Boots Rise to the Occasion as Accessories

Designers in Milan, Paris, New York and Los Angeles agree on at least one thing: Tall boots are the newest accessory of the fall season. Thigh-high or just to the knee, they make very short skirts and winter-weight shorts all the more sophisticated and modern for day and evening.

Milan's Gianni Versace, Paris-based Karl Lagerfeld and New Yorker Donna Karan showed the new boots, as well as ankle-high models.

Luxury is the predominant medium in silky soft suede in a revolution of colors as well as earthbound neutrals. Suedes are so supple that they drape slightly on the leg like a cozy legging. Heels can be flat; raised an inch or two in square, chunky shapes, or even higher in Cubist, sculptured silhouettes. Details, including buckles and gauntlet tops, are subtle touches. Toe shapes are mostly tapered or squared with an elongated shape that makes for a sleek silhouette. Other surfaces--including shiny patent leather, glove leather and tapestries--are sometimes mixed with suede.

Evening boots are opulent. Metallic leathers shine, and some are embellished with a king's ransom in glittery stones, embroidery and tassel treatments. Fabrics have active night lives in rich jewel tones of emerald, amethyst, sapphire and ruby.

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