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STYLE

Maud de Marco
pancaldi
Sergio
Fashion afoot

Designers give models 'the boot'

July 16, 1999
Web posted at: 2:39 p.m. EDT (1839 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The competition among fashion designers goes toe-to-toe -- and up to the calf -- for the 1999 fall/winter season. Models are striding down runways in boots of all materials, the most trendy being python and pony skin.

Skins may be "in," if not always politically popular, but Chloe designer Stella McCartney says she prefers the fake stuff.

"I try not to work in real leather too much because I'm a vegetarian," she says. "They're amazing actually because I've been trying them on and they're kind of really just comfy. They kind of mold to your foot more than I think with real leather."

While McCartney designs her boots to go knee-high, Maud de Marco, of Ombeline in Paris, doesn't stick to one height. They're at the ankle, under the knee, over the knee. She uses a variety of soft materials in a mix of colors.

"In the boots (there are) very soft materials like shaved suede ... in the dark gray, in the black, a combination of both colors," she says. "The ankle boot is coming in bright, bright colors, like red and yellow, and with that shaved suede. It's very funny on the foot. It's sporty and young."

At Pancaldi in Milan, Stefano Pancaldi says he believes the low-heel, sporty boot makes the strongest fashion statement.

"It will be a riding boot on a flat construction -- could be a boot on a rubber-sole construction," he says.

The fabrics Pancaldi chooses range from stretchy "techno-materials" to the classic tweed.

Sporty and comfy

Cerruti's Peter Speliopoulos says boots are so much a part of the season that he puts them on every model.

"As all of the skirts and coats are cropped at the knee, the leg is, I think very, very fresh with boots ... either in patent leather or pony skin in off-mixes of color, whether they're gunmetal, bordeaux metallic patent leather or moss pony."

Boots gave New York's Daryl Kerrigan the idea to create an oxford shoe based on an old '30s style of riding boot. Milan's Sergio Rossi says he styles boots with the working woman in mind.

"The low-heel sporty boot is definitely for the working women who needs a comfortable shoe to support her through the day," Rossi says. "We have them in soft calfskin leathers, and also patent leather."

Rossi uses different shapes: Some heels are square, others are rounded. New York's Donna Karan, on the other hand, makes her motorcycle boot stand out by using neoprene.

"In a new way the neoprene is not like neoprene was. It's light and it really does kind of mold the leg."

CNN Style Correspondent Elsa Klensch contributed to this report.



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