Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Shoes


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.

PARIS — Yes, we know that line from “The Devil Wears Prada,” sneered by Meryl Streep and shared into oblivion for the last 15 years on social media: “Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking.”

But you must hand it to designers: They still try. They look for ways to freshen up the pattern. They paint flowers all over their models’ faces. They line a sneaker with floral ruffles.

On Wednesday, we saw how Charles de Vilmorin might approach florals as the new, 24-year-old creative director for Rochas, an almost century-old brand: “Slightly crazy,” he said.

He was referring to a pair of knee-high shoes that he put on the runway in two variants: silver and black and also multicolor. The shoes look like heeled boots from afar, though with a square open toe and calf-revealing cutouts, they could be read as sandals up close.

But their species isn’t the point: These shoes attract notice because they’re made up of intricate flowers embroidered onto leather to “create this illusion that they naturally grow and live around the legs,” Mr. de Vilmorin said. He added small metallic hoops, inspired by piercings, for a touch of grunge.

The shoes are wild and weird, yet not so avant-garde as to be unwearable. (Others in the collection, like wide-calf slouchy metallic leather boots with large gills affixed to their sides, seemed more unwieldy.) They also play to Mr. de Vilmorin’s strengths as a couture designer who leans into fantasy without being too saccharine; his imaginings are the twisted kind.

His muse isn’t the princess in her penthouse, but the one lost in the woods, succumbing to the sinister elements around her. The darkness is more interesting.