During Burberry’s debut show for new creative director Daniel Lee, shoes stole the spotlight, with varied and often unconventional designs. The brand is seeking to double its footwear business in the next few years, following a strategy employed by many luxury brands, including Chloe, Prada, Saint Laurent, and Bottega Veneta, where footwear makes up around 20% of sales.
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Lee, formerly of Bottega Veneta, created a series of It bags during his tenure there, and many were curious to see if he could bring the same magic to Burberry. While bags were not in short supply at the show, it was the footwear that had insiders talking, as models walked the runway in everything from faux fur embellished heels to Wallabee-style moccasins with shearling trim.
Designer footwear is expected to see growth in the post-pandemic era, as consumers shed their work-from-home slippers and seek out comfortable yet statement-making shoes. High-income luxury shoppers in the US, UK, and China have indicated that dress shoes remain a staple, but they are also looking for unique embellishments and comfort.
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While Lee’s unconventional footwear designs may be a hit with fashion insiders and sneakerheads, it remains to be seen if they will resonate with Burberry’s broader customer base. However, the brand’s focus on growing its footwear business aligns with a broader trend among luxury brands, and if successful, could help Burberry achieve its goal of becoming a £4 billion megabrand under CEO Jonathan Akeroyd’s strategy to emphasize Britishness.
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