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Brands Dish on Buyers’ Favorites at WWD Magic

When fashion trends span patterned leggings to cuffed boyfriend jeans, expect to see a broad spectrum of footwear to match, as was evident at the Feb. 17-19 WWD Magic trade show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The one-stop shop for apparel and street footwear covered a lot of ground, but short outdoor-inspired boots remained one constant across boutique fashion brands like Mia, Chinese Laundry, Nicole and more.

Call it the Coachella effect — a lingering demand for wanderlust-inducing footwear fit for music festivals, dreamy Instagram photos and now the ’70s trend consuming Spring and Fall ’15 fashion. Jason O’Donnell, general manager of Palos Verdes Footwear, owner of Volatile, Very Volatile, Grazie and Sbicca, said a combination of bohemian booties — styles that mix braiding, rugged textures, stitching and embroidery — checked off a lot of boxes for buyers at the show.

Similarly, Mia saw interest in ankle boots with Western motifs and uppers in distressed shades of mushroom, taupe and wine. Seychelles went in a similar direction, adding dusty shades of tan and gray suede to its mix of booties.

In terms of color, popular Fall ’15 hues keyed into a Seventies vibe. A sales rep for Nicole said the brand’s honey tan was a top-seller on wedge boots, cutout boots and closed-toe shoeties. The Consolidated Shoe-owned brand incorporated multicolor zippers to the side of boots for subtle pop of psychedelic color.

In general, designers reverted to understated versatile designs. Dirty Laundry keyed into fall’s lumberjack trend with block heel hikers toned down with muddy shades of brown and preppy hunter green goring on the side. Mia went the rugged route with Desert boots, but a crop of back-to-school fashion colors (think navy, burgundy and chocolate) made the shoes crossover hits. Dirty Laundry channeled a prep school vibe with tall rain boots accented with a luggage top. Duck boots, glossy quilted rain boots and waterproof boots with a side snap pocket were other popular styles, according to a Dirty Laundry sales rep.

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Touches of wool and plaid panels on oxfords and boots were prevalent, as brands reported the menswear trend continuing into Fall ’15. A rep for Nicole said its slouchy sweater boot was a popular pick from the brand’s more casual end of the product line. Dirty Laundry applied gray wool uppers to Victorian-esque hiker boots, as well — a silhouette that O’Donnell of Palos Verdes Footwear said is picking up interest.

In fact, Very Volatile is zeroing in on the Victorian-inspired footwear with crushed velvet, Gothic lace-up boots and decadent shades of wine, but O’Donnell admits the brand might be too early on the trend, “These will be the bestsellers next fall.”