In perfect balance between artisan virtuosity and hi-tech experimentation, men's footwear for autumn / winter 2014-15 confirms the predilection of the designers for lofty materials and painstaking workmanship that can enhance both the elegant allure of the most classic shoe and the technological appeal of the new generation models.
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A refined dandy atmosphere occurs within the world of the shoe through the many slipper models that are covered with baroque details up to the point of being true art accessories. Silk chenille uppers and damask prints for Corneliani and Santoni, rhinestones for Emporio Armani, Hellenic prints for the models by Vivienne Westwood; along with the smooth tissues, also chosen by Sergio Rossi and Car Shoe, the slip-on slippers favour opulent leathers, such as those used for example in the printed pony version in the new men's collection by Jimmy Choo. Lace-ups occur with an elongated or round tip across all the collections of the traditional models with a British taste, from the derby to the dovetail brogue, updated with a new dualism of materials which include in their vast range, the bicolour leathers by Antonio Marras, the contrasting soles of Kris Van Assche, the mixes of leather and tank rubber presented by Hermès. The step is heavier on the other hand in the urban-style footwear inspired by the world of workwear and the technical equipment of winter sports. In this segment, the prevailing shoe is the boot: Timberland offers it in a hunter version with oilcloth inserts, Dries Van Noten chooses neoprene for its scuba models, Emporio Armani adds an unusual marbled sole. There are several models in a cliffhanger style, armed with iron hooks all along the lacing, strategic buckles and impact protection: the climbing shoe is a must in the collections of Louis Vuitton and Damir Doma, but also the brands with a purely active vocation such as Y-3 sanction the technical snow boot, taking it away from its natural habitat and transferring it to a metropolitan dimension. Originating from these sporty models, therefore, is the conceptual and design reworking that aims to make the shoe futuristic and ultra-exclusive. KTZ covers it in metallic leather and replaces the laces with Velcro fasteners, James Long applies stretch fabric inserts in place of buckles, Vivienne Westwood revisits the lacing in an elaborate mechanism of elastic pulls. Even the sneaker, in view of the cold season, tends to stretch well beyond the ankle acquiring new high performance gadgets and faux fur interiors, waterproof coatings and finishes in wool, in addition to the curious quilted models by Supremebeing and the 'toothed' shoes by Walter Van Beirendonck.