The British designer switched up his sneaker affiliations from Nike to Adidas this season giving the sports label’s Superstar and Copa styles a typically craft-spun makeover.
“We created the Superstar stripes by building up the lines with embroidery,” the designer told FN.
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“We used the line-stitch quilting technique that has been part of our brand language from the very beginning,” he noted.
The Copa boots were fashioned superhero style in a satin quilted embroidery, he said. And yes, versions of both will go into production. You’re welcome.
CamperLab celebrated the debut collection of new creative director Achilles Gabriel. The former Marni footwear designer also has his own shoe and ready-to-wear label Ion. “The whole idea was to bring things back to the brand’s Mallorcan heritage, but in a surreal version. I wanted to imply more handicrafts but to make it more human and warm,” he said. Hero shoes were work boots in sunshine yellow and sky blue and puffy Tabi sandals that came with socks in the same color.
The designer collaborated with iconic American workwear label Caterpillar. His take on the Authentic Cat Footwear Stormers work boots came with rubber uppers and neoprene shafts in signature Preston colors of orange, khaki, black and white. The partnership also extended to outwear, hoodies, T-shirts and hats.
“Cat represents the men and the women who build the cities that we live in,” he said. “It’s made for the doers our the world. That is streetwear to me that is what inspires me.”
White the footwear was sustainable in that “they’re made in really durable materials so you can wear them forever,” Preston’s fall collection also featured a capsule called Uniform, which he describes as a dedicated space for research, experimentation and development around sustainability. He uses the platform to explore traceability, transparency, certified vendors and factories, and recycled and organic materials.
“I believe in human ingenuity,” he says. “Even though things may feel daunting, if we all come together we can come up with solutions we didn’t even think existed.”
So what does Vêtements look like without Demna Gvasalia? Pretty much the same as it did before. The show was a parade of the brand’s greatest hits: flame boots, cigarette lighter heels, Wolford logo hosiery et al.
The casting was clever though. It featured a line-up of fake celebrities from Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell to Rihanna and Gwyneth Paltrow. The Paltrow lookalike fell over. Twice. Which may or may not have been intentional.
Props also for the invite: a tiny torch which projected the show address when illuminated.
British shoemaker Clarks Originals has teamed up with Japanese streetwear brand Neighborhood on two of its most iconic styles, the Wallabee and the Desert Trek.
The former comes in black ballistic nylon combined with a suede vamp and GORE-TEX Li-Ning while the latter is reimagined with the Neighborhood print on gray suede.
Both styles have been updated with Vibram soles for superior grip.
Pierre Hardy introduced a new skate shoe for fall ’20 and emblazoned sneakers and city boots with bandana prints. Done the Pierre Hardy way, of course: he reimagined the print by introducing geometric cubes and little cubic flowers.
He was evoking a state of mind, “a feeling of youth and simplicity,” he explained. “The is also the idea of liberty with a skateboard where you don’t have to depend on a car or the traffic. You can go wherever you want. It’s a great feeling.” There has been an ongoing transport strike in Paris since the beginning of December so this is certainly something with which we can all identify.
“I’m a kid from the ‘70s so gender fluidity is something we experimented with a lot of times and in many ways,” said the designer of the genderless movement. For him, it’s not so much about labeling, “it’s more I don’t care, I like it, I wear it, I take it. It’s an easiness. Gender fluidity can become compulsive, high maintenance.”
In keeping with the heels for men trend, he did introduce a new 6-centimeter heel on some of his boots though. “This guy is sexier,” he said, noting that while it was only a couple of inches higher than usual. “The margin to play for boys is much narrower compared with that for a woman.”
In a departure from their brand’s usual presentation format, John Lobb CEO Philippe Gonzales and creative director Paula Gerbase toasted fall ’20 with an intimate dinner at a grand hotel particulier in Paris, once owned by the mistress of the emperor Napoleon. The collection celebrated the 75th anniversary of its famous William double monk strap and both historic and contemporary versions were displayed via some ingenious keyhole installations where the shoes appeared in a giant ball pit like a children’s play park.
Talk turned to sustainability. Lobb, said Gerbase, is sustainable by dint of it’s timeless quality. “It lasts a lifetime,” she said adding that there is a shoe shine service in the store and the brand also uses off cuts for the linings and interworkings. Moreover customers can take in their worn our soles which are sent back to the factory, completely disassembled, related and reassembled. So you’ll get back your original upper but with a new, lining, sole and heel. “It will feel like a new shoe but with your journey embedded in the leather,” she said. “We don’t want you to buy the product over and over, we want you to love and care for it.”
The evening ended outside on the terrace where blanket wrapped guests were serenaded by traditional Cornish choir, Fisherman’s Friend, with rousing renditions of ditties such as “What Shall we do with the Drunken Sailor.” The Hermes owned brand may hail from Northampton in England but the countryside of Cornwall is its spiritual home as the first shoe was inspired by coastal walks around the cliffs.
While Christian Louboutin’s 60-mm studded square-toe boots are the label’s highest yet in Milan, compared to the heels of Stefano Pilati at Pitti Uomo and Giuseppe Zanotti, they were totally in step with the current vogue. While sneakers are still a brand benchmark, even the HappyRui skate shoes featured thick, elevated soles. Elsewhere, function combined with form in retro VS kicks with Velcro fastenings and laceless sneakers with grosgrain ribbon tongues.
Evening centric styles featured luxe made-in-France fabrics like velvets and jacquards shot through with Lurex, while city sandals came with studs. We’ll leave the sock question to your discretion. Finally there was also a new après-ski snow boot collection dubbed After Snow, which came with padded uppers and the designer’s signature red track soles for icy climes.
Amongst Virgil Abloh’s 34 looks, FN spotted a first look at the upcoming Off-White X Air Jordan 5 collab that’s slated for release later this year. He also showed a mismatched white sneaker/black laceup combo, both of which featured blue sneaker-style soles. The designer posted a preview image of them on his Instagram feed over the weekend, captioned, “plot twist pair of shoes. this is the pair. one of each, none of the other.” There is currently much debate among the style set about whether the sneaker has had its day and we’ll see a return to more formal footwear or whether it’s set to go the distance. Abloh’s answer: Both.
The first sneaker collab of the week popped up at Sankuanz. Designer Shangguan Zhe’s collection featured a little taste of a new collaboration with Adidas Originals, set to be revealed this spring. Playing on both brands’ identities, the looks combine sporty, graphic Adidas Originals codes with Sankuanz’s layered, reversible designs and hallmark details.