For a relatively quiet season, New York Fashion Week still brought some oomph for fall winter ’23. That was especially the case with a handful of footwear collaborations that punctuated the runways, from detail-oriented feathered kitten heels at Area, courtesy of Italian brand Sergio Rossi to tried-and-true signatures provided from the likes of Manolo Blahnik and Stuart Weitzman.
Here, a look at the various footwear collaborations and partnerships that walked the runway for New York Fashion Week’s fall winter ’23 season.
Having already nailed down a hit shoe back in 2018, Area co-founders Beckett Fogg and Piotrek Panszczyk know the power of having footwear in a ready-to-wear collection — and, conversely, the production challenges that come with the category. Which is why the duo hit pause on footwear during the pandemic and reemerged with a collaboration with Sergio Rossi for spring ’23, which debuted last fall at New York Fashion Week. This season, the two brands continued the collab, decorating ankle- and thigh-high caged heels with feathers and utilizing sculptural satin bows to help convey the collection’s fruit theme.
“Last season, we really started pushing what we were capable of, but then we wanted (this season) to think about the beauty of shoes and give women something desirable that is super creative,” said Panszczyk, the label’s creative director. It was about creating something modern and playful. With their expertise, I was in the right hands to take it to the finish line.”
With all of those plunging necklines and hip cutouts, a LaQuan Smith look requires nothing more than a strappy sandal or a pump to keep it all streamlined. This season, Smith tapped Alfredo Píferi for a series of strappy metallics and sleek pumps.
“There is a match between LaQuan’s clothes and Piferi shoes. Both are very sharp and sensual — and hold a power which exudes confidence,” said designer Alfredo Piferi. “I am thrilled my shoes complemented such a beautiful show, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for both our brands.”
With all of the zoomorphism on the runway, Collina Strada’s Vans footwear was one of the tamer elements of the designer’s fall winter ’23 show. But a closer look at the footwear reveals there’s a lot more to the collaboration. Using three silhouettes – the Sk8-Hi 38 DX, an oversized chunky sole Old Skool Vibram DX, and a Classic Slip-On DX, the brand illustrated the shoes with all-over hand drawings of the Collina Strada team’s “dream homes”.
The footwear designer lent his satin-and-crystal-covered ladylike classics to Kwon’s evening wear, continuing the decades-long Blahnik tradition of elevating New York Fashion Week designers with his heels — and choosing up-and-coming designers for splashy moments.
For the brand’s 10-year anniversary, Hellessy founder and creative director Sylvie Millstein went high-low — literally — on the fall winter ’23 show’s footwear, tapping both Gola for sneakers and heels from Blahnik, styling the footwear with contrasting silhouettes, such as Blahnik’s signature Campari Mary Jane heels with track-pant-like cutaway trousers, or a preppy peplum and tailored pants and crystal-studded knitwear with metallic sneakers.
Working with Aknvas founder and designer Christian Juul Neilsen, Stuart Weitzman Head of Design Edmundo Castillo created a series of custom heels that echoed some of the brand’s signatures (many done in silver metallic) and also riffed on the runway silhouettes. A green oversized ruffled mini dress was matched with a pair of black booties done in the same ruffle motif, for example. Elsewhere, the ruffles were incorporated into a pair of lavender thigh-highs that at first glance appeared as trousers.
The footwear brand also worked with It-label Luar to supply signature styles to designer Raul Lopez, including the Ultrastuart boot and the classic Nudist sandal, the latter of which was accessorized with long feather-accented and monogram buckled ankle cuffs.
PatBo founder and creative director Patricia Bonaldi continued her exploration of glitz, glam and adornment for the brand’s fall winter ’23 — and also extended her footwear partnership with Arezzo, in an ongoing show of Brazilian camaraderie (and pizzazz). This season saw a more elevated look at embellishment, incorporating velvets into suiting and jewel-toned sequin monochrome looks, all of which were accented with heels both simple and sparkly.