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At Milan Fashion Week, Giuseppe Zanotti Looks Forward to the Roaring Twenties — But He Won’t Forget Pandemic Lessons

“In history, darker times have always been followed by a renaissance in terms of creativity. I look forward to this century’s roaring twenties,” said veteran shoe designer Giuseppe Zanotti at his Milan Fashion Week presentation today, held by appointment only.

The designer sounded optimistic, “at least for now,” he said with a chuckle.

Like many footwear and fashion talents, Zanotti is tapping into looks that provide a sense of escapism for fall 2021, but he struck a balance between more quotidian options and the signature sensuality of high-heeled stilettos and wedged sandals.

Chunky-soled penny loafers – including a flamboyant version covered in sparkly rhinestones – looked particularly comfortable as did a capsule of slides and flat sandals crafted from upcycled mink sourced from vintage coats and accessories.

Projecting a return to brighter times, with parties and cocktail receptions, Zanotti introduced a new wedged sandal in mirrored gold, silver and blue shades, as well as knee-high boots in wet-look vinyl.

Over the past year the company’s e-commerce sales grew almost 50 percent, but Zanotti said they were not enough to offset the negative impact of retail shutdowns. The company was forced to close some of its flagships in the U.S. and Japan but still managed to open new doors in China, a country that is recovering but far from pre-pandemic levels.

Giuseppe Zanotti furry sandal at Milan Fashion Week

“We’re restructuring our business model according to where the market is rebounding,” the designer offered.

“We will need several seasons, probably years, before returning to pre-pandemic levels, but I think we should treasure the lessons learned so far,” he added noting the fashion system should restructure and reduce the number of seasonal and capsules drops.

Mindful of a new and more sustainable approach, the company has introduced styles crafted from vegan leather, including zippered combat boots in shimmering silver. Zanotti plans to introduce biodegradable soles and faux leather, currently in development, in the upcoming seasons.

Always eyeing the next big trend, the designer has also joined the Clubhouse craze, hosting a chat on the platform today with Nicky Hilton and influencer Tina Leung about “the new fashion era.”

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