N.B. Today, our dear friend, the always amusing Miss Cavendish, talks the espadrilles.
I became intrigued by espadrilles when I visited Cuba, a number of years ago.
There to experience the island’s university system, I spent an evening at the Hotel Armadores de Santander, a grand hotel in old Havana. In the morning, I opened the French doors that led to a pink-tiled deck overlooking the Malecón.
A previous guest had forgotten—or left behind—her sky-blue espadrilles; they sat contentedly under a table, all sun-and-salt-water bleached beauty.
What was so appealing about this humble mix of cotton canvas and jute? Exactly that: the simplicity of design, the thoughtful color, and the fact that the espadrilles had been much loved (or much worn, at the least; they were abandoned).
This spring, designers have been in a flurry as they reimagine the classic espadrille, with looks that range from pretty to the truly eccentric.
Here’s the “Tahiti espadrille pump” from Dior, which seems to be a fancy drink umbrella and shoe all in one;
The “cage” espadrille by Yves Saint Laurent;
Lanvin’s ballet-inspired “French” espadrille, in satin;
Kate Spade’s “Lido,” which conjures happy visions of bathing huts at the beach, or perhaps the stripes on Tadzio’s sweater in Death in Venice;
Tory Burch’s version, with her ubiquitous logo. If I could coin a portmanteau, I might call it toobiquitous;
Ralph Lauren’s winning platform ankle wrap in a neutral tobacco;
a classic picnic-blanket version from Castaner, the Spanish company that has been making espadrilles since 1927;
the Tamariu tie espadrilles, worn to spectacular effect by Penelope Cruz in Volver (remember the from-the-beneath-the-bed shot?);
and this curious inclusion from Bergdorf Goodman’s website. Made by Prada, this “espadrille” reflects neither the traditional espadrille materials nor design. I call it the “ugly ’drille-ing.” (It’s more macaw than swan, though.)
My favorite espadrille remains the classic model, made in either Spain or France, without embellishment—the kind that can be kicked off at the beach or worn in town.
Which model would gentle readers choose as the winner of their “Espy” award?