The Summer Sandals of the Season: French Espadrilles
While certain celebrities may come and go, there are some things that stay the same, summer after summer, in the French Riviera. Sit at a shore-side café along the coast for an afternoon pick-me-up and you’ll quickly catch a time-honored trend walking by. Queue the espadrille.
The Origin of French Espadrilles
Like other iconic fashion items, such as the Breton striped shirt, the espadrille flaunts a page in the sartorial history book. The espadrille was originally made thousands of years ago in the Pyrenees mountains to be a highly-functional, utilitarian sandal for soldiers and priests. Espadrilles are made of a braided hemp sole that comfortably molds to the shape of the foot, and are covered with a linen upper to keep feet cool in the summer. It wasn’t until the 1940s, when the sandal gained a few ribbons at the ankle, that women began to wear them. After all, if Hollywood starlets were seen on the shores of the French Riviera in this stylish footwear, everyone wanted to join in on the beachy trend. In the 1960s, the espadrille was again remodeled by the hands of designer Yves Saint Laurent. In a bold and innovative manner, he did something no designer had ever done before – he added a wedged heel.
Why the French Espadrille Will Never Go Out of Style
Fashion trends are always changing, but what makes the espadrille a French classic? Not only did a mid-century reinvention keep the sandal fresh and relevant, but the versatility of the espadrille also results in a steady demand. Women pair the flat sandal with anything from a casual swimsuit cover-up at the beach to a short black shift dress back in the city. In many ways, the espadrille epitomizes French style itself. French style is so much more than that repeated list of staples: black skinny jeans, an expertly tied scarf, a striped tee… true French style has historical heft, is regionally appropriate, and above all serves as a platform for personality.
In our upcoming box, Vol.4.4, you’ll be receiving your own pair of authentic French espadrilles from Payote. Subscribe today to choose your size and color!