Expo Riva Schuh opened on January 14 with a debate titled E-commerce and the fashion and footwear market: what have we learned over the last decade?”. Moderated by Andrea Cabrini, Director of Class CNBC, Albert Antonini Mangia, Marketing Manager for Alibaba Italia, also took part to help outline an initial picture of the online sales experience in the Italian and international footwear sector.

According to the organisers, ‘flexibility’ is the key word, both in supply strategies and in the dynamic between producer and purchaser. “Every market has reacted in a different way, with different timescales to the development of e-commerce channels, and with many variables in terms of growth, targets and the age and type of consumer. One common factor, however, is the growth trend, which has not stopped”, says Giovanni Laezza, Managing Director of Riva del Garda Fierecongressi.

A total of 1,449 exhibitors, of whom 1,162 international, occupy a total of 32,715 sq m of net exhibition space, including collective pavilions from China, India, Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Indonesia, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Tunisia and Turkey.

Showcasing previews for Autumn/Winter 2017-18, the season shapes up with romantic touches as can be seen in the collections featuring soft and sumptuous velvets, 3-D embroideries and appliques, roses and bouquets all over, from boots to sneakers. A comeback to the glamourous ‘80s is introduced by the patent leather, sparkling, glittering and colourful powdery surfaces of classic moccasins, cuissard and ankle boots. Black dominates but both plain and decorated, while more comfortable footwear styles feature natural leathers and warm shades, such as burnt ochre, rust, soft pastels, cream, beige, candy pink and dove grey.

Among the urban stars, the new cuissard stands out; thigh high, skin tight, perforated, suedette, ripped or fringed denim, embroidered, patent-leather, even classic glitterand, black leather or nubuck, but also in natural tones. Another best seller reported during the trade fair is the lace-up ankle boot with moulded heel, ankle or knee high. New loafers are brought forth: square toe and mid heeled, often moulded. In terms of components, a variety of heights and materials are showcased at Expo Riva Schuh; from the high wooden or clear plexi heeled or gold sculpture-models, to sturdy flats for more street-style and sporty models.