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March 4th, 2009

Shoes At Milan’s Fashion Week: The Platform Dominates

This season’s Fashion Weeks have expressed the fashion community’s responses to the festering, miserable economy.  In New York, many designers worked from a selective palette of very basic tones: black, white, tan, and gray.  Perhaps for New York’s designers, the frightening collapse of Wall Street required a fresh start with honest, somewhat somber ideas about the basics of fashion.  In the UK, pretty punk and naughty schoolgirl ruled the week.  (Why do I feel like I’m in The Breakfast Club?)  The Brits’ trendy leading ladies let go of their fears and poked gentle fun at the mopey atmosphere across the pond.  The eyes of the fashion world turned on Milan last week.  How did Italian Designers respond to these dark days?

Futuristic lines and power suits were major themes of Milan Fashion Week.  Sweeping, bold collars hovered over shoulders in Raf Simon’s designsDonatella Versace described her pre-Fall collection as focusing on “structured silhouettes and accented pieces featuring a star motif, contrasting piping or shimmering fur.” Armani’s revival of the power suit was complemented by Gianfranco Ferré‘s return to airy dresses and black velvet.

One shoe has dominated Fashion Weeks across the globe:  the platform.  Fall’s craze for unsustainably high heels has transitioned to a penchant for high heels that can be worn for longer stretches at a time.  Perhaps in the fall, designers hoped the recession would be short-lived.  Now that they realise the economic storm could last for years, they’re turning to platforms to keep shoes high for the hard times to come.

Although it’s more of a wedge than a platform, Stella by 80/20, at top, would kill on any catwalk.  It has all the right ingredients for a winning 2009 shoe:  black, gold, white, interesting lines, and height.

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