FOOTWEAR FASHION REPORT
by Ellen Campuzano
 

xxx WSA is the first of the international shoe shows to blaze the fashion footwear trail into a new season. February's show featured plenty of colour, a lot of sexy, feminine dressshoes, and - true to its American roots - a casual approach even to dressy footwear.

Dressed Up Sport
The heels are high, the mary jane or instep straps are sexy, and yet these styles cannot be considered dress shoes. The straps have easy adjustable Velcro closures, and the shoes themselves are constructed on techno rubber units that flex and bend like a running shoe. Cushioned insoles are frequently an additional comfort element. Add a dash of fashion colour like lime, purple, grey or a two-tone spectator effect, and voila, a new fashion footwear classification is born: dressed up sport shoes.

Give It the Brush Off
The look of a well worn, broken in shoe that has a slightly scuffed, brushed off appearance is part of an important 'neo preppy' fashion story. The styling taps into classic retro wingtips, cap toes and perforation patterns. The important element in this dress/tailored story is the nature of the leather, which can be antiqued, brushed or polished and sometimes metallized to achieve that spit 'n polish look.

Vintage Plaids
American designers are mad for plaid this coming fall, and the shoe industry has jumped on the bandwagon showing an array of plaids. Boots remain a major fashion accessory, and what better way to attract attention to the leg than with a fashion-right novelty boot?

Bling Bling Shoes
Fashion is accelerating towards an extremely feminine silhouette. The mood is pretty, boudoir-inspired, and seductive without being overtly sexy.
Satin, sequins and jewels are components of this look that also translate into shoes.

Leisure Activities
Although active and leisure are at opposite ends of the spectrum, they have merged into a key footwear classification. Ath/leisure shoes sometimes look like sneakers and have the comfort of sneakers but are not really meant for the serious athlete. Details formerly associated exclusively with dress shoes such as ballerina bows and mary jane straps are part of casual flats on sneaker type unit bottoms. Thisseason it has been updated via colour, metallic leathers, stretch and mesh materials.


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