Retailers can’t stop talking about the Dior x Birkenstock collaboration that stole the show last week at the French luxury brand’s menswear show in Paris.
Almost all department store executives cited the collaboration as they sounded off on trends from the European collections.
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“The big news is certainly Kim Jones’ Dior collaboration with Birkenstock that debuted during a spectacular show,” Bruce Pask, men’s fashion director at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, told FN. “The felted and suede clog styles had cap toes, with some pairs covered in colorful floral couture embroidery. There are sure to be waiting lists for these, especially in the Dior Grey colorway.”
Louis DiGiacomo, SVP/GMM of men’s at Saks Fifth Avenue is just as enthusiastic about the collab. He noted that based on the strong response to the Dior x Birkenstock collaboration, “we expect slip-ons to be popular footwear trends this fall” and named the collab a “must-have.”
Jian DeLeon, men’s fashion and editorial director at Nordstrom, echoed this sentiment. He told FN that the collaboration between Dior and Birkenstock was the “most unexpected shoe of the season” and “a victory for dad style and mule enthusiasts alike.”
Courtesy of Dsquared2
Amid the excitement around this collab, FN pressed further to find out what other trends were noteworthy this season.
Ski and active outdoor inspirations again ran through the collections this season, especially in Milan — and Justin Berkowitz, men’s fashion director at Bloomingdale’s, said that the look will extend from being occasion specific to more of a lifestyle mindset and part of the store’s daily rotation.
In Milan, DiGiacomo saw a strong influence of the outdoors with ski-and-skate-inspired pieces making an appearance in many collections, but he highlighted the all-weather, hiking, and snow boots seen at Dsquared2, Dolce & Gabbana, Zegna, and Sacai as key to this trend.
Courtesy of Zegna
Pask also saw a “distinct alpine mood” running through many collections, with plenty of great technical parkas and channel quilted outerwear on the runways with rugged boots to match. He noted that Prada’s sleek leather square-toed roper-style boot with a lug sole played well to this trend.
“Speed laced classic hiking boots accompaning the winter sportswear at Brunello Cucinelli, Bottega Veneta, Ralph Lauren, and Loro Piana, where we also saw a new Storm System treated snow boot,” were other standouts for Pask. He also shouted out Loewe’s shearling pull-on boot and Moncler’s shearling wallabee as a favorite for this trend.
DeLeon also pointed out Nigo’s Kenzo debut and Engineered Garments revival of the chunky work and hiking boot silhouettes fit well in this ski and alpine trend.
A return to “getting dressed up again” is also on the radar of these retail execs. “There’s a strong return to truly getting dressed and once again enjoying it. We are seeing this through sharp tailoring, polished topcoats, and elevated sweaters in novel treatments and intarsia,” Berkowitz said.
He added, “Footwear will tie into the broader trend of truly getting dressed up again with boots being a staple,” Berkowitz added. “We’ll be swapping our shoes for something sturdier and with more structure.”
Courtesy of Fendi
Saks’ DiGiacomo added that functional tailoring was popular on the runways this season and cited double-breasted jackets and novelty knitwear as must-haves. According to DiGiacomo, footwear styles that pair well with this season’s tailoring are the logo loafers from Fendi, rubber sole Chelsea boots from Zegna and Cucinelli, and embellished derby shoes from Dior and AMI.
Still the dominate footwear category for the men’s market, sneakers will remain an important part of Bloomingdale’s business this fall, said Berkowitz. Styles with “novelty details” are driving newness whether that comes through in color, metallic treatments or other special details, he added.
For Pask, sneakers are always an exciting component of each season for him, citing new developments as well as new iterations of successful styles. “Versace’s Trigreca saw eight new iterations debut this season and we also saw new runners at Fendi,” Pask pointed out. “And Alexander McQueen showed great new embellished versions of the Tread Slick.”
DeLeon summed up the season like this: “There’s a new sense of classicism taking root across the menswear spectrum, mixing perennial ideas of elegance with modern, more casual sensibilities. I don’t necessarily think ‘streetwear’ will ever go away, but now many of its biggest proponents are becoming its most important interrogators.”
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