Image: George Ong
July 02 2010
Lucia van der Post
Check the feet of the coolest girls striding around town and you’ll notice that there are only two ways to look right now – either sporting heels so towering that you hope they’ve got a good head for heights, or looking hip and laid-back in flats. And if they’re in flats there is a good chance that they’ll be wearing trainers.
It’s amazing what has happened to trainers this year. For some time designers and manufacturers have been turning them from functional sports shoes into desirable fashion numbers, but this year they’re having more fun than ever. High-ticket names such as Lanvin, Missoni, Prada and Stella McCartney have cast their eyes and talents over the plimsoll and come up with versions that will set those who fancy them back a pretty penny.
Missoni has created sneakers in collaboration with Converse which feature high tops made from Missoni’s emblematic zig-zag fabric (£120 from Missoni, Browns and Selfridges). Lanvin’s pretty, high-topped pink floral fabric with red patent toe-caps was a big early summer hit. For high summer, check out its soft calfskin and python trainers (£495, from Lanvin and Net-a-Porter).
Among my personal favourites are the more low-key Converse numbers (particularly Ox low sneakers, £34.99, and its white “I Love” version, £40). There’s also a Converse paint-splash black and white number or a camouflage print, each selling for just £50 from Net-a-Porter.
A deliciously pretty sneaker comes from the Italian company Forte Forte, which feminises the street look with ribbon laces (£135, from Matches and Fenwick). To see for yourself the full scale of the trainer transformation from sporty support shoe to hot fashion number, head for Harrods’ fifth floor, where a whole department is given over to nothing but fancy sneakers.
How to wear them? Mostly they look best teamed with skinny jeans, leggings, trousers and sleek-fitting tops. But sometimes they can toughen up the look of a sweet and pretty dress or look cool with a skirt and tank top. But it’s not just the cool young set who are taking to them. I had lunch recently with a grown-up interior designer who had snapped her Achilles tendon and was on crutches. Prada’s silver trainers (£240, from Harrods) had come to the rescue.
First picture, clockwise from top right: trainers by Lanvin, £495; Forte Forte, £135; and Prada, £240. Second picture: Missoni/Converse sneakers, £120.