With the pre-fall 16 collections coming thick and fast now, one thing is clear – the ankle boot remains a key commercial item. There’s a surprising amount of continuity in styling (surprising given that brands need a constant stream of newness to convince us to the part with our cash). So where exactly is the newness that will make us want to buy next pre-season?
Killer heels and a cut that’s all about making the most of your long legs are what sums up this look. Choose from the more directional sock boot that we first saw at Miu Miu for SS15 or some more more established cuts. The sock boot is still impacting the designer sector without yet filtering through to the mainstream. Think of it as an alternative option for occasionwear when sandals just feel too boring. And don’t hold back on colour – the stretch leather or synthetic ‘sock’ part offers plenty of opportunity for colour contrasts and non-traditional brights. For a vampish effect, also try Victoriana-influenced lace-up boots. Best in black, with a dominatrix edge that also lends itself to glam after-dark dressing. The vamp boot can loosen up a little – checkout Veronica Beard’s version in leather or suede. What keeps it vampish is the spike heel. Or go for a lower cut that’s more of a shoe-boot. Sonia by Sonia Rykiel’s version comes in vivid red with multiple buckles to make it a sure-fire attention grabber.
The Power of Contrast
Designers use contrasts – clashing colours, contrasting materials, the appeal of a colour appliqué against a plain dark ground – to update classic shapes. MM6 Maison Margiela works tough-edged black croc against silver for a don’t-mess-with-me attitude or a creamy pale croc, also against matte silver metallic, that adds a softer edge and works with many of the season’s soft white and beige apparel pieces. Diane von Furstenberg keeps it simple with a snakeskin heel highlighting the deep black of the boot’s upper. And Red Valentino adds to the appeal of a classic shape with statement appliqué florals to continue the strong run of floral boots offered both by this label and its older sister Valentino.
Forget cowboy boots, these snakeskin ankle boots are 100% aimed at city dwellers with a sophisticated edge that can transform a career look into something a little edgy. Choose between natural-toned snakeskin and give it an elastic gusset, like as Belstaff, for a more casual feel or higher chunky heel to smarten it up as seen at Diane von Furstenberg. Or colour co-ordinate your total look with one of the new coloured snakeskins like Sonia by Sonia Rykiel’s sharp shoe-boots.
In some ways the core ankle boot shape has changed little in recent years and this pre-season is no different with plenty of classics on show. Suede is a popular choice to add a warmer, more tactile feel than leather. The newest looks update a classic city shape with casual details – an elastic gusset, topstitching or a pixie boot cut. But they stay smart with the smallest possible platform and the highest possible heel.