When she presented her two-tone slingbacks in 1957, Coco Chanel had every faith in her work, famously describing them as "the height of elegance". But the secret of this ultra-flattering shoe, created at the time by her friend Massaro, the shoemaker, are its proportions: calculated to the millimetre, they include a black toe that shortens the foot (and doesn't show the dirt) and a beige upper that lengthens the leg. What's more, the two-tone shoe can be coordinated with an endless number of outfits and worn in all circumstances, from morning to night.
Reinterpreted over the years by Karl Lagerfeld and various other fashion houses, these timeless shoes have also inspired the Deux Tons boot, a mid-season classic that has stood the of time, based on the same design template. It is precisely this two-colour staple that designers have chosen to highlight for the Autumn/Winter 2019 season.
But rather than resting on its laurels and faithfully reproducing the winning formula from the famous French designer, the fashion scene has reinvented the design for a new take on this classic shoe. Playing with materials and textures, this season the famous shoe features an ultra-rich and intricate design, enough to steal the limelight from the rest of our accessories. At Reike Nen, they are adorned with quilted and braided leather inserts while at Chanel, they are dressed in shearling for a cosy après-ski look.
There's a change to the colour too, with labels like By Far switching up the sacrosanct beige-black combination, and Taoray Wang and the Paris Texas designers who have added metallic touches for an edgier take on an otherwise sensible piece.
This season, it's all about shaking up the rules. And though fashion is constantly
changing, it certainly loves a classic, and its children are rarely as celebrated as when they successfully reinterpret and reinvent its most traditional designs. While more conventional wearers will probably team the two-tone boots with floaty dresses and skirts, others will opt for a timeless denim, ideal for creating a younger look. There is one golden rule: opt for a shorter and - if possible - slightly distressed garment to highlight this elegant shoe, and embrace the contrast between its sophisticated design and a more laid-back look.
Whatever the preference, given that boots are generally experiencing something of a resurgence this season, expect to see this accessory at the heart of various looks during Autumn/Winter 2019. Whether wide or fitted, with a high or low heel, in leather or suede, ankle or knee-length, the boot forms the basis of seventies-inspired looks by labels from Celine to Chloe, to Tory Burch and Saint Laurent. All you have to do is find your muse.