.:[Double Click To][Close]:.

In the Buff

I recently talked with Jeffrey Campbell after shopping the Milan shows. It's fascinating how much everything there looked unmoving. No activity in the stores, no leaps ahead in terms of design and risk. Seems the global upheaval has put a weight around the neck of retail. It reminded me of how we Americans always assume the Europeans (especially the Italians) are our sartorial masters. To be in Milan and Venice is to be reminded how much they are influenced by us as well.

I was surprised at the lack of shoes. All was boots, boots, boots, as Jeffrey would later confirm in Madrid. In the store we've seen a growing demand for closed-up footwear -- pumps, ballet flats and clogs -- but not quite sandals. (If it ever warms up in Chicago, we'll definitely see this change.) The color of the moment is definitely nude. It is everywhere. I was too early this fall with neutral colors. Never pays to be too early.

The interest for next fall is cowboy. Short, roughed-out, distressed, hand-washed but not too extreme. The colors are tortora, fango ... any natural color. Navy seems to be trying to be the new black. We shall see.

Platform interest is still evident. I did see a lot of crepe in Milan (which does not sell here). I saw blockier heels, man-tailored oxfords and buckle shoes. Over-the-knee, riding boots and lace-ups remain important for next fall.