Pictured, from left to right: Shoes seen at the Chanel, Dior, and Iris van Herpen runways.
In this weekly feature, InStyle’s Fashion News Director Eric Wilson shares his favorite fashion moment of the week, and explains how it could shape styles to come. Look for it on What’s Right Now every Friday.
The Moment: Shoes! There’s rarely a fashion week when we’re not wowed by the fancy footwear as much as by the clothes, but the Paris collections this week offered a rare glimpse of a major change in shoes. From the editors in the front rows to the models on the fall runways, the direction is overwhelmingly toward flats, which will probably be welcome news to orthopedists and podiatrists, not to mention anyone who’s braved the recent weather in stilettos.
The trend started at the couture shows in January, when designers like Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel and Marco Zanini from Schiaparelli showed a variety of sequined and lace-embroidered sneakers and feather-trimmed sandals, respectively. And it continued into the ready-to-wear collections this week, most delightfully at Chanel, where Lagerfeld’s candy-colored trainers and sneaker-boots were the perfect fit for a supermarket sweep through his oversize grocery store set design. Also invitingly casual were the nurse-like white slip-on shoes at Moncler Gamme Rouge and the shiny booties at Miu Miu with built-in gaiters (pictured, below right). Stella McCartney achieved the height of a pump with a cushy-looking platform on her adorable cognac-colored lace-ups with inset stars (pictured, below left), and at Dior, Raf Simons offered an inventive take on the pump, with colorful treads seemingly built into the heels. (Remember the Easy Spirit motto, “Looks like a pump, feels like a sneaker”?) The glammed-up, lug-soled hiking boots at Alexander McQueen were also particularly well suited for tromping through a runway of heath, or for whatever snow is in store next winter.
Why It’s a Wow: After a decade of escalating shoe wars, designers have finally come to their senses. It was only a few years ago that they introduced the concept of “killer heels,” inventing ever more precarious styles of footwear with teetering platforms or tricky heel-less heels (you had to really be on your toes to wear those). That trend was thought to have reached its apex (or nadir, depending on your perspective) with Alexander McQueen’s famously lofty shoes that resembled armadillos or lobster claws.
This is not to say that everyone is yet on board with the flat. Perhaps the most memorable shoe of the Paris season came from the avant-garde Dutch designer Iris van Herpen. She designed some super-wacky seven-inch platforms with built-in shin guards that looked as sturdy as a locomotive. One way to look at them is that they might protect you from a fall. On the other hand, they might also cause you to fall, so perhaps best leave those to the professionals.