For spring ’20 Ada Kokosar is working on making her line more accessible in terms of price point while retaining the brand’s ultra feminine identity. “I wanted to take the wow effect of Midnight but simplify the designs a little,” she explained. The signature fairytale plumetis stays but there’s less PVC window dressing. In some of the styles she’s cleverly reversed the effect so patent leather uppers come with a plumetis wrap while she’s introduced more ruched satin and lycra fabrications on pumps and slingbacks plus sporty Teva-inspired styles. Of this more casual evolution, she said that while the concept of Midnight00 shoes is “a dress for the foot,” you also sometimes want to dress down. “I wanted an easy day shoe to wear to Starbucks to get a coffee but still in a Midnight kind of way,” she said. “We have so many dimensions as women so I wanted to cover as many of them as possible so while these are more activewear there’s still the same femininity and romance with the ruffles.” The shoes actually made their debut on Rihanna’s Fenty runway in September in New York thanks to stylist Jacob K — Midnight also featured in the first Fenty show last year — so although they are officially spring ’20, expect an early drop towards the end of October.
Shiny new styles and shiny new stockists for Martinez. Chosen by Elizabeth von der Gotz for the Net-a-Porter Vanguard programme, designer Julien Martinez has just reached the end of a three season online exclusive and opened up the market — e-commerce stockists now include Saks Fifth Avenue, Harvey Nichols, Galeries Lafayette and more — look out also for a capsule with Mythersa dropping next month. The repertoire has expanded with square toes, puffy leather weaves, new heel shapes inspired by Spanish chairs and a new bag line to boot. We also need to talk about comfort because Martinez is one of only a small handful of ‘blister free’ brands (FN’s European Editor is a sample size so can absolutely vouch.The designer has doubled his production capacity to cope with demand but everything is still made in Alicante Spain, using traditional techniques with much of the weaving done at home by a network of telly-watching grannies before factory assemblage. Don’t go messing with a Spanish granny.
Lacoste collaborated with Helen Kirkum on handmade sneakers made from leather pieces upcycled from the previous season’s footwear. Kirkum who is known for these hybrid collage constructions, previously partnered with men’s label CMMN SWDN for spring ‘19 and really spearheaded the collage sneaker movement, currently being embraced by emerging designers such as Ancuta Sarca. “I gave her sneakers I didn’t use for the last collection and asked her to remake them into something totally different,” said Lacoste creative director Louis Trotter. There was also another collaboration this season, with Rosh Mahtani of hip London jewelry label Alighieri who reimagined Robert George’s famous Lacoste crocodile into pendants and bracelets.
Kaia Gerber closed Chitose Abe’s “One Nation Under a Groove” show wearing a parachute dress printed with a map of the world and swinging a matching globe shaped bag. The collection took its name from that ’70s George Clinton album and featured T-shirts depicting art from the record sleeve. While the idea of the environmental situation was also present, said the designer, the overarching theme was harmony and unity and hybrid pieces set out to unify different wardrobe elements. “Globally there’s so much disharmony, it was a reaction to that,” she said. The chunky boots and safety buckle sandals were inspired by mountaineering and the idea that we all need to step up and climb to a higher place.
They launched for fall with a small capsule but, this season, the Manu Atelier shoe collection has practically doubled in size. Hero styles for spring are ankle wrap sandals — in both flat and heeled versions — with contrast inner soles (like the label’s bi-color cylinder bags) and the widest take on the square toe trend that we’ve seen. “When we first did the shapes from paper patterns, we were like ‘Let’s make them bigger. We need a bigger piece of paper,’” co-designer Merve Manastir told FN. Another winner is a chunky, hoof toe ankle boot with geometric heel and a shade spectrum ranging from white, through neutrals to poppy primaries. But while they may have souped up the shoes, they’ve also created mini-me versions of their best-selling bags — just the right size for a credit card and a lipstick.
Manu Atelier, spring ’20, Paris Fashion Week.
Women can’t get enough of Sandra Sandor’s easy breezy vibes. Spring with its terracotta based palatte, layered looks and column silhouettes was a tribute to Loulou de la Falaise, summering on Patmos in 1972. Footwear was about ruched flats and square toe gladiator sandals with column heel in tune with the lines of the ready-to-wear. Elements of the collection’s ceramic jewelry also found their way onto some of the shoe styles which came embellished with ceramic discs. They were done in collaboration with Noha Studio which creates employment for women in the small Hungarian village of Tereny using traditional local craftsmanship.
Comme des Garcons X Repetto
Look closely at those collage style ankle boots, they are a collaboration with French girl favorite shoe label Repetto. Rei Kawakubo’s atelier reinterpreted Repetto’s Melo boot using a technique called ‘hydro dip’. The Melo silhouette which also features in the label’s spring ’20 collection was developed last season by its new Paris based creative studio. The two brands have collaborated before, Repetto Americas CEO Gilles Assor told FN. “They reinterpreted our classic Brigitte Bardot ballet shoe and Serge Gainsbourg Zizi lace up in 2004,” he said. “It was a real game changer for the brand because it pitched us from the world of dance into the world of fashion. Comme is one of the most iconic fashion brands in the world so I’m honored to do it again with this 2.0 version.”
Wandler’s shoes just keep getting better. Spring standout is a new slingback sandal that comes with a toe ring set into the footbed while other winning takes on the square toe Isa silhouette come with satin bows, in woven leather and with cloudy Perspex heels embellished in tiny crystals. Wander started two years ago as a bag brand and only launched its footwear category for fall ’19 which many of their existing stockists ordered on the basis of photographs alone. Find them at major onlines including Net-a-Porter, Browns and Mytheresa or US doors such as Bergdorfs where they launched exclusively, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and The Webster. You’ll also spot the brand on the likes of the Hadid sisters and Kendall Jenner.
FN’s 2018 FNAA emerging talent winner is popping up in Paris this week with her first temporary store in the City of Light. The space, in the quaint Galerie Vivienne, features fall ‘19 product on the ground floor. “We have already had a lot of people come in and buy the shoes,” Gosselin said at a cocktail party on Friday evening. Upstairs in the same space, the designer showed her new spring collection, which included a multi-colored mesh pump and fun new checked prints, along with popular styles like the Delphinium ruched mules fashioned in new pastel colors.
70s vibes and banging boots made for a winning formula at Celine.
Aurora James presented her Brother Vellies presented collection for the first time at Paris Fashion Week, showing an eclectic collection that emphasized the designer’s focus on femininity and craftsmanship. “I was here a lot this summer and was really inspired by the things I was doing,” she said. New footwear styles include woven leather sandals with Victorian motifs and metal chain detailing, woven raffia looks crocheted by hand with wood platform heels and Swarovski hand embellished boots and sandals with ostrich feather detailing. Traditional African-inspired styles are reflected in the Springbok African Camp Sandal.
By Far trio Valentina Ignatova, Sabina Gyosheva and Denitsa Bumbarova have achieved stratospheric success making shoes that they want to buy and wear themselves. It’s this consumer focused strategy that has won them legions of fans including Hadid sisters Gigi, Bella and Kendall Jenner. “We’re just doing what we love,” say the girls. “A lot of brands are so corporate and people like to see realness.” Keeping it real for spring ’20 are plenty of graphic square-toe sandals in colors that pop, new clog silhouettes and an equally impressive array of bags that have gained so much traction over the course of this year that sales are now on a par with the shoes. The By Far aesthetic draws heavily on the ‘90s when the girls were growing up and popular TV shows of the decade like “Friends” and “Sex and the City” provide endless sources of inspiration they say. In the U.S. where they scored a year-long exclusive with Barneys, new doors for spring include Saks, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus while recent U.K. wins are Selfridges and Harrods. The physical identity of their retail spaces is paramount. Stay tuned.
Olivier Rousteing was coming of age in the 90s and his spring ’20 collection draw inspiration from the decade’s music artists from Beyoncé to JLo and, of course, Britney. Their influence came through in skinny bootcut pants, brightly colored denim, bodycon, circular cutouts and splashy mini backpacks galore. It also belted out on the soundtrack which featured classics like Britney’s “Hit Me Baby One More Time.” Geometric sandals in matching shades played on the cutout motif too using clear PVC so jeweled discs appeared to be floating in the middle of the foot.
Creative director David Beauciel did two collaborations this season both on and off the runway — with French label Koche which showed on Tuesday and, more unusually, with Michelin tires. The Koche came in Christelle Kocher’s signature saturated shoe colors, bright green and hot pink, across sliders and cage heels with Western style hardware and architectural Clergerie metal heels. “We wanted to go outside our comfort zone to explore new roads, explained Beauciel, “The world of Koche is more extravagant and we don’t normally use so many strong colors so she gave us the energy to do it for ourselves.” The second partnership with Michelin featured raffia sneakers created using Michelin’s new airless tire technology for the soles which feature cross cross rubber mesh.
Gigi, Bella, non-functioning bags and boots with holes didn’t quite fill the void of Virgil Abloh’s absence but they helped.
Y/Project’s creative director, Glenn Martens, gave us some seriously fierce footwear. There were glossy, toe-cleavage-exposing, tiger-print pumps and a new platform silhouette with a serrated tread so extreme that it looked as if it could saw through anything that stood in its way. Elsewhere house signatures like the plunging deep-V mules and the Y/Project wader boot felt more finessed that ever. The former fitted the foot like a second skin, and the latter were done in a chic bi-colored effect and came styled with matching two-tone pants.
Rihanna, Kylie Jenner and all-round celebrity favorite, Olgana Paris will forever be a red carpet label first and foremost. But for spring ’20 creative director Olga Djanguirov has also delivered an alternative. She’s introduced her classic Amazone sandal and Favourite slingback pump in a new 70mm heel height. “When I started the brand I was only excited by high heels,” she told FN, “but now lower heights are feeling much more fashion and more modern.” The height did present a challenge though. It’s easy, she says to make a shoe really glamorous when it’s either super high or super flat but achieving that glam factor in a 70 level is much more difficult than one might anticipate. Every couple of seasons she also introduces a new theme and spring 2020’s is the dragonfly, fashioned in leather and semi-precious stones. What’s really clever is that all the shoes it embellishes (it adorns the ankle ties at the back) come with a contrast nude colored heel. When you walk, it appears as if the insect is actually in flight. “I always do things for a reason,” she said. “There always has to be a story.”
Naomi Campbell closed the Saint Laurent show, and model of the moment Kaia Gerber walked a grand total of three times. Special mention goes to the stirrup pant-stiletto look (pictured).
The square toe trend has legs. Just ask Alexandre Birman. For spring ’20 he’s even done a square toe version of the house signature, the Clarita sandal. The style also comes with the season’s new pillar shaped heel. And although exotics have long been a Birman staple, too, the designer is tuning into the zeitgeist and phasing them out. From next season, the label will be an exotic free zone. The inspiration behind the collection as a whole, he said, is op art. “We created many interpretations of that.” The hero shoe, he said, was his infinite circle sandal. It features metallic discs done in a multicolored rainbow palette with a color gradient effect on the insole to match.
Le DoubleJ x Fabrizio Viti
Daisy-loving shoe designer Fabrizio Viti teamed up with equally fragrant La DoubleJ on a footwear capsule that designer J.J. Martin called “an explosion of pizzazz and playfulness.”
The house’s cast of Greta Thunberg clones sported activist-style combat boots with mesh fishnetlike cutouts.
Buzzy New Yorker Telfar Clemens proved it’s not only J.W. Anderson who can do a mean Converse collaboration. His unisex take for this coed show involved new interpretations of the Chuck 70, Pro Leather and ERX inspired by a trip to the Converse design archives. The Pro became a slip-on, the ERX was worked into a sandal and the Chuck 70 was transformed with graphics riffing off the ready-to-wear. Jersey sets, tracks and tees drew inspiration from Converse heritage designs for athletes. The show took place in a concert hall and featured a live score by DJ Crystallmess, a musical performance by Lancey Foux and a film of the collection projected behind the models as they walked. It ended with a dance off.
La Moss has edited a Rizzoli coffee table book celebrating the vintage fashion on display at Chile’s Museo de la Moda, and the style doyenne herself hosted its launch party at Paris’ Crillon Hotel. She wore a sequined leopard concoction (we’d expect no less) teamed with a pair of Jimmy Choo sandals.
LVMH Prize finalist Rok Hwang debuted dad sneakers on the runway for spring ’20. The whole collection was actually inspired by Hwang’s father and the family’s hiking trips across the United States in the ’90s. The label’s signature trench coat appeared sharper than ever, referencing the workwear he saw on the streets of New York; the weatherproof Teflon coating and reflective tape offered another nod to the hiking gear of his youth. As for the shoes, they came with exaggerated rope lacing.
Instagram addicts summering in the sanatorium was the theme of the collection, which featured models walking the runway wielding selfie sticks and wearing massive dark glasses. One woman was even attached to an IV drip. Shoe star of the show? A pair of thigh-high boots embellished with hundreds of the brand’s clothing tags — just like hospital name bracelets. This was the dark side of social media if ever we saw it. Korean designer Kiminte Kimhekim, who combines traditional Korean techniques with those of French couture, worked at Balenciaga before setting up his own label in 2014.
Kimhekim, spring ’20, Paris Fashion Week.
After meeting Diego Della Valle at last season’s presentation, Mame Kurogouchi partnered with Tod’s on some of her footwear, which was made in the Tod’s factory using the label’s lasts. “It was an amazing opportunity,” she said, explaining that the undulating silhouettes were inspired by her sinuous necklines, while the visible stitching was a nod to Italian craftsmanship. The multilayered collection was inspired both by the Japanese art of wrapping and a silk worm in its cocoon. (The designer used to raise the creatures in her studio and even gave them names.)
The high-end off-shoot of Italian sportswear label Kappa launched in 2017, and with U.S. expansion in mind, made its debut on the Paris presentation circuit for spring ’20. Think sports luxe, technical fabrics and plenty of color. Pixilated prints were a nod to the analog ’80s, and Teva-style Velcro sandals came in sunshine yellow. Kappa’s parent is Italian footwear giant BasicNet, which also owns Superga, Sebago and K-Way.