Better than an it bag, it shoes? They inspire the big names in fashion, fascinate designers in the sector, who reinvent them without missteps. Today, the market is soaring. Sneakers, pumps or boots are the signature of the look, the very essence of the style. Analysis of an unprecedented craze.
It may be a detail, but it is revealing: Capucine Safyurtlu hasn’t carried bags for a long time. It’s simple, she puts everything in her pockets. Because his thing is shoes. Besides, she always starts by choosing the latter first before getting dressed and building her look for the day. Capucine Safyurtlu is passionate about shoes, of course, but she is also the creative director of one of the most desirable high-end shoe brands of the moment: Stella Luna. Why desirable? Because they are completely in line with new desires: namely sophisticated, stylish and above all comfortable models, with this distinctive little detail that marks a silhouette. At Stella Luna, it’s the famous golden metal buckle with a sound click, which can be found in particular on the Super Flat Sliders, the brand’s best-sellers. There are also these socks integrated into the tied sandals, or the thin chains that surround the boots. “I like to inject this kind of detail to reveal femininity”, says the designer, who does not forget what she considers essential, namely comfort. “The woman-object, it’s over, she continues, we want to be sexy but not twist our ankles with every step.” Welcome to flat shoes, intermediate heels, and if the 10.5 centimeters exists (it’s the maximum), it must allow you to walk with ease.
The triumph of the flat and sneakers
A glance at women’s feet reveals that shoes have changed in appearance: you can now see various heights on the tarmac and models reinvented in a luxury version – trainers and cowboy boots in mind – , which the girls can no longer do without. Shoes, the new fashion signature? “We wonder if they will not replace the famous it bag, underlines Olivier Saillard, artistic director of JM Weston, the historic shoemaker of the beautiful districts, which has just inaugurated a new flagship of 400 square meters on the Champs-Élysées. Twenty years ago, luxury brands weren’t doing the same. The advent of sneakers and flats changed the situation. Too many high heels in the 2000s led designers to think about other formats and to imagine lower models, relaxed but elaborate, which bring a real modernity to the silhouette and sign a turn.”
In video, ten tips to reconcile you with your shoes
Clothes have become accessories
So not so incidental, what do we put on our feet? “The signature shoe is not new – Christian Louboutin was the first to launch the idea with its famous red soles, the equivalent of the it bag at the time – but it had never dethroned this the last, says Olivier Saillard. I have the feeling that, today, women want to have very beautiful boots more than a statutory bag. I would even go further, by affirming that it is the clothes that have become accessories to shoes. With a pair that makes an impact, you can more easily dress any way you want. I remember a physiognomist from a famous nightclub who said that he looked first the face and the shoes, and didn’t give a damn about the rest.”
For the younger generation, affording a nice pair is also more affordable than a designer bag.
What do the numbers say? According to a global study on luxury conducted by the French Footwear Federation in 2016, while the “personal capital goods” sector was down 1% compared to 2015, that of footwear was, it, up 2.7% and has remained stable since that date. “It’s a market in top form, says Michelle Bonnet, Secretary General of the Federation. Over the past two years, we see that 56% of consumers (and up to 67% of millennials) have increased their shoe budget.” For the younger generation, affording a nice pair is also more affordable than a designer bag. The luxury online site Mytheresa confirms this positive surge: “Currently, shoes represent the most dynamic category and are part, with bags, of purchasing priorities, explains Tiffany Hsu, the platform’s fashion sales director. Customers love to acquire them all year round, unrelated to seasons or trends.” Same story at Galeries Lafayette.”2017 was a record year for shoe sales, says Alix Morabito, fashion director of the department store, with sales up 10%. à-porter have seized this growth potential and are offering more and more shoe references in their collections. Phoebe Philo at Celine was one of the first to understand this new vector of desirability, but Gucci, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton and Dior have also considerably modernized their image through their collections of sneakers and other flagship models of the moment.”
At Le Bon Marché, the growth of shoes is even greater than that of the department store, whose shoe space doubled in volume in 2015. All the hits of the last two years are given pride of place there: the must-have star sneakers of the moment – the triple S from Balenciaga, the Rhyton from Gucci, the Archlight from Louis Vuitton, the Heroes Her from Valentino or the Sonnie from Chloé – but also the best-sellers recognizable at first glance, such as the western-style Dicker ankle boot from Isabel Marant, the Princetown mule by Gucci or the J’Adior slingback pump by Dior. “Our customers like to finalize and assert their look with a nice pair on their feet. They love Pierre Hardy or Michel Vivien, because they are shoemakers who offer them feminine models, with a particular touch, and in which they feel at home. ease all day, analyze in heart Marie Lassagne, director of the accessories and luxury department, and Morgane Toullec, buyer of women’s shoes. As for sneakers, they are now essential among millennials.”
The search for style and comfort
Since the appearance of sneakers, the look on the shoe has changed
If the offer has diversified considerably in this sector, shoes have also become the new creative playground of luxury. Even labels that have made a name for themselves with their bags venture there. Thus the Mansur Gavriel brand, which had a lot of success in 2013 with its beautiful, sleek bucket models, launched its line of shoes in 2016. Jérôme Dreyfuss, the king of the luxury roots satchel, also got into it, the demand of its customers. The designer, who has always captured what girls wanted, has been offering them sophisticated and easy-to-wear models since 2013: soft pleated velvet boots with beveled heels (which were so popular this winter that they sold out stock), velcro trainers, Indian moccasins… “Since the appearance of trainers, the view of shoes has changed”, specifies the designer. The advent of sportswear has prompted us to analyze what women are now looking for. Namely style and comfort.” Hence the new underlying trend: heels of 3 or 5 centimeters, or those that are wider or bevelled in a western spirit, but never exceeding 7 centimeters.
A trotting spirit that seduces thirty-year-olds who are more attached to the well-being of their day than to the stiletto seduction of their elders. “Before, these heights were considered old-fashioned, it was a bit the heel of the grannies, continues Jérôme Dreyfuss. But today, it’s really interesting to rework them, to modernize them. We see a lot of working girl cool to wear these intermediate centimeters with flowing dresses or short skirts.” Olivier Saillard confirms: “At JM Weston, I listen a lot to the women around me. They favor the small, medium or high heel, but no longer the very high”, explains the designer who, for the next collection of the house, plans a variation of the cult Cambre boot in different shapes and different levels. Because if the girls no longer want to be perched, they are still trying to stand out. “We live in a time when the clothing offer is plethoric, concludes Capucine Safyurtlu. So you might as well get back to basics and focus on the shoe. It is she who poses and signs a look.”
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