The British designer switched up his sneaker affiliations from Nike to Adidas this season giving the sports label’s Superstar and Copa styles a typically craft-spun makeover. “We created the Superstar stripes by building up the lines with embroidery,” the designer told FN. “We used the line-stitch quilting technique that has been part of our brand language from the very beginning,” he noted. The Copa boots were fashioned superhero style in a satin quilted embroidery, he said. And yes, versions of both will go into production. You’re welcome.
In a buzzy presentation at the brand’s Marais showroom, the anglo Chinese French footwear label launched a capsule collection with LA-based menswear brand Second Layer which featured both shoes and clothing. Footwear styles were a Gao Combat and Gao Creeper while there were also coats, jackets, sweatshirts, t-shirts and caps that played on the two brands’ workwear roots. Elsewhere Both introduced a new series of Gao Runner inspired women’s heels, plus menswear versions of its thigh high rubber biker boots platform versions of signature sneaker styles. It also debuted a glow in the dark rubber material to make sure you can always find your feet.
CamperLab celebrated the debut collection of new creative director Achilles Gabriel. The former Marni footwear designer also has his own shoe and ready-to-wear label Ion. “The whole idea was to bring things back to the brand’s Mallorcan heritage, but in a surreal version. I wanted to imply more handicrafts but to make it more human and warm,” he said. Hero shoes were work boots in sunshine yellow and sky blue and puffy Tabi sandals that came with socks in the same color.
The designer collaborated with iconic American workwear label Caterpillar. His take on the Authentic Cat Footwear Stormers work boots came with rubber uppers and neoprene shafts in signature Preston colors of orange, khaki, black and white. The partnership also extended to outwear, hoodies, T-shirts and hats.
British shoemaker Clarks Originals has teamed up with Japanese streetwear brand Neighborhood on two of its most iconic styles, the Wallabee and the Desert Trek. The former comes in black ballistic nylon combined with a suede vamp and GORE-TEX Li-Ning while the latter is reimagined with the Neighborhood print on gray suede. Both styles have been updated with Vibram soles for superior grip.
Pierre Hardy introduced a new skate shoe for fall ’20 and emblazoned sneakers and city boots with bandana prints. Done the Pierre Hardy way, of course: he reimagined the print by introducing geometric cubes and little cubic flowers.
Rokh X Asics
LVMH prize winning designer Rok Hwang of Rokh teamed up with Asics on a limited edition sneaker capsule which showcased at Paris’s la Gaîté Lyrique theater with an evening of live music performances and interactive installations. “We started this collaboration and communication very organically and genuinely for the love of technology and innovation,” said Hwang. “Asics is a company with strong vision and technology; Rokh’s artisan craft and innnovation has come together to build this story and collaboration.” The unisex collection of 100 pairs will be sold exclusively at Dover Street Market London.
In a departure from their brand’s usual presentation format, John Lobb CEO Philippe Gonzales and creative director Paula Gerbase toasted fall ’20 with an intimate dinner at a grand hotel particulier in Paris, once owned by the mistress of the emperor Napoleon. The collection celebrated the 75th anniversary of its famous William double monk strap and both historic and contemporary versions were displayed via some ingenious keyhole installations where the shoes appeared in a giant ball pit like a children’s play park.
Talk turned to sustainability. Lobb, said Gerbase, is sustainable by dint of it’s timeless quality. “It lasts a lifetime,” she said adding that there is a shoe shine service in the store and the brand also uses off cuts for the linings and interworkings. Moreover customers can take in their worn our soles which are sent back to the factory, completely disassembled, related and reassembled. So you’ll get back your original upper but with a new, lining, sole and heel. “It will feel like a new shoe but with your journey embedded in the leather,” she said. “We don’t want you to buy the product over and over, we want you to love and care for it.”
The evening ended outside on the terrace where blanket wrapped guests were serenaded by traditional Cornish choir, Fisherman’s Friend, with rousing renditions of ditties such as “What Shall we do with the Drunken Sailor.” The Hermes owned brand may hail from Northampton in England but the countryside of Cornwall is its spiritual home as the first shoe was inspired by coastal walks around the cliffs.
While Christian Louboutin’s 60-mm studded square-toe boots are the label’s highest yet in Milan, compared to the heels of Stefano Pilati at Pitti Uomo and Giuseppe Zanotti, they were totally in step with the current vogue. While sneakers are still a brand benchmark, even the HappyRui skate shoes featured thick, elevated soles. Elsewhere, function combined with form in retro VS kicks with Velcro fastenings and laceless sneakers with grosgrain ribbon tongues.
Evening centric styles featured luxe made-in-France fabrics like velvets and jacquards shot through with Lurex, while city sandals came with studs. We’ll leave the sock question to your discretion. Finally there was also a new après-ski snow boot collection dubbed After Snow, which came with padded uppers and the designer’s signature red soles came track style for icy climes.
Amongst Virgil Abloh’s 34 looks, FN spotted a first look at the upcoming Off-White X Air Jordan 5 collab that’s slated for release later this year. He also showed a mismatched white sneaker/black laceup combo, both of which featured blue sneaker-style soles. The designer posted a preview image of them on his Instagram feed over the weekend, captioned, “plot twist pair of shoes. this is the pair. one of each, none of the other.” There is currently much debate among the style set about whether the sneaker has had its day and we’ll see a return to more formal footwear or whether it’s set to go the distance. Abloh’s answer: Both.
The first sneaker collab of the week popped up at Sankuanz. Designer Shangguan Zhe’s collection featured a little taste of a new collaboration with Adidas Originals, set to be revealed this spring. Playing on both brands’ identities, the looks combine sporty, graphic Adidas Originals codes with Sankuanz’s layered, reversible designs and hallmark details.