It’s no secret that colour and pattern are going to dominate men’s fashion this coming season – the spring/summer 2012 catwalk shoes, designer collections and current high street fashion stores all confirm that. However, I often find that a lot of men are very wary when it comes to pattern or colour and are loathe to fully embrace the tones, shades and patterned markings available to them.
Although men in contemporary society are more willing to show an interest in fashion and explore the more experimental nature of it, the large majority still prefer to stick to their traditional navy, blacks and greys. For those men who aren’t quite ready to bust out neon shorts and Hawaiian shirts this SS12, the option of coloured or patterned shoes offers a fantastic way of showing support for the trend in a much more subtle (and often refined) way.
Below I have showcased the 3 main trends of coloured/patterned footwear available this year, for the modern man who isn’t afraid to get their feet stuck in and let their shoes do the talking.
Of the three main coloured footwear trends, I believe this is the one that will have the most wide-spread appeal. Although bright, exuberant and eye-catching, pop colour shoes are the easiest to integrate within an outfit, and depending on the colour chosen, will complement the existing wardrobe of most modern men.
The catwalk shows for SS 2012 fully embraced the pop colour footwear trend, with designer collections at all major fashion weeks containing exuberantly-coloured shoes:
In Milan, the Calvin Klein collection largely consisted of muted whites, blacks and greys – but then right out of left field came a couple of fantastically brilliant outfits in zesty limes and lemons, complete with matching citrus-coloured lace-ups. Even the white shoes contained a bright navy wedge sole, which excellently contrasted the simplicity and muted colouring of the white ensembles.
Similarly, at Paris Fashion Week, the Kenzo collection was full of vibrant colours and patterns from head to toe; all anchored securely with a pair of complimentary pop coloured shoes. From leather lace-ups in canary yellow, bright baby blue and brilliant bottle green, to aquamarine loafers – there was a colour for every personal taste.
Here in London, Topman Design pushed the trend within their collection, which was suitably rooted by patent tasselled loafers in vibrant reds, pinks and oranges. Not to be left out, high street retailers have also adopted the pop colour trend – with brands as diverse as Boxfresh, River Island and Russell & Bromley featuring bold coloured shoes in their recent ad campaigns and lookbooks.
Two-tone shoes, or the co-respondent shoe as they are occasionally known, are making a big comeback this season. Recently featured in GQ’s shoes supplement, two-tone footwear is proving hugely popular – especially in brogue silhouettes, where the leather panels are constructed in contrasting shades to create a fantastic visual impact.
Long-established designers such as Dolce & Gabbana, Emporio Armani and Grenson have all featured two-tone footwear in their recent collections, whilst Burberry, Gant by Michael Bastian and DSquared2 were major advocates of the trend at the SS12 fashion weeks:
I think the use of two-tone colouring in brogue styles creates a sense of classicism and conjures up images of the American gangster eras of the 1920s and 30s – the spats-style shoes were very prevalent back then.
One thing I will say is that if you opt for this choice of footwear; be aware of your surrounding pieces. For optimal success (and less chance of a colour-clash headache), if your shoes are bold in colour, keep the socks and accompanying outfit stripped back and simple – really let the statement shoes shine.
Although the use of pattern in clothing has recently made a big impact on the catwalks and the high street, pattern use in footwear is also becoming more widespread. Common prints that have been prominent so far come in the form of camouflage and animal prints. It is interesting how both of these choices have a direct link to the safari trend that is extending its influence in menswear for SS12.
Paul Smith fully embraced his animalistic side by sending his models down the catwalk in leopard print lace-ups which, although pretty wild, complemented the accompanying sober outfits well. Tommy Hilfiger jumped on the camo bandwagon by including camouflage print buckled desert boots and loafers in his collection – giving a somewhat outdoors vibe to his trademark preppy/varsity look.
Here is some visual inspiration for any of you looking to integrate a pair of coloured shoes into your wardrobe this year:
Although pattern and pop colour isn’t for everyone, it is undeniable that these two trends are big in menswear this season. Injecting a bit of pattern or colour into your footwear rather than the main body of your outfit will enable more reserved men to follow the trend in a more discrete way.
Personally, I think the pop colour trend is an easier one for the everyday man to pull off and integrate into their current wardrobe, whilst I also really like the sense of stylish classicism which accompanies the two-tone, co-respondent shoe.
I must admit the pattern/print footwear trend is something I am yet to be convinced about – but I am an open-minded kind of guy and am sure that with the right styling, patterned footwear could also be an interesting option for the more sartorially adventurous man.
But over to you guys – what do you think?
Whatever your opinion, let us know in the comment box below…
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