WORDS BY NATALIE YIASSOUMI
Last season’s Bottega Veneta and Prada sell-out boots are back with a vengeance, making seasonal trends and one-hit wonders redundant.
A few months ago it would seem ludicrous that a major fashion house would turn to its old season runway hits and make them the focal point of their new season collections.
But it’s happening. For fall 2020, the fashion world is turning back to a trend that was already at its peak – or so it seemed – since last year: The combat boot.
Could it be because of global lockdowns, which cut the season short around February, forcing us to switch our boots to sleepers too early on? Or is it because there is no more appropriate footwear choice than a military-inspired, chunky-soled boot, to help us navigate this trying period of a second Covid-19 wave, continued government restrictions and major political dilemmas?
It looks like it’s all of the above and that’s why the likes of Prada and Bottega Veneta have been leading the way and re-imagining their fall 2019 Monolith and BV lug soled respective hits, for this new world we need to adapt in. It’s a game-changing move that also helps question what’s old and what’s new and challenge the traditional fashion system, which up until now would deem collections irrelevant six months after their release.
We first caught a glimpse of Prada’s Monolith boots on the brand’s fall 2019 runway, over a year ago. Always one to play with contrast, Miuccia Prada paired the chunky combat boots with romantic floral print skirts, ladylike tweeds and lace. A few days later on another Milanese runway, fashion’s designer-of-the-moment Daniel Lee was in a similar mood at Bottega Veneta: He presented equally chunky round-toe ankle boots, with his minimalist tailored and all-leather ensembles.
Show attendees ogled over them, they flooded Instagram with snaps of the clunky yet impossibly cool new boots, buyers placed big orders, long waiting lists were instantly created and just like that the season’s cult shoes were born. After such buzz and overexposure, the usual fashion playbook would dictate that it’s time to move forward to something new. Perhaps cowboy boots, as seen on Bottega’s fall 2020 runway in February? Or the sporty stilettos from Prada’s latest collection?
Instead both houses put most of their focus in re-issuing last season’s combat styles. The fighter spirit those boots inspire is just as in tune with our realities today, as it was a year ago, so why fix something if it ain’t broke?
Bottega Veneta has released over 15 new colorways of its signature BV Lug (previously called ‘Storm’) style and a new spin-off, the Tire, which features rubber trims on the soles.
As for Prada, its signature Monolith style is back with a vengeance and also recreated in myriads of new ways: There’s now a shorter lace-up version that’s easier to wear on an everyday basis, a basic ankle boot version featuring the style’s popular rugged soles and even a riding-style boot with the Monolith pouch attached to it. In addition to leather, the brand has also created all its Monolith styles in a recycled nylon version, as part of a special sustainability project with Selfridges, dubbed Prada Re-Nylon.
It’s good news for all shoe aficionados who gave into the craze last year: For the first time – probably – ever, instead of hunting down another Insta-famous runway style, all we need to do is dust off our last season boots from storage and enjoy them for the next six months.
And for those looking to make a smart investment for fall 2020, this might be it: These are shoes that can fit into our work from home, slower lifestyles and can be paired with everything from sweats – preferably by Pangaia – when doing a grocery run, or a pretty dress for hosting a dinner party at home.
It makes sense that practicality would trump trends and seasons this fall-winter season. In fact never have trends felt as overlooked as now, unless you go back to the Second World War in the Forties.
One-hit runway wonders are always fun to look back to: Remember the Prada flame wedges, the Chanel glitter boots from fall 2017, or those kooky Balenciaga platform crocs? All heavily photographed, talked about, hunted down and safely stored in collectors’ wardrobes six months later.
But this season it might be time to take a different approach: Rediscover our old season goodies and celebrate them as if they’re new, put sustainability a little higher in our priorities, and wear boots that will keep us ground and help us – literally – stomp our way through this strange new world.
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