This is the time of year when the shoe industry stands with one foot in fall '94 and one in spring '95. Straddling the fashion world, you'll find the spike heel of the '50s is having a revival for fall and sandalized silhouettes are making news for spring.
The spike started its comeback about two years ago. It has fervent followers and detractors. One school says a whole generation used to comfort casuals, athletic shoes and low heels will never accept it. But the beauty-knows-no-pain school says the fashion followers will adapt.
Some believe it will have its greatest acceptance in lateday designs. Others contend it will also make a daytime statement.
What has given skinny high heels such momemtum is the recent fall r-t-w showings where spikes exploded on the scene. They were the big shoe news in pumps and boots. Actually, high heels were king at the showings whether spikey or chunky. Cynthia Rowley had fun with the idea, showing an inverted skyscraper silhouetted high heel. When Marc Jacobs was asked, "Why the spike-heeled boots and sandals?" he replied, "In a word, sexy."
Short was the most popular hemline choice at the r-t-w openings, but there was also a newsy knee-capping length introduced. In a short mood, Escada likes a long-jacketed suit accented with spike-heeled ankle strappers, while Joan Vass likes strippy slings (see photos).
After high-heeled pumps and such, the most popular footnotes in fall r-t-w lines were boots. These ranged from shorties to lots of over-the-knees with classic riding boots a traditional option.
Looking ahead to next spring, designers are talking about more color. This was also a factor in fall r-t-w lines. Color burst onto the fall scene in hot brights, neons and sharp shades with a dusting of pastels and a strong feeling for winter whites. For the coming spring, the shoe talk is about both pastels and brights with the brights perhaps strongest in mid-heels. There's also talk about reptile prints, pearlized and metallicized leathers and patents.
Natural looks continue in strength with linens and raffias in neutral colorations all important. Stretch also moves forward as a major fashion material.
Open silhouettes continue to evolve for spring and are a designer favorite. In forecast drawings done especially for FN, opened-up shoeing is the major thrust seen for warm-weather dressing. The trend sometimes takes on feminine strippy looks (see Diego Della Valle sketch, above) or bareback effects or dipped sidelines. It can be a sling, a two-piecer, an anklewrapper or, as in the sketch by Armando Pollini, below, a lattice-like cutout treatment on a strong-heeled sling.One thing linking most of the early spring projections is the emphasis on higher heels. So we come full-circle with high heels making news for fall, and now for spring. It's time to get the training-heels out so customers can get in some early practice.