Paris Shoes and Bags: The ABCs of the Fall/Winter Season


Clockwise from top left: Gucci red spike-heel pump, Alexander Wang black short boot, Gucci beige snake pump, Chloe red open-toe oxford, Gucci blue python bag, Alexander Wang black tall boot.

The Word on Shoes and Bags
The best Paris shoes and bags will reinvent your look for the season. From the baroque to the classical, the world of shoes and bags this year is defined by deep colors and luxurious surfaces, from platforms to pumps with decorated heels or open toes. Fall usually promises a selection of boots in a range from the horsey to the street rocker and something between. There is something for everyone: high heels, platforms, flats, boots, wedges, pumps, sandals and equestrienne riding boots or ultimate ballet flats. Just be sure to watch the proportions of the boots, and make sure they are working with your overall look. The leg was the focus of all the fall collections, so be sure to add the right hose, black matte, patterned fishnets, nude hose or colors to accent your shoes. The new black sheer footless hose is going to be the sexy add-on to this fall’s leg looks. Rain or shine, your shoes this season are the defining moment that takes your basics to the next level. Indulging in one or two trends will update your look and help you clean out the closet for this year. Take a look at these designers and remember that everyone will be inspired by them, so you’ll see something you like that matches your budget at every level.  

A Is for Animal

Animal prints roam the range from tiger, leopard, giraffe, zebra or combinations between. Don’t forget scaly creatures like the python or stingray that are dyed or dipped, bejeweled or dazzled to create luxurious shoes and bags in a host of rich and racy fall tones. With the new animal print, you’ll revive last year’s little black dress or skirt/blouse combination. Use animal prints sparingly as accents to indulge in this trend. An animal-inspired shoe, bag or scarf, when anchored with your favorite black or solid color, really rocks the look.
Animal Inspired: Azzedine Alaïa, Bally, Dries Van Noten, GiambatistaValle, Roberto Cavalli

Short sheer embroidered bodice cocktail dress by Basil Soda/Fall 2012 Runway.

B Is for Bauhaus, Baroque and Ballet Flats

With more technology in our lives, we can’t help but notice the influence on designers who are inspired by the Bauhaus art movement. Color blocking or geometric styles of heels and toes counteract the more traditional shapes in footwear that can only be described as baroque. With the surface details of embroidery or encrusted in jewels, these shoes are in contrast to the architectural simplicity of the Bauhaus shoe. It should be noted that Narciso Rodriguez is relaunching his shoe and accessories division. The perfect architectural statement of chic simplicity, without the high platforms, will be his direction for the fall season and the future.
A Few Designers to Look For
Baroque Inspired: Charlotte Olympia, Dolce & Gabbana, DSquared, ETRO
Bauhaus Inspired: Aquatalia, Alberta Ferretti, Alexander Wang, BCBG Max Azria, Narciso Rodriguez, Céline, Jill Sander
Boots: Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch, Max Mara
Ballet Flats: Lanvin, Chanel, Bagglerinas by Natkin, Paris

C Is for Chanel and the Colors of Fall

The fall season is a veritable feast of color and style that can only be described as bountiful. The rich deep colors of fall/winter are inspired this year by the world of natural resources: forests, jungles, seashores, the polar cap, mountains or scenic vistas, along with the rich jewels of the earth. This has inspired designers to create in a range of colors from deep greens to blues, winter white, jewel tones and metallic-infused colors on a variety of surfaces both shiny and matte. 

The Color Palette for the Year

Sky blue, aquatic blue, navy, midnight, forest green, Kelly green, crème beige, white, Russian red, deep rose pink, gray, sunset orange, copper brown, burnished gold, antique silver.
Chanel: The fall Chanel collection was scrumptious in its beautiful metallic treated leathers, heavy antique chains and gorgeous Venetian tones of red, plums, purples, golds and deep forest greens. We should also mention that they have reinvented the classic black handbag into something more interesting this season, too. So, this is worth a look.

Short sequin miniskirt designed by Didit Hediprasetyo. Gloves and hat by Philip Treacy.

D Is for Designer

The designer shoe is usually a “statement of being” or a “planting of the flag” in the sand of the season. This year the shoe is the thing, so you can see a designer’s point of view just by taking in a shoe collection. Here is our list of designers with the best collections for the season that showed perfect seasonal trends in shoes/bags:
Azzedine Alaïa
Bottega Veneta
Derek Lam
Emporio Armani
J. Mendel
Marc Jacobs
Tom Ford
Jason Wu
Walter Steiger
Roger Vivier 

E Is for Editing and the Envelope Bag

Don’t look now, but the idea of dressing well is not to pile on the designers until you can’t see yourself anymore. The art of fashion editing is about taking what looks best on you, then choosing carefully. Let’s face it: we all make mistakes, so just wipe your tears and move on to the joy of this season’s delights.
Envelope Bags: A revival of this bag works as a pop of color, a hint of gold or a peep of animal skin to update your look. These bags are perfect for your cell phone, lipstick or tucking into your briefcase, as they are thin and must be carried at your side to be perfectly chic. Vintage envelopes are perfect as well.

F Is for Finishing the Look

A total look for fall will involve a commitment to a point of view that is authentic to your personal style. 

G Is for Gold

We would be remiss if we didn’t include this as its own category. There is always gold in every season, and fall/winter 2012 is no exception. Gold hardware, chains, hobnails, spikes and other expressions have become a seasonal staple. When in doubt, go for the gold to finish your look, whether it’s a bag, a shoe or a fingernail polish infused with gold flecks or shine. 

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Pikke Allen aka ARTIFICE travels the time warp between Hollywood and Paris, where she is a writer/blogger/Creative Consultant for both US and French luxury lifestyle brands. Her bobo credentials were earned designing costumes for theatre, film and television. Her passion for all things fashion brings her to museums, designer ateliers, runway shows and the Paris shopping beat, where she confesses all about boho bargains or luxury shopping secrets. You can read more of Pikke’s fashion tips, trends and shopping confessions at Styliste Privée.