the likes of Dorateymur and No. 21, and the slouch boot spearheaded by Saint Laurent.
The crystal-embellished version of Saint Laurent’s slouch boots, “the most Instagrammed boots of Fashion Month,” according to Aiken, made up the highest-spend in Net’s fall footwear buy. Despite the steep price point and the lack of practicality, the company has already sold half of its order to VIP clients through pre-orders. “We know our woman really wants to go there,” added Aiken.
Ganni’s glossy red ankle boots, which accessorized every look at the contemporary label’s fall runway show, were highlighted as another hero item.
The company has been working towards promoting color confidence through its offer, as well as through the styling seen on the site. “It’s a natural progression of the maximalist mood set by Gucci, but also globalization,” said Aiken, explaining that as brands are increasingly thinking about customers from across the world, darker color palettes for fall are no longer necessarily as relevant in key markets such as the Middle East or Singapore.
“The red ankle boot will offer that instant wardrobe update,” she added, pointing to additional styles by the likes of Fendi, Isabel Marant, Alexander McQueen and Rosetta Getty.
Continuing from last season, white boots in different iterations — from combat to stiletto boots and block-heeled styles — will remain popular. Trends that evolve over several seasons are something that appeals to the retailer; “When a trend is first introduced we have our early adopters but its second season can have a more commercial impact. We believe in brands which favor evolution rather than revolution.”
Velvet is another popular trend from last fall which will continue to make its presence felt. “We sold over 13,000 pairs of velvet shoes last season and the trend is not going anywhere anytime soon,” Aiken explained. “It’s recast with a more vintage appeal.”
Prim kitten heels and glamorous sandals are another key trend for the upcoming season as streetwear and sneakers are becoming less of a focus. Balenciaga is leading the way — yet again — with its kitten-heeled colorful heeled mules, followed by Marco de Vincenzo’s playful glitter versions and chenille mules by Tibi.
When it comes to evening sandals, Aiken pointed to Calvin Klein’s white and crystal heeled sandals and to a strappy version by Gucci. Calvin Klein has quickly become one of the retailer’s top-spending brands since Raf Simmons’ debut collection. As for Gucci, Aiken said that Alessandro Michele’s influence isn’t going anywhere despite ongoing debates.
New names in Net’s fall lineup include Roger Vivier; Trademark, which stands out for its glossy finishes; and Neous, a young label known for adding a modernist twist on classic styles with architectural heels and color-block patterns.
Aiken highlighted that the company sees new launches as the start of longterm partnerships and works towards promoting them through the launch of exclusive capsules. She pointed to Milanese label Attico, which has tripled in size since launching on Net last year and has recently launched exclusive footwear styles on the site, following on from the success of an exclusive Christmas capsule.