“It’s a crossover shoe; you can dress it up and dress it down,” said Christopher Bevans, creative director of Dyne. “I like to use the word ‘liminal.'” He was referring to his ready-to-wear brand’s collaboration with Williamsburg-based sneaker label Greats in New York , but the trend he so succinctly described took Pitti by storm this season.
Z Zegna has refined its machine-washable Techmerino runners. The fibers were already pretreated for thermoregulatory and moisture management properties, but they are now geared toward hip lounge lizards as well as sporty types. Think chic woven graphics, thanks to new knitting machine capabilities. And you don’t even have to run in them; they’re also designed to be worn step-down style at the back.
Having crafted mountaineering boots for famed climber Edmund Hillary, Bally has its origins in performance technology. This season, however, the Swiss brand is celebrating the 65th anniversary of the explorer’s ascent of Everest by taking the hiking boot to the street. Its urban Chamonix boot merges technical rubber-injected sole with streamlined suede uppers in red, grey and khaki — all shades of urban.
As for Bevans, his tech-driven urban utility athleisure brand was awarded the Woolmark Prize for Innovation in a ceremony that took place Tuesday night at Pitti. His Greats collab was part of a specially designed sheep-centric collection. The made-in-Italy kicks are constructed in premium leather with Loro Piana storm fabric inserts, and each shoe has a number on the side corresponding to the latitude and longitude of his office in Portland, Ore. “It’s a running shoe,” he said, “we just dressed it up.” Bevans, a former global designer for Nike, launched Dyne just three years ago and now retails at Barneys in the U.S. and Japan, and Lane Crawford in Hong Kong.
The liminal trend wasn’t just confined to Pitti’s footwear, however. It also extended to clothing – not least brand-new line Triple RRR from Robert Cavalli, (son of Roberto and Eva Cavalli), which premiered Thursday night. His debut collection fuses traditional outerwear with luxury loungewear from dressing gown-inspired coats to pajama-style track pants imagined in sumptuous velvets. “I always thought it was such a shame when you go to a restaurant and have to take off your coat, so I removed the buttons and added embroidered details so you can wear it all night long,” he said. There are no shoes as of yet, but watch this space. “It’s only the first season,” the designer teased, “I believe in taking things slowly, one step at a time.”