Enter the Shoe Brooch

Fashion Week is back in full force, and there’s a lot to see. Blink (or scroll too fast on Instagram) and you’ll miss the details: tiny bags, tall shoes, feathered hats, leather capes and diamond dog collars. So as part of a new series, Wow Moment, we’ll spotlight things we saw on the runways that delighted or mystified us.

Too often, when we think of bejeweled shoes, we think of very high heels spiked with crystals or topped with a shiny buckle: a true going-out shoe. Or, in pandemic times, we think of Crocs with Jibbitz charms. (Even Balenciaga’s pink four-inch platform Crocs, circa 2018, had charms: little plastic pugs and Eiffel Towers and shooting stars.)

Is there a happy medium? A shoe embellishment that isn’t aggressively glam or made to fill a rubber hole? Enter the shoe brooch.

They first appeared this season in New York at Collina Strada, in the form of cartoonish flowers pinned to the tops of sneakers. Then in Milan, at No. 21, they glitzed up Vans-style slip-on shoes with kitten heels. It’s not hard to see the appeal of shoe brooches, with their ability to turn up the volume on footwear (sometimes literally, if the brooches happen to jingle, as they did at No. 21).

But the Jil Sander versions shown Wednesday were the most refined: crystals in different shapes and colors pinned to the sides of boots and bootees. The effect was modern and abstract and a little romantic, as if the boots had been kissed by a stylish alien. (This impression may have been an effect of the futuristic venue — a long, cavernous hall bathed in a heavy periwinkle light — as well as the hammered lunar jewelry in the collection.)

Luke and Lucie Meier, the brand’s creative directors, referred in their show notes to the “sharp” boots as “enriched” with brooches, although they are not removable, having been appliquéd onto the boots. But it’s not hard to imagine a future in which a shoe brooch has the versatility to become, say, a sweater brooch. The possibilities!

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