TEXT BY NATALIE YIASSOUMI
There was something for everyone – Maison Margiela’s Reebok’s to Amina Muaddi’s crystal boots for Alexandre Vauthier.
At the haute couture shows in Paris, all eyes are usually on the larger-than-life gowns, the intricate embellishments — or the bride that traditionally appears at the finalé of every show. But sometimes it’s also worth looking down, as many designers apply the same delicate, hand-crafted approach to the footwear and create pieces good enough to frame.
Alexandre Vauthier was one of the designers who really had his guests looking from head-to-toe as models waltzed down his runway, with a range of standout shoes created alongside shoe maverick Amina Muaddi, who is a longtime collaborator of the French couturier and designs all his footwear collections.
For spring 2020, the duo complemented Vauthier’s sexy line-up, that had everything from show-stopping mini dresses featuring extra-large ruffles, to sequin jumpsuits with flame motifs and gowns with daring cutouts, with a shoe range that was equally maximalist and daring. Think pumps featuring giant geometric crystal embellishments; knee-high boots covered in zebra-patterned crystals, barely-there sandals in metallic leather to match the finalé gowns or slouchy boots with crystal tassels that swang as the models walked down the runway — couture indulgence and excess at its best.
Jean-Paul Gaultier also indulged in all things excess and became the talk of the town as he presented his last ever show during couture week and bid adieu to the catwalk.
The infamous designer marked the end of a stellar 50-year career with a show that had it all: Irish tap dancing by Coco Rocha, a flash appearance by the human blow-up doll Pandemonia, some brand legends like the cone bra and leather corsetry revisited by the likes of Dita von Teese and plenty of kooky shoes to match, including pumps featuring multiple heels all across the shoes’ soles, sky-high Plexi platforms and patchwork knee-high boots to match the couture tailoring.
When it came to collaborations, Maison Margiela’s sneakers, created with Reebok, stole the spotlight. The new style is a reinterpretation of the house’s famous split-toe ‘Tabi’ boots, fused with the Instapump Fury sneaker, discovered in Reebok’s archives and dating back to 1994. The result is a standout, chunky style that could never go unnoticed: it features a chunky platform and multicolor panels that you’d normally see on a sneaker, layered over a black lace-up boot silhouette. Naturally, the style is also split at the toe.
According to the house, John Galliano was looking to have “a dialogue reflective of the conscious grammar and science of today” with this collaboration, which is his way of exploring modern values like the sneaker hype or overconsumption. The approach is very much aligned with Margiela’s ethos of splicing products and assembling them back together in new ways, but it also explores some new territory: This is the first time in history where the couture division of Maison Margiela collaborates with a commercial brand, as well as Galliano’s first collaboration for Margiela since taking on the creative helms.
Breaking with couture tradition, which dictates that everything presented is made-to-measure, the shoes will also be produced and sold at Margiela stores globally later this year.
Another set of eccentric thinkers, Victor & Rolf designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren, have also debuted a footwear collaboration during their couture show in Paris. They partnered with Melissa, best known for its commitment to sustainability, and created recycled plastic sandals featuring cute flower motifs and pastel hues, as well as a new version of the brand’s “Femme High” Mary Jane pumps, done in black and white and worn with ruffled, organza socks. There’s also a woven plastic bag to match and all styles are already available to buy on Melissa’s website, with more to come in April.
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