All hail the Stan Smith. Thanks to some clever marketing and Phoebe Philo‘s unofficial endorsement, Adidas’s classic style — which relaunched in January after a three-year hiatus — has been the must-have accessory of Fall 2014 Fashion Month. But its popularity has certainly peaked in Paris, where approximately one in five showgoers are clad in the white leather sneaker. (That number is totally made up, but I’m confident it’s right on point.) And while Stan Smiths were definitely a “fashion girl” obsession in New York, London and Milan — see Elle.com for documentation — we’ve noticed lots of non-industry women and men in Paris also wearing the style. In New York, they were a fashion thing. In Paris, they are just a thing.
Of course, the majority of Parisians are well aware of the fashion force that is Philo — who most credit with the Stan Smith’s sartorial rise. (She wore them on the runway at the end of one of her shows in 2010.) But it’s more than that. “We also like them because they’re the most pared down kind of sneaker there is,” says Alice Pfeiffer, a fashion writer at French magazine l’Express Styles, who has been wearing a pair all week. “They feel, almost look and can be styled like regular flat lace-ups. So while sneakers are back in trend, it’s a little harder to wear crazy Air Max in elegant Paris than the casual Stan Smith.”
Stan Smiths front row at Cedric Charlier. From the Instagram of Marie Claire France's fashion editor Leïla Naït.
The trainers also happen to fit nicely into the “normcore” trend, which the Internet has been fawning over for the past week. After years of dressing up for street style photographers, editors are taking comfort in not having to think so much about what they’re wearing. “There seems to be a current uniform in Paris fashion, which is: oversized coat, beanie hat and Stan Smiths,” Pfeiffer says. “[It] can be seen on French Grazia editors and in Julien David shows, but also on Caroline de Maigret, and sure, Phoebe Philo. Like an urban twist on Céline.”
Want to make like the French and get your hands on a pair of Stan Smiths? Good news: while there’s a momentary scarcity, the shoe is set to be released more widely later on the spring when it’s actually warm and dry enough to wear them.