Everyone is collaborating today bringing ideas together, especially in the fashion world. But one of the best and earliest collaborations for those of us that love fashion, took place in the early 70’s when Yves Saint Laurent met the Castañer‘s at a trade show in Paris. Yves Saint Laurent had wanted to create a satin espadrille with a 2″ platform and ankle strap.
Castañer, whose original family owned workshop dates back to 1776, had never made such an espadrille but understood the vision. Yves Saint Laurent commissioned them to make the first ever espadrille wedge heeled design, changing the course of history. From that moment on, the footwear was transformed from a common everyday shoe or a shoe for beach goers on summer holidays to a fashionable luxury item gracing the runways.
Espadrilles have been spotted on many fashionable feet over the years, but did you know that they had very humble beginnings?
The shoes have been made on both sides of the Pyrenees in France, Oc country and Spain, Catalonia since at least the 14th century, or 1300.
For centuries they were the work wear shoe for farmers, peasants and fisherman, even worn as standard issue military footwear for the Spanish infantrymen. Flat with canvas upper, jute wrapped heels and jute soles, similar to our versions today with the exception of our modernized rubber soles.
In the 1940’s, popularity of the espadrille shoe was waning, until Lauren Bacall appeared wearing the ankle tie version in the American film Key Largo creating a stir.
The espadrille went in and out of fashion into the 60’s.I was talking to some French friends who wore espadrilles while growing up. The shoes have always been unisex and they were telling me stories of growing up in the 60’s and 70’s wearing the flat jute soled style throughout the summer. They knew it was almost the end of holidays and time to go back to school when the soles of their espadrilles were tattered and worn through.
Today you can still find espadrilles made in the traditional way in endless styles and colors from flat to wedges and of course gracing the catwalks of many designers creating the “it” shoe season after season.
Here are just a few of the many available fun styles for Summer 2013~
Images courtesy of Pinterest. Headline image shot by Carly Tati
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