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Yesterday was chock full of discoveries and excitement here in Milano. Started the show with the customary cappuccino and a look over the show books to make maps of where I wanted to check out. Keep in mind that MICAM is about 72,474 square meters of SHOES. It’s at least a mile from entrance to the press office, and then each hall opens out at least a half mile. The halls are brightly lit and the displays are clean and very graphic. It is a quite amazing visual treat for people like me who are completely entranced by the silhouette of shoes — all these wonderful graphic backdrops for gorgeous sculptural creations.

Visited with Minna Parikka, the Finnish shoe designer who I’ve been following for about a year and a half. We were supposed to connect at FFANY last year, and so now was great to finally meet her. She launched knitwear to accompany her sophisticated 1930’s inspired pop-art whimsy creations and I quite like it. Graphic dresses and separates that pair well with her footwear. We had a laugh as I tried to properly pronounce her last name and interviewed her on the Flip, without pressing the record button. Whoops. After the second try we got it. Then met her friend Rae Jones a British designer, who is a consultant for WGSN and has a new line of footwear very 40’s inspired but with some details like gorgeous shoe clips (you know how I am a big big fan of shoe clips), and two styles of boots made from organic leathers — tanned without chemicals and happy cows — which were buttery soft and supple.

Caught up with Sandro from Alternatives shoes in Chicago at the bar with a glass of Prosecco, and talked a little biz. Retailers seem to buying later in the year in order to fully suss out the market and wait as long as they can to place orders, which is to be expected in the current climate.

I kept on down the hall of international designers, and caught u with Bettye Mueller over some m+m’s. Loving her haircalf leopard flat with sweetheart cutout on the toe BTW. We had a laugh about jet lag + the cranky factor, and then I was off down the hall to check out Vanessa Bruno’s woman warrior inspired first full collection of footwear. Their first time at MICAM and the collection is looking fierce with a cone heeled, warrior sandal with chain that I was especially digging in red. The boot silhouettes were also quite aggressive and fun. You’ll see them for the first time next week when they show in Paris on the runway at her show.

Next, New Balance. Yes, New Balance. in the international designers hall. They just launched a collection of supple soft flats for the urban woman running about who wants a bit of downtown Nylon magazine style. Conceived by one of the designers and brand managers in Manchester, England, the collection was quite intriguing and represents quite an innovative take on the sport meets chic concept.

Down to Banfi Zambrelli where I nearly fainted at the aggressive python platform pumps with the turned up, almond shaped toe box. They have sample sizes in 8! what?! so I was actually able to try on shoes which was a little bit miss meg gone wild in a shoe heaven.

Met up with the CEO of Repetto briefly before jetting back to the hotel. They had some really wonderful colorways — red + green, and besides their wonderful flats, had a fab take on a hi heeled dancer shoe that is quite elegant in line.

In between all of this, there was a delicious pasta, amazing desserts, prosecco, and lots and lots of walking.

Back to the hotel to rest my stiletto weary legs, then out to the British Footwear Association showcase at Vivienne Westwood. I was starving and fortunately ran into the entire Terra Plana and Vivo posse — Ben, Damian, Galahad, as well as Ajoy, the CEO of Raddishme, a footwear design studio in China, who invited me along to dinner at Trattoria Toscana, a place that looks a bit like a store from the outside, but keep going back and back through a kitchen, and you happen upon a huge outdoor space dimly lit, fab music and even fabber (is that a word?) food. Cedric from United Nude held court at our table along with the head designer of Armani, who’s fab flat we headed back to after our meal for a roaring fire and more vino. . .

Check out the play by play on my Twitter.micam-graphicsminna

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