News

The Shoes (So Far) Of A Fashion Month Like No Other

23rd September 2020

WORDS BY NATALIE YIASSOUMI

New York and London kicked off this unusual fashion month with scaled back yet optimistic showcases – and plenty of feel-good shoes to take in.

KHAITE SHOES SS21
Khaite shoes for spring. Image courtesy of the brand.
ugg Molly goddard
Colour and comfort by Molly Goddard. Image courtesy of the brand.

This month, editors, buyers and influencers from across the globe would have been packing suitcases-worthy of Bottega Veneta mules and getting ready for a month of fashion shows.

But the very real threat of a second Covid-19 wave has kept the fashion industry closer to home, discovering new spring 2021 collections via digital films and connecting with designers via Zoom or intimate one-on-one, socially distant appointments.

Even when you did make it out of the house, you’d find the fashion week buzz replaced with a fair share of anxiety, continuous hand disinfecting and conversations under masks.

It sounds spooky, undoubtedly – but there’s plenty of silver linings too.

Freed from the pressure of the big runway show, designers got to experiment with new formats, get extra creative and crafty when dreaming up their new spring 2021 collections and mark the beginning of a new era in fashion – one that isn’t as fast paced and wasteful.

It all started last week in New York, where its long winded 10-day calendar gave way to a short, three-day digital showcase. Most of the fashion darlings like Marc Jacobs or Prabal Gurung and the mega brands – think Tory Burch, Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors – were all absent.

But a handful of designers did show up and proved that their creativity can adjust to the times we live in: Jason Wu livestreamed a runway show from a leafy Manhattan rooftop, showing easygoing fashion that any woman could get behind. There were breezy cotton dresses and oversized separates galore, paired with summer’s new it-shoe, the dad sandal. Wu’s version was created in collaboration with the independent label Arizona Love, which customized its signature sandals with some of the bright, upbeat fabrics from Wu’s new spring 2021 collection.

khaite ss21
khaite ss21 shoes
Khaite SS21 lookbook. Images courtesy of the brand.

Label-of-the-moment Khaite also debuted a new collection with a digital film and lookbook, showing confident pieces designed to empower women when re-entering the world – hence the collection name “Future Tense.”

The new range was particularly strong on the shoe front, with plenty of comfortable basics being reimagined through Catherine Holstein’s lens: Slippers were made using soft, scrunched-up leather in tonal hues; flat sandals were made more interesting with cage-like straps and ballet flats were elevated with glossy yet foldable leather.

There were also plenty of dressier options like a pair of satin pink pumps featuring an extra long pointed toe and daring side cutout, or the perfect off-white ankle boot that finished off the brand’s modernist white tailored looks.

Marc Jacobs might have been missed from the runway, but he took the opportunity to deliver some great shoe news over New York Fashion Week, in the form of his new collaboration with Dr. Martens. Following on the footsteps of other fashion icons like Raf Simons, Jacobs worked with Dr. Martens to create the label’s first vegan boot, customized with chunky chains and crystal heart charms, reminiscent of his club days.

Victoria Beckham ss21 shoes
Victoria Beckham’s SS21 pumps. Image courtesy of Imaxtree
Burberry ss21 shoes
Burberry’s blue boots. Image courtesy of Imaxtree

Across the Atlantic, designers were channeling a similar punk, confident attitude. In particular Simone Rocha and Victoria Beckham who both presented their own version of chain studded shoes.

Fellow Brit Molly Goddard, who is known for her exuberant tulle creations, also wanted to send a message of confidence and optimism. And so she scrapped the black and white collection she had initially planned for, in favor of puffy tulle pieces, paired with equally eccentric fur slippers – part of an upcoming collaboration with Ugg.

As for the London scene’s all-star brand, Burberry, it was all about fierce over-the-knee leather boots in bright blues and whites. Creative director Riccardo Tisci wanted to offer new colors, beyond the brand’s signature beige, and an opportunity to reset. 

Emilia Wickstead offered a more refined take by updating her now-signature kitten heel pumps with bright red or floral fabrics that matched her elegant cotton shirt dresses. She also created a pair of sleek, minimalist slides that made her elegant pleated skirts and cocktail dresses look effortless. During the past Summer, Wickstead was one of the first designers to add cotton face masks to match her floral dresses. It remains to be seen if she expands the range for SS21.

Emilia Wickstead offered a more refined take by updating her now-signature kitten heel pumps with bright red or floral fabrics that matched her elegant cotton shirt dresses. She also created a pair of sleek, minimalist slides that made her elegant pleated skirts and cocktail dresses look effortless. During the past Summer, Wickstead was one of the first designers to add cotton face masks to match her floral dresses. It remains to be seen if she expands the range for SS21.

I remember wearing everything with flip flops during summers in New Zealand. So we thought how can we make a chic, Emilia Wickstead version?” said the designer.

emilia wickstead ss21
Emilia Wickstead SS21. Image courtesy of the brand.

THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS COMMERCIAL, AFFILIATE LINKS.