Functionality and lightness, modernized with innovative techniques, were priorities for accessories brands showing in Milan. Personalization was also key to draw in increasingly savvy customers.
Jimmy Choo creative director Sandra Choi is hearing the music: After picking James Jagger to star in the latest ad campaign for the brand, Choi unveiled a spring collection inspired by some rock ‘n’ roll legends — The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix — and their on-stage and off-stage looks. There was a flat sling-back sandal with fringes across the vamp; chunky tassels dangling from a soft suede multicolored loafer, and long leather fringes adorning the ankles of a zippered suede boot. Another ankle boot, done in a rainbow of multicolored python had a psychedelic slant, while a Made-in-Spain desert boot with an espadrille sole was something a stylish Seventies backpacker might have worn as he breezed through Europe.
At Tod’s, Andrea Incontri described the abstract brushwork inspired by Mark Rothko and seen on sneakers, messenger bags and jackets, as “frescoes of the Italian landscape,” with its different shades and surfaces. “It’s a process of experimentation with colors manually applied and rotated and then removed before they dry,” explained Incontri of the nuances that ranged from black to sand, for example. The technique added depth to the surfaces and a vintage quality. Tod’s “Envelope” bag with a pebble-finish bottom was shown in tumbled leather.
Giuseppe Zanotti updated the sneaker with canvas for a superlight and young effect. The material was also employed on a jacket, treated in a way that looked like leather. Pointing to another strong theme, the designer said “natural hides seem washed out, as if they had been used or out in the sun,” illustrating it with a loafer embellished with strips of silk that had a ripped effect. “This helps downplay luxury.”
Valextra has always been about traveling in style. The Italian company now also has a design that allows the myriad phone and computer cables to be elegantly stored in envelopes with separate mesh cases. “Functional and nerdy come together,” said chief executive officer Sara Ferrero. The brand continues to emphasize personalization, allowing customers to add graphic pouches in contrasting colors on the front or sides of backpacks and shoppers.
Santoni’s irreverent take on luxury was exemplified by the brand’s V-neck slippers in printed fabric with fringe in calfskin, hand-colored and polished in different tones of beige for a striped effect. The calfskin monk shoe, also colored by hand, offered different shades of beige and a fabric insert, as well as a wingtip, fretwork and threading on a Good Year construction and leather sole with rubber insert. Ceo Giuseppe Santoni also highlighted the lateral cuts of some of the moccasins, which make them “super modern. At such a time of austerity, customers need new stimuli, a touch of irony and creative efforts.”
With its luxurious hand-painted loafers, Fratelli Rossetti looked to the Hamptons for inspiration. The “All Over” painting technique used on the soles of the shoes emphasized the brand’s attention to detail. Fringes or tassels enriched the loafers, which are also available with woven strips of leather or luxurious crocodile hides.
Church’s updated its Oxford “Burwood” model with new colorful rubber bottoms. The uppers in white, black or sandalwood brushed calf contrasted with the colors of red, military green and cocoa soles.
Car Shoe reinterpreted its staple “Driving” moccasin that harkened back to the Gran Turismo liveries. The uppers referenced the hoods of the sport cars from the Sixties with two leather strips in yellow or red contrasted with white or black.
Bertoni 1949 was in an Art Deco mood. McKnight Kauffer’s poster, “The Early Bird,” was the starting point for the exploration of an Air Force theme with a Thirties feel, said Gaia Bertoni, a member of the third generation of the family that owns the company. The Mustang airplane, “a symbol of the American boom of that time, and devoid of any war connotation,” and the Huge, billed as the fastest plane in the world at the time, were hand-painted on travel or overnight bags as well as a new collection of small leather goods, including an agenda holder, a passport case and a pouch. Bertoni also introduced soft backpacks or gym bags in an unconventional cotton canvas combined with nettle for a natural, eco-friendly approach.
A perforated laser treatment created an interesting web effect on Furla’s new shoppers, which were contrasted with ethnic chord shoulder straps. These, as well as a plethora of pouches and charms, contributed to the idea of personalization. Roomy backpacks and soft shoulder bags channeled the theme of travel and discovery.