WORDS BY NATALIE YIASSOUMI
There was plenty to take in, from the first shoe designs created by Miuccia Prada in collaboration with Raf Simmons, to the return of the Valentino rockstud.
Milan Fashion Week marked the first time major runway shows started to take place in Europe after the Covid outbreak, schedules filled up, the street style scene came back to life and the fashion industry got its wheels spinning again.
In the shoe department, a category the Italians are known to master, newness often gave way to reinvented classics and designers still dabbled between our need for comfort and escapism, meaning there was everything from flip flops to Cinderella shoes to take in.
The talk of the town was the reveal of the first Prada collection, designed in collaboration with Raf Simons, who joined Miuccia Prada as the brand’s co-creative director this year.
Presented digitally in a room dressed in head-to-toe marigold, the collection was filled with reimagined Prada classics, including Miuccia Prada’s beloved pointed-toe kitten heels: The two designers gave the classic style a modern day-twist, with exaggerated tongues inspired by sneakers and slanted heels that sunk into the plush yellow carpet.
Simons said he was inspired by the way Mrs. Prada herself dresses – usually in a midi skirt, cardigan and kitten heels – and wanted to recreate that uniform through a new lens.
Our present is made from our past, new is almost impossible,” said Prada, in an online talk after her show.
Reinventing the past was a recurring theme across the week. Pierpaolo Piccioli at Valentino also looked back at some of the house’s greatest hits from the past, particularly the Rockstud family of studded shoes and accessories.
They might have been declared passé by many, a few seasons ago, but nevertheless Piccioli brought them back, focusing on the pointed-toe flats and offering a chunkier version of the studs – that channeled a less delicate, more confident spirit.
Other major shows included Fendi, which presented an aethereal, feminine collection – the last to be designed by Silvia Venturini Fendi alone, before Kim Jones joins in 2021 – filled with loose tailoring or easygoing apron dresses.
Adding to the laid-back vibe were raffia slides and pumps worn with Fendi-logo socks, made using woven leather in bright pink, yellow and baby blue’s. The latter highlighted the increased focus on craft and textured, hand-made materials that is seen across the industry.
Versace too embraced the current need for more comfort, by swapping its signature stilettos and the extra high platforms Donatella Versace has a soft spot for – she once said she goes to the gym in them – with chunky platform mules, featuring thick chain embellishments.
Outside the runway, some of Milan’s favorite shoe designers also toned things down. Guiseppe Zanotti turned to mostly back or muted tones, offering classic shapes like a flat T-strap sandal, penny loafers, combat boots and stilettos featuring subtle stud or chain embellishments.
Ditto for Casadei, a brand best known for its flair for sparkle and va-va-voom ‘Blade’ heels. This season however, what stood out in the label’s spring 2021 collection was the neutral beige and brown shades – a nod to the Italian landscape and coast – and the more comfortable, kitten-heeled iterations of the famous ‘Blade’ heel, accented with neon trims and playful bows.
But that’s not to say that next year all shoes will be beige and minimal. Some designers were more keen on keeping the fantasy of footwear alive, dialing up the sparkle for spring 2021.
Giannico’s Nicolo Beretta was one such designer: He presented flat mules embellished with bejewelled broaches, sandals in bright shades of metallic green or turquoise, and triangle-toe heels featuring crystal embellishments all over and straps in all colors of the rainbow.
As for René Caovilla, the brand celebrated its home of Venice with decadent shoes inspired by jewelry, hence the pearl-encrusted sandals and Cinderella pumps featuring handmade lace embroidered with extra large crystals.
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