I’ve been seeing these woven beauties everywhere and apparently they’re called ‘espadrilles’, although Google makes it hard to pin down exactly what they are… Are they a flat? A wedge? A heel? How do you even pronounce ‘espadrille’ and why is the shop assistant looking at me like I’ve ordered an armadillo?
Needing to know more about this rare gift from the foot gods, I dug deep into online annals (Wikipedia) and discovered that this versatile alternative to trainers and high heels and maybe even slippers, originated as ‘peasant’ footwear in the Spanish Pyrenees and also (FYI) is pronounced ‘espa’ ‘drille.’
We love a good tale of rags to riches and espadrilles have definitely come a long way from their 13th century origins as sturdy work-wear for farmers and fishermen in French occupied Catalan; notably worn by King Aragon’s infantry.
OK so they might get our feet through a night on the town, but could turn-of-the-century Spanish military uniform ever be outwear appropriate? It seems dubious, but then who am I to argue with Grace Kelly? Decorating the pads of the 50’s siren catapulted the flax-woven footwear to the ranks of the a’la mode and the journey didn’t end there. Espadrilles found their way to our hearts with TOMS ‘One to One’ Campaign – donating a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair you buy.
This summer they are everywhere. It was clear that the espadrille was destined for great things when Moncler Gamme Rouge featured them in his 50’s holiday inspired S/S2013 collection, then Tory Birch, Missoni and Stella McCartney followed suit. Valentino’s Pop Pois give the century-old design a dotty makeover while Louboutin does deck-glam with a clean white and blue sailor stripe design and gold CL embellishment.
Oh how far the espadrille has come from its humble beginnings. Celebs lucky enough to live somewhere that is already in summer, have adopted them as a wardrobe staple. Always ahead of the style curve, Alexa Chung wears her black wedged espadrilles to girlie-up denim dungarees, and skirts, and jeans, and dresses and… actually she doesn’t ever seem to leave the house without them! Who can blame her? Kate Bosworth rocks it all-American in white flats while Eva Mendes does chica bonita in a stacked heel.
From the armies of Catalan to the high-street near you! (Now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d say.) If you’re not living in the spending realms of Louboutin, these are my high street faves … and the Valentino pair… because they are amazing.
Russell & Bromley -
R-Broms do it again! Solely responsible for inspiring my shoe binges since 2003 (the year I got a credit card.) Love the crew twist of the gold buckle, team with white ankle-grazers, a sweater round your shoulders and some Jackie-O shades.
Valentino Pop Pois
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Not the British kind, the kind where there’s a beach involved and potentially cocktails. I could easily wear these with overalls a’la Alexa or white shorts for the Italian look. Bellissima.
Ooooh, slingbacks! I’ve definitely had enough of carrying blister plasters around with me everywhere, helooo comfy alternative to sandals. And neon too! Chuck on some denim shorts, a graphic tee and baseball cap to complete the look.
They come in just about every colour you can think of and for every pair you buy, a pair is donated to a child in need. Share the love!
Mail order only but these denim espadrilles are hot! Do double denim and throw on a plain white tee. Casual squared!