It’s time to get out of the house again, and footwear brands in Milan presented plenty of options for daywear — cue practical platforms and comfortable boots — and for wining and dining in the evening, with lots of sparkle and sexy heels. Handbags reflected Italy’s leather goods expertise and highly crafted details.
Here, a roundup of a selection of accessories showing in Milan.
Bulgari’s Made in Eden collection revisits the brand’s signature snake motif in the new Serpentine Pouch in a soft shape and a sinuous snake body metal top frame, inspired by the bold Serpenti necklaces of the ‘60s. Bulgari also presented the Serpentine Vertical Tote bag in calf leather in a structured shape topped by a snake handle, contrasting the sharp and essential shape of the bag and the curves of the snake.
For fall, Italian brand René Caovilla focused on what it does best — its top-selling, serpent-inspired Cleo heel. It updated the bejeweled, snake-wrap shape with the Margot, a high-heeled sandal with curve detailing that wraps all the way around and down the heel. Along with a double-toe strap, the heels are outfitted with the same delicate Swarovski crystal work as the Cleo, and a pair of white sandals finished with clear crystal work is certain to be a hit with the bridal set. Caovilla also expanded on the Cleo, offering it in a series of sleek matte, metallic and snake print nudes and neutrals.
With the January announcement of Evangelie Smyrniotaki as the new artistic director, fall 2022 is the first collection to include the designer’s take on heritage footwear brand Sergio Rossi. Smyrniotaki’s ideas were showcased in a special capsule for the season, full of the revenge-dressing party shoes everyone has their eye on for next fall. With full access to Sergio Rossi’s vast archives (which were fully updated in 2020 after a yearlong quest from CEO Riccardo Sciutto to complete them), the designer looked to past iterations, both for inspiration and actual creation. She chose sky-high platforms, which she finished in black and fuchsia satin — the former with a crystal toe knot detailing, –plus a peep-toe wedge, also finished in black satin and grounded in a smoky plexiglass heel. The shoes were outright sexy and exaggerated, but above all, the designer said she looked to their wearability. “They’re party shoes but they have to be walkable,” said Smyrniotaki.
After debuting the Re-Candy — a recycled plastic re-issue of its popular Candy handbag — back in September, Furla is continuing its line of eco-friendly accessories with the launch of the Bloom bag. The see now, buy now capsule, which takes the shape of the brand’s boxy and compact 1927 style, is made entirely in Italy of a water-resistant paper. It can also be broken down into a flat, pack-friendly shape and comes with the same recycled-PVC chain found on the Re-Candy. The Bloom capsule will also be joined by another eco-friendly launch to come in April and reiterates Furla’s eco-iniatives through its Furla Progretto Hub, a creativity and research space that allows for the development of new materials.
For fall ’22, meanwhile, Furla brought back archival prints in metallic flocking on shoulder bags, and it has also expanded on a series of nylon puffer-style totes, charms and shoes, done in saturated pink, cobalt and emerald. The brand said it will be adding more footwear to the wholesale offering this season.
Gianvito Rossi took a subdued approach for the season, focusing the majority of his collection on what shoppers will always want come fall: boots. He did them in buttery suede, on knee boots (his bestsellers) and also plenty of over-the-knees, in an array of heel shapes and heights to cater to any scenario. For those looking for a more party-centric boot, a cotton candy suede studded version with delicate crystals had just the right amount of showmanship.
Rossi’s heel collection, meanwhile, showed both classic lines and attention to trending colors, proving that the grown-up shoes can remain relevant even in the era of “Euphoria” and Y2K obsessions. “It’s about a subtle sparkle,” said Rossi. The standout evening heel was a metallic red sandal with an ankle strap, square toe and gigantic hand-cut crystal toe detail in an emerald shape, the ultimate less-is-more statement shoe for a blinged-out season.
Inside a presentation room decked out entirely in pink with a series of M.C. Escher-like stairs decorating the displays and walls, Jimmy Choo creative director Sandra Choi put forth a collection that was equal parts practical and celebratory. “I believe she’s going somewhere,” said Choi of the Jimmy Choo customer. To facilitate the journey back to work commutes and likely longer days of wearing heels, the designer added a thin rubber sole for traction on a series of office-ready boots and pointed-toe pumps with an ankle strap and higher vamp.
On the other end of the spectrum, a crystal studded series of peep-toe platforms, cutout strappy sandals and wedge over-the-knee boots are sure to satisfy the glitzy moment we are living through, and metal chain detailing on the ankles of simple black pumps were carried through from the brand’s recent Mugler collaboration. Throughout the collection, Choi used pops of pink, which she calls “a new neutral” — the best of which was found in a strappy sandal that the designer brought back from her very first collection for the brand in 1997.
At Valextra, the fall collection reflected the ambitions of chief executive officer Xavier Rougeaux to add a younger and more approachable spin to the brand. He said his aim is to preserve the brand’s artisanal know-how and Milanese ethos, while expanding the offering to include entry price gifting items — cue sunglass cases in neon hues and micro versions of the signature Iside top handle bag — and soften the handbag specialist’s minimalism with crafty inflections. The Iside and other signature leather styles were peppered by hand-sewn silk velvet squares in bright colors, or done in a Tangram-like face-shaped patchwork pattern with an arty inflection. The Tric Trac bag was also highlighted as a functional crossbody.
It has been 10 years since Aquazzura blasted onto the footwear scene as purveyor of glamour and sex appeal with a “Dolce Vita” twist, and that philosophy continues to ring true for fall ‘22, with a high-impact collection that was slightly more edited but no less dazzling. Designer Edgardo Osorio is well versed in the statement jewelry shoe and this time around it came in a series of colorful heels in peridot and fuchsia that featured oversize emerald-cut Swarovski crystals imbedded into a stacked heel. “It’s using crystals, but in a more graphic way,” the designer said of the Swarovski collaboration.
There were also black and metallic heels with a cascading crystal ankle detail that mimicked vintage chandelier earrings and an expansion on his disco ball heel series. Boots made up about half of the collection, done mostly in sleek suede and velvet, including a black velvet ankle and knee boot with crystal lacing all the way from the collar to the toe.
Il Bisonte’s mission to highlight its craftsmanship and short supply chain, which relies on suppliers within 18 miles from its Florence headquarters, translated into a fall collection hinging on ‘70s archival pieces slightly updated for modern-day customers. While the heritage collection boasted a more rugged feel, fashion-minded options included the camera bag, offered in a bio-dyed version with a worn-in effect and minimalist shape, and the rounded cross-body with a flap closure named Bia.
This is the season of glitz, and no one knows it more than Giuseppe Zanotti. After a pre-pandemic turn to a more minimal look, the Italian designer is back to his crystal-studded adventures, bringing back old styles, such as the inverted wedge heel outfitted in baguette-shaped crystals. The designer also kept up his tradition of the dramatic platform by bringing the custom-made bridal heel he created for Ariana Grande’s wedding to fall ‘22, converting it from white to black patent leather with a spray of crystals all along the mega platform. A series of over-the-knee boots were the stars of the show, blinged out but refined in an ombre crystal effect, done in both green-blue and pink-to-burgundy-purple palettes. The designer said he created the boot as a genderless style and will be offering it from 34 to 44; he’s even tried them himself. “A lot of men love to wear heels. Why not? I design for humans, girls, boys, no gender,” he said.
Santoni‘s women’s collection continues to heat up for the brand, especially with a new crop of pumps ready for anyone who is ready to get back into them. The brand added its own twist to the traditional shape with hardware accents on the toe done in the shape of its well-known monk strap panel. “It’s very iconic with the DNA of the brand, but at the same time (it’s) very feminine,” said CEO Giuseppe Santoni of the shoe.
There were other nods to the brand’s double buckle, especially on a series of strappy sandals that placed miniature buckles on strategically placed straps for a cutout effect. The collection also featured seasonal staples such as combat boots, which were done in navy leather and outlined in a chunky orange sole, and burnished heeled loafers and mules, also done in the brand’s navy and orange palette. A series of satin pumps in both fuchsia and orange kept the collection decidedly more feminine.
Sparkle and glitz is making its comeback for fall and so is the 66-year-old Florence-based brand Rodo, whose archives are full of vintage evening shoes and bags that provided key inspiration for the collection. That includes fluted heels — some wrapped in embossed leather for day, others decorated with crystals for night — and a metal mesh and pearl embellished drawstring bag — a highlight of the category within the collection. Satin mules with Art Deco-inspired crystal toe accents and matching shoulder bags and clutches rounded out the high-powered evening lineup. Elsewhere, the Sellier and Pescatora bags focused on minimalist curved lines, created in full matte and embossed leather styles using a mounted thermoforming technique.
Cesare Casadei presented a collection that spanned more than a few categories, from comfort to disco and everything in between. For the former, there were clogs, double-strap sandals and shearling-lined boots, done with a substantial lug sole and outfitted in hand woven, spun-wool uppers, filling a still-needed demand for elevated, at-home footwear. On the other end, there were updates to the Blade (which just celebrated its 10th anniversary), delicate strappy crystal sandals inspired by tennis bracelets and a series of deep-neckline stiletto pumps in nude lipstick hues, plus patent leather platforms with a definitive nod to both bondage and vintage nightclub culture. The in-between was represented by the Gogo, a Mary Jane style with a chunky rubber sole, inspired by the unisex shoes from Casadei’s own childhood. “They were ugly when I was young,” he recalled. “Every celebration, it was this shoe, always in blue, for every wedding, every ceremony. My mother said, ‘These are the shoes you need!’”
Hogan‘s “Future Stream” collection took a futuristic approach to the practical needs of fall and winter’s essential pieces: the coat, the boot and the sneaker. The coat came in a shiny puffer, done in silver and white but also in a standout emerald hue. The boots were a continuation of the haute hiker style that has reigned supreme throughout the past few seasons, done this time in a matte white. There was also a puffer boot done in the same metallic emerald color that gave a bit of futuristic sheen to the traditional cold weather style. Bags featured oversize studs, soft puffed leather details and the brand’s logo on a shoulder style. And of the sneaker, Hogan’s bread and butter, metallic uppers mingled with chunky white soles for a hybrid sneaker-hiker look.
The 94-year-old leather goods label Serapian focused much of its fall ‘22 collection on both compact and larger sizes of its Secret top-handle handbag silhouette, as well as its popular Mosaic woven leather technique, using a soft palette of blues, burgundies and neutrals to create a collection rooted in geometric lines. It also included a subset of bags done in vegetable-tanned leather with the aim of greater eco-sustainability; the result was noticeably softer than other vegetable-tanned lines (and a hallmark of the Richemont-owned brand). A smaller capsule, Mestieri d’Arte, featured one-of-a-kind bags that leveled up the craftsmanship even further, with Mosaico bags encrusted in crystals, feathers and sequins and a clutch with a heavy marble clasp.
Fratelli Rossetti’s collection for fall was full of intricate details, such as velvet tasseled loafers with detailed floral embroidery (a technique the brand is eager to show more of), stretch knit booties decorated with the brand’s perforated fleur toe and the expansion of its heavy lug sole, this time done in a soft square-toed loafer (also available in a men’s version). But the main attraction was a series of studded black leather boots, brogues and loafers. At first glance, the studs appear to be done in the typical tough metallic, but a closer look reveals they are made of tiny knots of leather done in a gunmetal metallic hue. The series included everything from the standard loafers and brogues to chunky soled combat boots, sleek pointed toe stretch ankle boots and a standout Western style.
For its fall collection hat maker Borsalino took cue from the Arte Povera movement. The signature wide-brimmed hat was drilled and enriched with felt remnants in contrasting colors hand-sewn to the dome, while cloches featured arty brushstrokes. Aiming to tap into a younger clientele and offer alternatives to the brand’s signature dapper style, hats came in striped woolen versions with the Borsalino logo out and loud written on the dome.
The majority of Pollini‘s collection focused on an archive-based array of shoes and bags, and much of its vintage inspiration was found in the gold hardware. Designer Natalia Battaglini once again used two of the traditional Pollini buckles from the late ‘50s combined with a central knurled roller to for an updated horsebit buckle shown on pebbled green loafer, while a series of pony-hair penny loafers in sand, olive, red and black subbed the penny for a monogram coin, which was also found on a pair of riding boots. “The stylistic codes of Pollini’s heritage are extremely important for me. At the same time, you have to satisfy the needs of today,” said Battaglini. On handbags, the saddle shape was used on a top-handle style as a front flap detailing. In a nod to both its heritage of craftsmanship and eco efforts, the brand also debuted a limited edition of its iconic riding boot, with an upper done in handwoven loom made of leather and wool scraps and threads, done in partnership with heritage fabric producer Antica Valserchio.
Borbonese’s creative directors Matteo Mena and Dorian Tarantini are expanding season after season the brand’s ready-to-wear offering, without losing track of its bestsellers: handbags. A late ‘60s club vibe ran through the fall collection which introduced the 011 line, its name drawn from the area code of Turin, Borbonese’s hometown, of satchel bags crafted from the signature OP pattern with dangling charms. Patchwork little trunk crossbody bags combining the OP motif with patent leather and punctuated by tiny studs were the highlight.
AGL has come a long way from its ballerina flat beginnings, and for fall sisters Sara, Vera and Marianna Giusti continued to push the boundaries of contemporary footwear, suggesting that a little eccentricity — and a whole lot of platform — might just be what everyone wants to wear as they emerge from home. The collection included different levels of quirkiness in color, shape and detailing, from corset-laced outlines on black and cream loafers and ankle boots, to over-the-knee animal print boots with a curved neutral platform, all the way up to a series of black and dark green leather boots with gigantic platforms made of textured rubber in both natural and lavender (and filled with air to keep the weight down). Judging from the success of its chunky ridged platform boots for the current season, the Giusti sisters just might be onto something.
Eco initiatives were top of mind for Geox, showing a willingness to experiment with new sustainable practices at a time when many brands are putting it aside. Upcycled materials of felt, nylon and rubber were part of a new iteration of the Spherica line, a technology the brand debuted last year, which combines a breathable outsole to its Zero Shock System. “The Spherica was a bestseller,” noted Geox founder Mario Moretti Polegato. “With this principle we created the same concept but with a different sole.”
On the outerwear front, Geox is adding to its repertoire an eco-minded coat that combines two layers; the outer is made of a recycled wool that also incorporates sustainable bamboo fibers, while the inner layer is a recycled nylon material that provides a waterproof interior. The two layers are detachable, and intended to be separated not just when a waterproof layer is not needed but also as a means to separate materials for recycling when the coat is eventually ready to be discarded after wear, much in the way one separates plastic from glass when recycling at home.
Philippe Model Paris is venturing into ready-to-wear, presenting a capsule collection for its spring ‘22 season that will be available in March. The nearly 100 percent cotton garments are intended to reflect the color palette, natural materials, design lines and gender neutrality of its sneaker collection. Relaxed trousers in cream and olive have deep pockets and a soft, draped look, while coordinating jackets are done in a denim trucker style with matte buttons and slightly angled chest pockets. Striped shirts gave the collection a slight nautical touch and the collection is punctuated by the Etienne, a new trainer done completely in white with a lightweight sole and rubberized details.
Milan-based bag label Themoirè has garnered increasing attention for its eco-friendly and sleek accessories as well as its heightened research on innovative, vegan materials. For fall, the brand launched Kore, a squared rendition of its Aria bag, which is defined by a padded effect. Aria, as well as the Tethis sachet style, were also revisited in laminated versions, crafted from the Piñatex textile derived from byproducts of ananas leaves. Established in 2019 by Salar Bicheranloo and Francesca Monaco, the brand in the past already used fabrics made of apple waste and eco-leather derived from Nopal cactus, among others.
Martina Grasselli’s Coliac brand expanded its offering for fall. In addition to its distinctive piercing detail that adds a punkish touch to classic footwear styles, the brand has stepped into a more feminine territory with slingback options with kitten heels or geometric mules with squared, sculptured mid-heels that add an artsy accent to a quotidian look. Some flat options were rendered with a capitonnè technique reminiscent of the look of vintage sofas, in a nod to the time spent at home during the pandemic. For the first time, the brand also introduced the “Ungendered” all-black capsule collection, which included boots and derby styles marked by Coliac’s signature piercing details.
After its comeback in 2021, Sonora is swiftly adding a more rock ‘n’ roll spin to the cowboy boots and Western aesthetics of the brand since its establishment in the ‘80s. Helmed by shoe expert Maurizia Lastilla, former director of international sales and merchandising at Stuart Weitzman, the brand aims to turn the boots into versatile pieces with a glam bent. For fall it added crystals framing the signature flame-shaped stitching, heightened heels for nighttime occasions and offered high-octane, thigh-high latex versions. A new Western boot-shaped derby made for the everyday, easy piece with a flair.