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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 14 November 2018

Fashion notes: Ditch the towering teeter-totters for flats

There’s no denying flats have been the “it” footwear of past seasons, and the trend shows no signs of slowing.
Flat out: a model from Carolina Herrera. Frazer Harrison / Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week / AFP
Flat out: a model from Carolina Herrera. Frazer Harrison / Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week / AFP

You can blame it on tomboys or the overly laid-back ladies of today, but there’s no denying flats have been the “it” footwear of past seasons, and the trend shows no signs of slowing its pace. But wait – this isn’t as dreary as it sounds, because the flat footwear designs currently in stores are quite a delight.

From Dolce & Gabbana’s printed daytime espadrilles to the new satin Mary Janes from Manolo Blahnik, the flat has made a powerful comeback, led by the biggest names in high fashion. Even runways, where mastering the high-heeled walk was an essential undertaking of every model, have seen an increase in flat footwear. At their autumn/winter shows, brands such as Prada, Carolina Herrera and Paco Rabanne switched stilettos for heelless shoes. The overall looks were anything but drab – perhaps because there was so much going on above the knee that the eye wasn’t naturally drawn to the models’ feet. Still, once the shoes were noticed, they hardly made a negative effect. Rather, they gave a sort of fresh fluidity to the outfits.

You may think there’s something fishily practical about this footwear trend, almost as if the saying “fashion over comfort” has reversed itself. Don’t complain – embrace it and make the most of this period, where our fashion finesse isn’t judged inferior if we fail to flaunt high heels. Without entering the sometimes treacherous (though much loved) realm of trainers, here’s the lowdown on what kind of flat shoes to focus on for autumn/winter.

Espadrilles, made popular by Chanel, have cemented themselves as casual-wear staples. Though I’m not so confident in the appeal beyond the summer months, brands such as Saint Laurent, Valentino, Burberry and Proenza Schouler have launched their offerings of the style. Similarly shaped, but perhaps less fashion-forward, are skater shoes, which can be found in the collections of Givenchy and Joshua Saunders. Tomboys will gravitate towards these, which are often covered in cheeky text or graphic icons. Brogues are another menswear-­inspired shoe genre, becoming increasingly popular in high fashion. From sleek, minimal designs with python textures to chunky metallic pieces with embellishments, there’s a wide range of styles. I’m currently crushing on the new gold-and-silver Marni brogues, complete with leather fringing details.

Loafers are obvious options, and while they’re classic and timeless, they’re admittedly boring against the rest of these shoe styles. If you’re leaning towards loafers, look for something different – such as the two-tone options from the autumn/winter collection at Tod’s.

Last but not least is the ballerina. I’m a sucker for pointy toes – such as the design of everyone’s favourite Valentino Rockstud flats. As well, lace-up Aquazzura flats are beautiful, with a ballet-inspired look – less expensive versions can be found in Topshop. You may also like the T-bar pointed flats from Jimmy Choo. If you find these uncomfortable, though, stick to rounded toes – Chloé and Chanel have some cute pairs.

So it’s official. Louboutins and Sophia Websters still top lists as eye-catching shoe splurges, but don’t necessarily define fashion girls anymore. You may still have qualms about packing up your heels for now, but the fact is flat is the new black.

hlodi@thenational.ae