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MILAN – Eye-catching, yet functional and sophisticated at the same time, accessories in Milan popped with colors, embroideries, applications and fashion-forward designs.

Here is a selection from Milan:

Gianvito Rossi: The luxury designer unveiled a Swarovksi-adorned slide ideal for next summer. The best part? It’s a two-in-one style. “You can wear it as a flat — or as jewelry for your beach or pool party,” he said. He also offered a striking metal chain version of the style. Elsewhere, stiletto sandals were paired with socks, while a new plexi heel was introduced to match clutches. And an elegant laser=cut sandal featured a leopard heel.

Jimmy Choo: “This is a collection for standing tall, unafraid and unbowed. I’ve focused on evoking a real drama in the structure, sculpting the forms and cut of the uppers and creating a harmonious balance in the proportion of the whole,” said creative director Sandra Choi, noting that the word ‘strength’ was top of mind as she designed the spring collection. “There is glamour, of course, but the glamour is an irreverent expression of feminine power and self-determination.” Choi said she wanted to create drama out of the simple elements of a shoe. She modeled her modern take on the d’Orsay — a stretched silhouette with a sculptural block heel finished a slick caramel patent leather. “It’s for the girl who wants to be able to move, but who’s still standing tall and looking divine,” said Choi. Other standouts included a caged slingback with crystal appliqué, backless mules with buckled straps and a series of pointy-toe slingbacks. While the brand isn’t revealing photos of its dramatic new sneaker — out next month — they’re sure to be Instagram favorites. The bejeweled style features a diamond-inspired translucent sole that took more than a month to develop.

Sergio Rossi: Sergio Rossi chief executive officer Riccardo Sciutto clearly understands how to create a fashion week experience. The Italian heritage brand — which has taken over historical Milan spaces for its presentations since it relaunched two years ago — unveiled its spring 2019 collection in the The Biblioteca Ambrosiana, a 17th-century library in Milan. Leather-clad books and art from Da Vinci and Caravaggio made for a captivating backdrop for the shoes, worn by models who appeared relaxed in the serene atmosphere. A series of white statement shoes — boots, mules and pumps — were adorned with fringe details and displayed alongside neoclassical busts.

Giuseppe Zanotti: “It’s everyday red carpet style.” That’s how Giuseppe Zanotti summed up his spring 2019 collection. The presentation had sophisticated yet wearable heels, attention-grabbing crystal and floral embellishments — and Zanotti’s unexpected collab shoes with rising New York designer Christian Cowan. Zanotti also displayed his Michael Jackson “Tribute” sneakers and showed off the legendary musician’s original “Bad” jacket, which had its own bodyguard. Equally noteworthy was the designer’s expansion of the collection into more sophisticated daytime sandals and mules with lower heels.

Bally: A flea market-styled presentation featured a monochromatic peach set inspired by the California sunset — with spring 2019 product splashed throughout. Mule sandals in patent leather were decked out with the brand’s stripe detailing, while gold laser-cut mirrored slides were updates of a 1939 archival style. On the sneaker front, the Swiss heritage brand is launching two styles for spring. First, it’s bringing back the Bally Champion style, worn by tennis star Jakob Hlasek in 1990. Meanwhile, the Vulko kicks, which come in both high-tops and low-tops, are stamped with the longitude and latitude coordinates of Schônenwerd, Switzerland, the brand’s home base.

Valextra: Logos are everywhere and Valextra, a company that is no-logo, presented a new take on the trend. Customers are now able to choose between monograms, patterns, bags and size for a totally bespoke handbag with their own initials in four color ways. Art director Susanna Cucco said, “You usually wear somebody’s logo and promote a brand to express your identity, while here you express your own identity and you can decide how obvious you want to be.” CEO Sara Ferrero emphasized this was the first time Valextra “collaborates with the customer in such a direct way. This is pure luxury.” She also underscored the company’s expertise. “It’s a puzzle of 2 million combinations, you need a graphic designer, and skilled artisan, it can’t simply be done by a computer.”

Santoni: “I wouldn’t call this fashion because we don’t do that,” said Giuseppe Santoni, ceo of Santoni at the label’s presentation. “We’re about timeless pieces, things that stay in her closet for a long time. Luxury never goes out of style.” For spring, the “Santoni Edited by Marco Zanini” pieces hit on some key trends: Woven sandals and lace-up pumps were offered up in fluorescent orange, while an open-toe ankle boot popped in lime green. Standout strappy sandals from the main Santoni collection also incorporated neon accents in laminated gold and silver straps.

Casadei: As the company continued to mark its 60th anniversary, it unveiled a new heel, the Trio, which is composed of three rings that represent the past, present and future. It was featured in several looks, including a striking knee-high gladiator sandal, the biggest statement of the collection. The Sixties were a major inspiration for creative director Cesare Casadei, who played up glitter and metallic details in caged PVC sandals. Engagement ring-inspired gems embellished a series of flats and pool slides. A crystal bow from an archival collection with Viktor & Rolf was reinterpreted and used on a single sole sandal. “I love seeing bows with simple sandals,” Casadei said.

Furla: Furla, which presented its women’s and men’s collections together for the first time, introduced a new format and a new linear monogram reminiscent of a coat of arms — a stylized “F” and two graphemes that dovetail into a monogram, embroidered on the side of a functional tote or in fluorescent yellow. Craftsmanship is key with jacquard ribbons made on ancient looms and hand-crocheted details.

Hogan: Hogan took a trip to California in the mid-to-late Eighties for its neon-pop collection of young and colorful sneakers with double heights. There were also comfortable sandals fit for a walk down Venice Beach. The brand, controlled by the Tod’s group, also played with the Script canvas shopper with leather profiles and fun, quirky charms.

Geox: Loafers and sneakers, embellished with fringes and studs, occupied a significant part of the spring collection. Buckles were heavily incorporated through mary janes, sneakers and flats. While technology remains a central focus, the company is introducing more fashion-forward designs. “Geox is known for its technology. We invented the breathable sole,” said founder Mario Polegato. “Women like technology, but first they are about the look.”

Fratelli Rossetti: Like last season, the brand continued to roll out new interpretations of its classic Brera loafer. “This is the 50th anniversary of our tassel loafer, so you see it embroidered, stained, in many ways,” said Diego Rossetti. “This time we based the presentation around it.”

AGL: Travel was the inspiration for the Giusti sisters this season, who presented their collection in suitcase-type displays. A maxi sole had layers of cork, leather and natural leather in fluorescent colors. Military boots featured transparent details and were adorned with bows, while gladiator sandals were reinterpreted with more femininity.

René Caovilla: While the brand offered plenty of the opulent styles it is known for, creative director Edoardo Caovilla continues to diversify the collection. “If you remain where you are, you don’t go anywhere,” he said. From the archives, Caovilla brought back the Treccia sandal with silver- and gold-braided embellishments. A daytime pump features an ultra-flexible sole and is targeted to a woman on the go. The Cleo sandal, a favorite in Hollywood, was updated with texturized studs that featured small Swarovski crystals in the middle.

Paula Cademartori: Her biggest shoe collection to date, the designer unveiled a range of heel heights in unexpected color and material combinations. “Shoes are a big part of the business now,” said Cademartori. Leopard wedges combined suede, patent leather and bamboo, while multicolor flats were embellished with python-printed leather and feathers. For evening, sandals were adorned with crystal detailing that wraps around the feet.  PVC sneakers with detachable bows are already available on the designer’s web site, and they’re getting strong reaction so far. Cademartori debuted a new bag, the Daria, which can be worn as a crossbody and a top handle and comes in many variations.

Alexander Birman: The designer inaugurated his showroom in Milan during Fashion Week, eyeing an expansion in Europe, emphasizing the relevance of the city to this end. Birman set up the space in a former private residence and left the rooms untouched to preserve the original details. The executive also now has a sales office and four employees in the city to help fuel the business. For spring 2019, Birman diversified his collection with a much larger assortment of flats, easy-to-wear slides and new takes on knot detailing. He also offered up a large selection of neon sandals — capitalizing on one of the season’s biggest trends. Wayne Kulkin, head of international operations, said that as the collection adds depth, the company plans to increase production. After opening a New York store on Madison Avenue this spring, Birman heads south to Miami for fall, where he is unveiling a location in Bal Harbour Shops.

Giannico: Designer Nicolò Beretta was inspired by Milanese interior designers and added hardware touches like a square metal toe cap on the sole of a satin sandal as well as an oversize crystal resembling a citrine gemstone. Simple flat sandals popped in bright hues, and patent mules featured an oversize metallic button-like closure.

Church’s: Inspired by English garden floral patterns, the heritage brand gave its classics a stylish spring makeover. Small leather flowers in matching shades were applied to the uppers of the brand’s Pembrey and Shannon styles. The looks were offered in four different colors, from classic black and sandalwood to spring-appropriate white and cherry.

Rodo: As the brand continues to plot its comeback in the U.S. market and beyond, it highlighted wovens this season. Across the bag and shoe collections, wicker was mixed with suede, metallic leather and unexpected color combinations.

F.e.v.: “I love to travel,” said Francesca Versace, and this passion was reflected in her F.e.v. collection for spring, inspired by the coasts of Sicily or Morocco. To help her customer pack lightly, a see-through bucket with fuchsia strips of leather contained a rich evening clutch. The brand’s City Tote was presented in new metallic colors with a pouch that became an elegant silk evening bag with crystals. The almond, a F.e.v. symbol and the designer’s good luck charm, was reproduced as an elegant jeweled closure.

Le Silla: The brand has a new floral print that was used on both kitten-heel booties and sky-high pumps. It also revamped its “Punk” collection and showed new graffiti pumps. A new architectural heel treatment was used on statement mules.

Elie Top: A former Lanvin employee, designer Elie Top presented its latest jewelry collection in Milan, for the first time. Featuring precious and semi-precious stones mounted on gold and silver hardware, the collection, named “La Dame du Lac,” was inspired by medieval iconography and the story of the Excalibur sword. A shield-shaped bracelet, for instance, was embellished with crystals and opaline stones. Top’s range of extravagant yet luxurious pieces also featured movable parts to “introduce something more immediate into preciousness,” he said. To this end, traditional Indian flowers were engraved on the inside of rings, bracelets and earrings, “for sweetness and tenderness you don’t see,” the designer noted.

Coccinelle: Handbags designed to answer women’s needs was the main takeaway at the Coccinelle presentation for spring. Co-creative director Eleonora Pujia said she and Vinciane Stouvenaker were committed to “get out of the comfort zone and experiment beyond leather.” New materials, such as Viennese straw and rattan, were reworked into cute mid-size flap and bucket bags, respectively. The collection was vast and mixed with some colorful styles made of plastic and embellished with Bubble Wrap details, however the most intriguing pieces were those referencing classic designs.

Cambiaghi: The Milanese brand reworked a Wild West inspiration, which was combined with the label’s signature chic aesthetic. Embroideries, including cactuses and more graphic motifs, punctuated the quotidian styles, including the Gilda and Alma shoulder bags, which were presented in several materials, including napa, suede and textured canvas. The label also introduced a selection of detachable straps, peppered by beads, studs and embroidered patterns.

Dianora Salviati: Bright colors and arty touches were at the core of Dianora Salviati exclusive collection of luxury scarves. Rooted in an effortless chic aesthetic, the cashmere and silk styles were hand-painted with a range of motifs, spanning from abstract brush strokes to charming florals and geometric checkered patterns.

Aliita: Called “Deleite,” a Spanish word indicating a cheerful and positive state of mind, the Aliita collection, the first officially presented at Milan Fashion Week, exuded pure joy. The iconic charms of the “Pura” range featured summery shapes, including mariachis, popsicles and pineapples, all rendered in yellow gold matched with enamel. In addition, natural agate in delicate tones of white, green and pink gave a new twist to the modern earrings, rings and necklaces of the “Sandwich Deco” line, while black spinel, sapphires and morganite, cut in tiny, boxy shapes, were introduced in the “Tuyyo” line of chic and essential jewelry styles.

Borsalino: Hand-painted motifs, including a wild leopard pattern, gave an eye-catching attitude to the brand’s iconic straw hats. They were also peppered by logo bands and silk bandana scarves wrapping around the crown.

 

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