As self-appointed ambassadors for emerging design talent, Apparel
Search's editorial team attended this month's World Shoe Association
trade fair in Las Vegas with the sole purpose of tracking newness. We
hoofed through suites at the Venetian, trekked the aisles at Mandalay
and even endured a pilgrimage to Stuart Weitzman's private ballroom at
the Bellagio and were not disappointed!
Taking a stand as project-oriented collaborators
with architectural aspirations, the United Nude duo followed the Spring
2003 launch of their patented Mobius silhouette with this season's ode
to Charles & Ray Eames
iconic Lounge chair. The result - a swivel-leg
metal heel to soon grace the gams of fashionistas worldwide. This
team's strong sense of manipulation also inspired a series of
deconstructed silhouettes featuring raw seams, inside-out fabrications &
exposed plastic heels.
Leading the way with exadurated proportions,
extended pointy lasts and unexpected color, Debut premiered a tight
collection for men and women offering up dress shoes with a sporty
flair. Patrizia Montanari was on hand to explain the company's
commitment to edgy styling and extreme lasts with a young, Italian
After tracking down our favorite microbrand, Alima
footwear, we were delighted to preview this quirky line with Jose Moran,
sales and marketing director for Ras footwear in Spain. Sporty-inspired
silhouettes, perf details, pop colors, rubberized lasts and masterful
flats define this cult-hot resource.
Dublin native Eileen Shields launched her signature
collection, a ladylike offering of riding boots, ballerinas, D'Orsays
and pumps in classic luxury materials. After 10 years as an
award-winning footwear designer for Donna Karan, this collection finally
gives voice to Eileen's technical prowess and sophisticated style
sensibility. A real achievement is her expert treatment of sexy flats.
Newcomer George Esquivel showed off his sharp shoes
for sharp men, a collection rooted in the nostalgia of 50's California
and championed by specialty retailers like Fred Segal. This season
collaboration with the Peterman car museum produced a range of natty
wingtips and other custom silhouettes, all produced onsite in Orange
County under the designer's scrupulous eye.
This season footwear licensing giant, Global Brand
Marketing, quietly launched Dry-Shod, a specialty mens and womens
collection with a refined urban personality intended for limited
distribution. Territory Manager Gladys Cutler, a recent hire from Bally,
describes the range as unique and specialized. We fell in love with the
pointy hand-lasted moccasins and luxurious naked vachettas.
Winning the award
hands-down for energy, style and enthusiasm was the Sixty USA team,
which distinguished itself once again by setting up shop at V Bar with
the Miss Sixty and Killah footwear range. A possee of efficient young
execs premiered the collections, focused on boxing/wrestling boots,
athletic-inspired dress shoes and glammed-up metallic sneakers. Ones to
designer rainboots with attitude. Who doesn't need a pair?!!