Here is something interesting from SZ:
This was an interesting, timely question, considering the implosion/explosion of the now-defunct Carpe Diem, the success of its offspring, and the time-flagrant but beautifully-judged, quietly-intense response from Maurizio Altieri.
For this writer, the ultimate refinement in footwear lay with Carpe Diem, but which carries through in amplified spades to Altieri's Avantindietro collection, sighted again in Paris in October. It is hard to imagine a more completely modern footwear statement - reduced as it is to a minimal leather form (soles carved away to next-to-nothing, the absence of seams/stitching, ultra-thin laces if any; the designs fluid, aerodynamic, anatomical.) Are these leather slippers, boots, shoes, runners, some kind of epiphany, some kind of footwear for the future? They are perhaps all of these, and the result of a designer's smouldering obsession with the reduction of footwear to a single leather form that is free of 'ridiculous' detail/production constraints. Well worth the wait.
Simone Cecchetto of Augusta, on the other hand, is obsessed by skin, and the life that the skin of your shoes might have beyond their point of sale. Augustas, a generally more rugged shoe, should not be treated in a precious, retentive way - they are to be worn, scarred, bashed - the joy of them is to be had with the 'seasons of their skin', the inequalities, the emergence, like the Shroud of Turin, on their different, weathered surfaces. Not to be overlooked is their facility for absolute comfort, once the 'artisinal idiosyncracies' and treatments have been broken down - the writer has walked for miles over Parisian cobbled streets in these boots and shoes, and swears by them. Simone, it should be noted, is also pushing his work with skins, with new, exotic developments in shark and stingray.
Guidi appear to generate their footwear from some intrinsic, Italian fundamentalism for leather and hide - your reaction, therefore, is likely to come from the gut and not necessarily the brain. As witnessed in Paris in October, the new, raw, range of bags and open-toed boots and shoes (a la sandles with substance) is strong and earthy, without excessive human intervention, and with an unforced sense of 'arte povera', created without heed to the market or any dictate of wank. For those wanting a more earthly attachment to modern/historic Italian soil, with the ability to create your own look, and without being dominated by overt design, Guidi appears to be the Jesus of Italian avante garde footwear - both a winner in price and tactile quality.
Carol Christian Poell: the dictator. Having broken in a pair of zip-up boots this last season the writer can attest to a relationship with the designer that is push-pull/fuck you, but which ultimately, perhaps surprisingly quickly, becomes devotional - as in 'I think I'm in love'. The first experience of a CCP shoe/boot can result in a head-scratching question: how does this shoe last relate to my foot? But successive wears and breaking in find the foot moulding the design and not the other way 'round, resulting in a comfort that is extra-ordinary, as natural as saliva in the mouth, and a visible ageing process of the skin which binds the wearer into a shared relationship. As with all things Poell, what is required of the purchaser/wearer, is the entering of a 'conversation' with the designer/artist, and the abandonment of the timidity which is, unfortunately, specifically male, and to be found consistently throughout these pages.