FN Platform (Aug. 18-20) in Las Vegas set the stage for the unveiling of a number of brand new lines—and to merchandisers’ delight—many of the brands share a common direction: comfort, sport and shine.
After a number of trendless seasons, where buyers either retreated back to basics, or spread themselves too thin by trying to offer shoppers everything, Spring ’15 could be the opportunity the market has pined for to slow down, regroup and hone in on a few key looks. And despite the eclectic nature of some of the shoes—mesh, holograms, sneakers and slides—the season might be the most cohesive selection of footwear in years. Here’s a look at what the newest stars in fashion footwear have to offer.
Singer, actress, fashion icon and designer Gwen Stefani is opening up GX by Gwen Stefani, the lower-priced offshoot of her popular L.A.M.B. footwear line, to wholesale. The brand launched earlier this year as a ShoeDazzle exclusive. Produced by Titan Industries—the same manufacturer for L.A.M.B. footwear—the aspirational, made in China line captures the same tribal and athletic influences that permeate its higher priced sister brand, yet retails between $59 and $119. Stefani turns shower sandals into fashion statements weighed down by striped platform outsoles. Bursts of orange awaken simple athletic silhouettes, while panels of sporty mesh punches up stiletto heels. And in a nod to Stefani’s signature red lip color, single sole pumps are blanketed with a bold lip print. The collection is due in department stores next February.
Ateljé 71, meaning ‘art studio’ in Swedish, meets the season’s demand for fashion comfort. The brand new collection is a mash-up of founders Åsa Larsson and David Giordano’s Swedish sensibilities and the line’s edgy New York City roots. Highlights include sleek mules, backless boots and a range of footbed sandals embellished with bold contrasts of black and white, gritty chains and futuristic mirror finishes. Specchio and crackled leather add textural interest, and on the dressier end, the brand weaves athletic elements, like lacing, to the heels of open-front booties.
Italian fashion blogger turned shoe designer, Chiara Ferragni (also known as The Blonde Salad) is bringing her eclectic and whimsy range of women’s footwear to the U.S. and Canada for the first time this spring. Glitter-coated flats and smoking slippers accented with Ferrani’s signature winking eye motif make up the bulk of the collection, which is produced in Italy. Lace overlays lend a girly touch to skater-inspired slip-on sneakers. Chunky fisherman sandals in black, pink and silver glitter are popped with heavy white outsoles. A spokesperson for the brand said the collection benefiting from Ferragni’s 3 million online followers and has already been scooped up by retailers including Revolve Clothing.
New women’s line Max Dorian offers endless amounts of upper and embellishment treatment options through its customization program. Designer Zsofia Kmet said retailers can select which silhouettes work for them and their customers, and then choose from a portfolio of real or manmade leathers. Metallic finishes and embossed materials lend a hi-tech look to otherwise casual designs. Pointed toes added a dressier, European vibe to slip-on sneakers. The line’s emphasis of comfort shines through with its grouping of gladiator footbed sandals, slides and laceless oxfords. Kmet noted that the company plans to implement orthopedic footbeds to its footwear and expand into accessories next year.
No shoe is like another in Jennifer Chou’s new collection of dress footwear. The line focuses on individual pieces—be it a white stiletto swathed in hologram leather or suede platform heel draped with fringe—instead of creating cohesive groupings of shoes. The collection is intended to mirror the eclectic and unpredictable way women shop today, by offering a little bit of everything.
Men’s and women’s brand Yes brings a touch of funk to the season. Exaggerated silhouettes and embellishments—think platform slides and mammoth size kilties and tassels on loafers—lend a fantastical feel to the range. Coated prints take on a lacquered feel, while digital prints of bold orange and blue flower blooms make a bold statement on sandals and slip-on sneakers. The brand also keys into the ongoing menswear look for women with pink oxfords and loafers; however, lug soles add dimension and toughness to the classic styles.