Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fashionable History: Espadrilles

Espadrilles are classic. These lightweight shoes made from linen or canvas with a rope or braided jute sole come from Spain and have been worn since before the 13th Century! Traditional espadrilles are handmade from Alpargateros, like the lady pictured above. The production of espadrilles quickly spread during that time and also became popular in France. They were worn by everyone from peasants, to military soldiers, to Priests!
In the 1950's and 60's espadrilles became more than just affordable and practical, they became fashionable. Yves St. Laurent special ordered espadrilles to be made with a heel, something that had never been done before. They were an instant hit and the fashion world hasn't given up on them yet! Now espadrilles can be found in the traditional handmade from Spain version ( I just bought a pair of red ones the other day!) or from a variety of shoe designers in all sorts of shapes and reinterpretations. I also have a pair of wedge heel cherry print ones with red ribbon ankle laces that I bought at Macy's a few years ago! Either way they make a stylish and comfortable summer shoe!
Picasso wore them! Love the stripes!

JFK wore them with ankle ties!

And the lovely Grace Kelly wore them!


Nancy said...

I have been thinking about adding espadrilles to my shoe collection for this season, so I just loved this post! Love the pic of JFK - who knew?!?

melina bee said...

as the history geek that I am, I looove this post. I remember being shocked to see slip on style espadrilles at the hearst castle this summer. While I don't like the tied up kind on dudes (sorry JFK or anyone, do what you feel like, but that is just my opinion), I really love espadrilles in the summer time and especially near sand and water.

Retro Chick said...

I used to have a gorgeous pair of wedge heel espadrilles.

They don't last long if you do a lot of walking though!