The season of recession is clearly over with designers at Milan Men’s autumn/winter ’10 fashion week showing collections that were all about going back to work. While elegant casual ensembles were seen on many runways, most footwear seemed to be primarily workwear inspired—or at least appeared to have borrowed elements from the booted and suited looks of eras past. Whether at the office or under the hood of a car, this all-business attitude yielded a superb array of footwear options on the catwalks.
A look back to the past 20 years in the rag trade inspired Dolce & Gabbana to celebrate this important anniversary by paying homage to their Sicilian roots. Using Giuseppe Tornatore’s film Baarìa as a backdrop, the duo showed a mix of slightly scuffed leather lace-ups sitting under woolen tailored trousers and long johns tucked into slim worker boots.
Costume National Homme, meanwhile, worked with the season’s palette of grey to come through with lace-up grey and black ankle boots in a washed leather finished. Trousers sat almost into the tops of boots as CNH used urban details to signify its range of heavy wool suits, while reinforced soles on shiny black leather boots set with a cross-buckle clasp were also prominent.
Alexander McQueen’s show this season featured a flavorful mix of patterns and paints. A backdrop of Indian style paisley-esque walls worked to anti-camouflage the many patterned suits and shoes on show—the entirely printed collection consisted of dark skull and bones, smeared paint and animal pelt inspiration. Shoes were no different with everything from ¾ boots to lace-up leathers in square, round and pointed toes featuring the season’s pattern detailing. Anyone who thought patterned shoes were not fit for men’s feet, will surely reconsider after viewing this ranger.
Vivienne Westwood’s minimal use of winter greys and petrol worked against a palette of color that didn’t take any precautions. Drop-crotch trousers with a button-down front were the only consistent feature that walked the runway, while layering, t-shirts and blanket knitwear made it’s way here, there and everywhere. Shoes were just as playful with orange loafers featuring the orb, canvas polka-dot loafers with tassels, black and white leather Oxfords, fur-lined workwear boots and studded beige slip-on loafers all showing off an array of color and a mixture of fabrics.
Miuccia Prada often takes the safe style of traditional menswear each winter and preps it up or sexes it out with colorful cuts or interesting suiting silhouettes. But this year, her navy and grey suiting mixed with pale pink and blue shirting was a contrast against the caramel and red polished loafers that featured tassel and kilt accents.
Riding boots were a key feature to this season’s look for men. A traditional style said to have come out of England, this classic boot comes high enough up to the knee to prevent the leathers of the saddle from pinching the leg of the rider, features a sturdy toe and a block heel intended to prevent the foot from sliding through the stirrup. Dirk Bikkemberg introduced knee-high black leather designs and Salvatore Ferragamo’s beige suede riding boots with buckle detail were just two of the names that featured these style. Burberry Prorsum, meanwhile, reworked the riding boot to suit its own heritage with fur-lined and calf-buckled looks suited for men ready to take charge on horseback during the Battle of Britain.