The newest muse for accessory designers in Milan was neither a film star nor a rock star but someone altogether more ... earthy: mother nature.
How else to interpret the fact that Jimmy Choo called its collection “Nature Unleashed” and featured – aside from its usual towering stilettos made from rope, or pumps covered in tiny feathers, like little birds of prey for the feet – a cork-soled wedge, straps covered in leopard? Or that at Brian Atwood, some of the hottest wedges of the season were made from an extraordinary combination of horn and wood, while a scorpion crawled up the front of a stiletto?
Wood also showed up at Furla, inset into their pastel-tinted leather clutch for a geometric edge in an extremely delicate process that involves getting the material thin enough to curve without breaking. And that was just the beginning.
“It’s a season of change,” said Cesare Casadei with a shrug, explaining his decision to limit himself to a “natural” palette of tan leather, gold, and white, with butterflies and a basket-weave as the few adornments. Certainly, this was true at René Caovilla, where the house best known for its crystal-strewn red carpet numbers offered, next to its trademark bombshell heel with ankle straps entwined with glittering fruit, a pair of espadrilles – espadrilles! – with the natural fibre sole left in its unpolished state (granted, the upper came with rainbow crystals, but still).
At Sergio Rossi, it was all about the virtue of leaves, whether on a flat gladiator or an evening sandal, not to mention the virtues of bamboo (used as a material, not a print). Even at Valextra, new designer Álvaro González recreated the classic bag in white crocodile, fading gradually to grey on the sides.
As to why there’s been a sudden obsession with the natural world, Sandra Choi, Jimmy Choo’s creative director, said simply: “It’s the most pure expression of beauty. Nature gets it right.” Gaia would approve.