MILAN — Pandemic be damned — Italian accessories companies are hoping for a brighter future ahead and presented a joyful range of collections during Milan Fashion Week. Delicate and feminine sandals are not meant for a lockdown, and touches of gold added pizzazz to several looks. As for handbags, clutches and smaller formats promise leisurely evenings under the stars.
Bulgari this season presented its new collection of handbags, which displays a 1955 Serpenti watch. The head of the snake was revisited as a precious clasp on the accessories.
In its boutique in Via Montenapoleone, the Rome-based jewelry house presented the new Arkadia21 collection, introducing the Serpenti Multichain Bag, with a new chain shoulder strap and the revisited snakehead closure. In a slim yet architectural and squared shape, the bag has a glowing golden sheen — a reference to the brand’s core business. The new effect is obtained through the same treatment that Bulgari employs for its signature shiny Karung snakeskin with the addition of an all-over application of a metallic foil.
Again playing with a reference to jewelry, the Serpenti Brilliant Cut sculptural clutch nods to the facets of a diamond, in gold molten Karung. A standout was the new Serpenti Forever Ministriped Galuchat bag, the hide of which is entirely hand-painted through an airbrush that enables the artisans to create a stripe motif in shades from golden glitter to peach nuances.
Giuseppe Zanotti presented a smaller collection of men’s and women’s styles that ranged from sandals with ruffle accents to Western-inspired boots with a star embellishment and silk-adorned sneakers. While Zanotti explored sneakers long before most luxury players, he remains passionate about heels. Even during the pandemic, while women were staying at home, they were still shopping for heels online, the designer said. A cool addition was a range of square-toe sandals featuring a banana heel. “It looks like half the shape of a heart, it’s my love letter to women,” Zanotti said.
Gianvito Rossi’s star style for spring was the Ribbon Gladiator, a tall gladiator square-toe sandal that featured a ribbon ornamentation on the crisscross ankle strap. The brand offered a number of takes on the gladiator, including a laser-cut one in gold. The ribbon theme was also carried over into other styles, including a sturdy black boot.
Paying homage to Italy and its artisanal techniques, Casadei plied a palette of neutrals on new styles that had a more quotidian feel. Kitten-heeled crochet mules in a wicker material were refined everyday options, while a flatform sandal in a sparkly golden shade had a cushion-like insole for extra comfort. “We wanted to offer our female customers the exact same feeling of stepping on a fluffy carpet,” explained Arianna Casadei, the designer’s daughter with marketing and digital responsibility.
The balance and elegance of the Renaissance art showcased in the rooms of Urbino’s Palazzo Ducale served as the main source of inspiration for the first footwear collection that Andrea Renieri designed for Santoni. The designer highlighted the brand’s craftsmanship by creating feminine heeled sandals and flats enriched with leather interwoven motifs. In addition, he played with a knot element that added a sophisticated touch to slingbacks. Delicate touches of light blue and hydrangea yellow were combined to hints of red and yellow in a color palette exalting the feminine attitude of the collection.
Valextra teamed with designer and architect Patricia Urquiola and Budri, leaders in marble inlays, for a unique collection under the MarVles moniker.
MarVles comprises 19 limited-edition Iside bags, with a multilayered design of leather intarsia and marble on the handle, and a marble clasp. “The designs have a 3-D quality that is inspired by the signature entrances of Milanese palazzos,” said Urquiola. The beautiful handles belie a complex technology, which also help keep the bag light: the marble is very thin yet strong enough to carry the bag. “These bags become like jewels, and the marble handle adds a certain edge to them, reflecting women, who are not only gentle but also edgy,” mused Urquiola, who admitted she had been “looking at marble from another point of view. This project has helped me as an architect, too, as sometimes we are distracted by the large spaces, but this is a more controlled effort, which enhances the material.”
Urquiola selected multicolored marbles including Alpi and Cipollino greens, Marquina black, white, Azul, Alicante red and Lapis pink. The Fuse model’s handle is curvy, the Bow shows intersecting arches and the Edge has an extreme angular motif that is part futurist, part Art-Deco, she explained.
Giannico proves that high-octane glamour doesn’t have to be about high heels. The Giannico spring 2021 collection doubles down on the sparkle and exuberance at the heart of the brand, but makes it an everyday affair with the addition of lower-heel silhouettes and flats. Signature styles, such as the Daphne mule and Eve cage sandal, have been reimagined with day-friendly runaround heels and flat silhouettes. Additions to the Giannico repertoire, like the square-toe Aurora sandal and crisscross Eté styles, come with both towering heels and more wearable heights as well.
The Giusti Sisters behind AGL injected a sense of lightness and positivity into their latest footwear collection via laser cuts and chromatic combinations. Chunky-soled boots with cutouts came in pastel tones — including butter and lilac — as well as in more eccentric, animal-printed versions. Iridescent styles oozed a summer-night vibe while bicolor flats, medium-heeled sandals and wedges also looked fresh and fun, in addition to telegraphing the Giustis’ ultimate mission of delivering comfort.
Hogan presented a tongue-in-cheek video showing Italian model Chiara Scelsi and musician Robbie Wadge taking over the set of a shoot, choosing the location, the framing and the mood. The focus is on the brand’s core business — sneakers — with simplified silhouettes and fits, paired with unisex knits and leather jackets. The shoes looked young, in sync with the pace and the spirit of the video, with bright green laces, pink, platinum or silver details lighting up the designs. There were also comfortable-looking, laced-up ankle boots with white rubber soles.
Geox president and founder Mario Moretti Polegato talked about a “complex economic situation,” which the company is trying to offset by banking on its core business: practical footwear and a strong focus on sustainability. Low-heeled and flat slingback styles were crafted from suede in a black, beige and blush pink combination, while shimmering snakeskin-printed leather adorned pointy pumps for both comfort and sparkle. In its sneakers range for both men and women, Geox introduced the Spherica range, featuring a bubble-like outsole for extra cushioning.
Presented through a fashion film titled “Walk Your Way,” hinging on women’s empowerment, René Caovilla worked a range of styles spanning from the signature Cleo sandal embellished with crystal and pearl accents to flat sandals for an edgier reinterpretation.
Everybody is looking for some escapism and Pollini is helping his women’s clients find the right shoes to set sail toward Mediterranean resort destinations spanning from Venice to Greece, the Côte d’Azur to Sicily. Drawing inspiration from archival shapes, mid-heeled sandals had sculptural heels reminiscent of ancient columns and bands carved from gold leather in the shape of laurel leaves, while gladiator sandals featured cork wedges.
Colors and cutouts informed Fratelli Rossetti’s new collection, which the brand unveiled via the “Open Art” event during which street artists were called to create artworks outside the brand’s flagship. Key styles included an updated, tricolor version of the intricately woven Brera loafer, coming in combinations of pink, white and dove gray as well as tobacco, beige and mandarin, among others. The Frame line, with geometrical cutouts on the sides, also debuted as part of the range.
Combining glamour and technology, Coliac’s creative director Martina Grasselli developed an innovative accessory — Coliac/Pod is a range of pendants that, through a simple gesture, give a feminine touch to AirPods, Apple’s wireless earbuds. For the launch of the project, the brand presented six different gold pleated styles, enriched with crystals, pearls and rhinestones.
Genevieve Xhaet continues to deliver whimsical collections with her Flapper headwear brand. For spring, Dora Maar, the artist and photographer who’s had a love affair with Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí, inspired the designer. A viscose hat molded in the shape of human hands was reminiscent of Maar’s poses in her self-portrait. The Surrealist theme echoed in a range of straw- and hydrangea-printed hats crafted from sustainable nylon. Xhaet introduced her first handbag, too, such as a black basket-shaped cross-body, the top of which can be removed and worn as a chic fez.
Storied leather goods label Serapian hosted the presentation at its new Milan headquarters inside stately Villa Mozart, inside of which sat a 1930 Lancia Lambda car, its upholstery crafted from the brand’s Mosaico pattern. The car project is part of the bespoke services the brand has been investing in. For spring, the Mosaico pattern was updated in a new rainbow-hued flamboyant version, while a black and white degrade effect adorned the new Mini Secret carryall style.
Officina del Poggio launched ODPEssentials, a series of limited-edition capsule collections developed in partnership with Italian artisans operating across various categories, including footwear and jewelry. The mission is to offer quality products as “we are all realizing that we need to ‘buy less, buy better’, especially during this unique time,” said the brand’s founder and creative director Allison Hoeltzel Savini. The first drop of the monthly series featured a classic Mary Jane footwear style handcrafted in Bologna and developed with historic shoemaker Enzo Bonafè.