Milan Fashion Week accessories: bags of attitude and shoe business

Designers have gone all out in their quest for the ‘it’ bag of 2017 in the hope of reviving flagging European sales

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 September, 2016, 8:00pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 September, 2016, 4:57pm

What will be next season’s “It” handbag? Milan is giving other fashion capitals a run for their money when it comes to accessories. Designers are creating seriously desirable bags. Silvia Venturini Fendi designed the new Kan bag, a stud lock bag dotted with candy-coloured studs, rosette embroidery and floral ribbons that couldn’t help but charm every woman lining the catwalk.

Miuccia Prada similarly captivated with a clutch portfolio tightly tucked under the arm. It has a long strap anchoring the flap and appeared in a multitude of colours, and a range of playful daisy and geometric prints. The daisy motif was repeated as a charming decoration on childlike jelly sandals. Bottega Veneta meanwhile revived 15 of its archive designs and added 15 new ones in colours such as smoky suede with camel crocodile and vivid green.

Paula Cadematori, who created a vibrant California-inspired collection, says bags represent 70 per cent of her business. Bulgari’s bag business is also doing well, highlighting next season’s trend for metallic finishes and smaller sizes.

Nevertheless, it has not been easy going for Italian brands this year. “Italy was very depressed this summer, there were no Chinese or Russian tourists; our London store, because of the weak pound, was achieving our best turnover,” says Andrea della Valle, vice-president of Tod’s. Although the presentation concentrated on the Wave and Double T bags, Tod’s is also introducing the Twist bag and a cute cross-body with signature Gomino rubber studs.

China is driving Jimmy Choo’s current growth. “China for us is really new, we have only been there four or five years,” says Pierre Denis, CEO of the British brand which showed in Milan. “We feel Chinese consumers are getting more sophisticated and starting to understand the diversity of small specialists like ourselves.” The new collection by Sandra Choi is inspired by hummingbirds and the iris, seen in knitted motifs on metallic bags and pretty embellishment on shoes.

Shoes, like bags, are proving a driving force this season as fashion sales have fallen flat in Europe. Gianvito Rossi celebrated the 10th anniversary of his label with a big party and a collection called Cocktail, with swizzle stick heels, jewelled slices of lemons, cherries and cocktail umbrellas decorating the new party shoes. There were more sparkly party shoes at Zanotti as well, notably a 40s-style jewelled design with juicy tropical florals, that have put the fun back into accessories this season.