“Ugly” shoes are still winning, and Fendi’s latest debut creatively combines house codes with current trends.
At Milan’s fashion week, Fendi opened the Spring 2023 collection after an interlude in the dark. The first model walked out in relatively muted clothes colors, but accessorized with chunky boots with an electrically lime-green pop. Models continued emerging in a mix of neutrals worn with unnaturally bright colors — and the most noticeable of all: the shoes.
Chunky, rubber, patent and minimalistic in design, Fendi’s latest shoes are, to us, the perfect contender for next season’s “it” shoe. And, in large part, it’s because they’re funky and verge on ugly.
Aesthetics always change, and they’ve accelerated their rate of change with the pandemic. One huge part of shifting fashion trends since 2020 include a growing affection for ugly shoes. They were already gaining traction, with shoes like Demna and Kanye offering some especially populat options, but the pandemic gave us a new appreciation for footwear that puts function over traditional beauty.
Here at Fashionista, we aren’t immune, either. As much as I love a sexy heel that highlights the sway of my hips when I walk… or just makes me the height I wish I was… I, too, have a soft spot for ugly shoes. They’re often comfortable, full of character and quickly complete an outfit with little effort.
But Fendi isn’t just hopping on a trend with its new brightly-colored kicks. These are far from fad.
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Instead, they’re an ode to the historic codes of the house, via Karl Lagerfeld’s prolific designs, which Fendi’s artistic director for womenswear, Kim Jones, is merging with more modern ones.
“It’s about continuity,” said Jones in a press release, which explains that his starting point was Lagerfeld’s Fendi archives from 1996 to 2002. “I am interested in looking at things that Karl has done, and seeing how we can develop them — both visually and technically.”
Lagerfeld expertly balanced modernity in his designs with a sophisticated refinement and sprinkle of daringness. The Fendi Spring 2023 rubber platforms meet modernity where it stands while being adventurous with color. The brand’s inverted F insignia is seen stamped on shoes throughout for a subtle nod to logomania.
“At Fendi, I am constantly thinking about practicality as well as luxury,” added Jones. “Adding heavy hardware to something very soft both gives it real functionality and makes it interesting.”
What may have been ugly before is seen with new eyes today as desirable. Images of Fendi’s camel-colored platform slides and off-white, knee-high boots are stuck in our minds. These shoes change the way you walk, adding a weight to your movement, while striking with their minimalistic-chic look.
Other accessories in the show took their own fearless approach towards weirdness. Double-sacs for a handbag. Tiny purses on necklaces and keychains adorning a bigger satchel. Neon greens and jagged metal logos for a handle.
See the full Fendi Spring 2023 collection in the gallery below.
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