Fall 2021 fashion month has certainly been like no other. It was the first nearly all-virtual season, and designers looked both near and far, at home, to the mountains and even to the skies, for inspiration at a time when everyone is looking for guidance on what to wear and how to re-enter society once a new post-pandemic normal is established.
In footwear, the duality of comfort and glamour resulted in a wide variety of styles, heels and silhouettes that were on offer. Herewith, the 10 best of the virtual fashion week.
1. Chanel’s shearling snow boots
Leave it to Chanel to find the perfect balance of chic and cozy for a coming fall and winter that is still full of uncertainty. Statement coats, shorter hemlines and glitzy, provocative jewelry and accessories were met with very warm looking snow boots, done in both black and cream shearling, with a slight block heel and small gold logo ankle wraps that gave just a hint of polish to a shoe that just might become a definitive evening style six months from now.
2. Christian Louboutin’s slick Mary Janes
After a year of slippers, many high-heel wearers are missing their old shoes. The French designer picked up on that, imploring fans to dress up for their anticipated travel. But while the collection had his signature sky-high So Kate pumps, he also made sure to include lower heel styles, such as a block heel Mary Jane, which came in the same metallic lipstick-red glossy hue. Consider the shoe training wheels for the real heel.
3. Miu Miu’s Yeti boots
As the pandemic forced everyone to look to the outdoors, it renewed a global interest in skiing and other snow sports this winter — including in the upper echelons of fashion. Instead of its usual indoor runway show, Miu Miu went to the upper peaks of Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy’s Dolomites to stage its fall ’21 show, which had some of the fuzziest, warmest looking boots of all time, reaching all the way up to the upper thigh and worn with cozy looking knit leg wear and mini skirt to give the look some verve.
4. Louis Vuitton’s moto zip
The big buzz of the French fashion house’s fall ’21 show was a collaboration with Italian home and design brand Fornasetti, neo-classical prints on Vuitton’s classic logo bags sure to reignite some handbag frenzy. But there was also a lot happening on foot, with trompe l’oeil styles and gigantic wedge heels. This heavily zippered knee boot with stud-buttoned toe flaps and said wedge heel is like a classic leather moto jacket for the feet.
5. Chloé artisanal knee boots
Gabriela Hearst’s much-anticipated debut at Chloé was jam-packed with sustainable initiatives and materials, many of which were sourced from back stock in previous seasons. This simple tanned leather knee boot, accented with sustainable felted yarn, encapsulates both the spirit and the details Heart’s endeavor — and manages to look fun at the same time.
6. Loewe’s leather-wrapped clog slides
Platforms might be the easiest way to get back into heels, as many Milan Fashion Week designers seemed to suggest. Loewe creative director JW Anderson may feel the same way. His platform loafer slides, which also have a slight clog feel to them, are completely wrapped in a glossy embossed leather, a look that feels like a more dressed up answer to the ever-popular lug-soled boot.
7. Schiaparelli’s sculpted toe boots
Creative director Daniel Roseberry is carrying the torch of the brand’s surrealist legacy to full impact, adding avant-garde touches to every accessory and detail, including this season a pair of basic black leather boots, which were place in a gilded sculptural heel and base, which was completed with trompe l’oeil gilded toes.
8. Isabel Marant’s perfect oxblood boots
There is no shortage of sleek, dark boots on offer for fall ’21. But Isabel Marant’s should be on the short list of top contenders. The French designer always makes a perfectly cool boot, and this season’s comes in a slight Western shape (one of her favorites) in a rich oxblood color that feels very menswear in a whole new way.
9. By Far’s candy slides
You can count on By Far to provide shoes that satisfy that itch for something sweet and low-commitment. This season, By Far hit the spot with a series of glossy slide heels that feel like a fun, easy entry into getting back into high heels.
10. Jil Sander’s padded thongs
Many people may be eager to get back into heels, but it’s hard to imagine anyone giving up their comfortable slides, slippers and sandals any time soon. Enter Jil Sander’s padded leather thong sandals, which look both comfy and quirky-chic, a style that one might even wear with a fashion sock. Just make sure there’s a pedicure to go with the sandals if they go sock-less.