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Getting the ‘Drille | Manolo's Shoe Blog

Getting the ‘Drille

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?

8 Responses to “Getting the ‘Drille”

  1. La Larson March 18, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    Oooh, I love that Ralph Lauren espadrille. Also, couldn’t agree more about Tory Burch, toobiquitous is exactly right.

  2. klee March 18, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    The classics are classic for a reason-the two spanish ones are perfection! The great thing about them is the perfect balance of casual and chic. love!

  3. Glinda March 18, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    Love, love, love the one from Castaner!

  4. Belle de Ville March 18, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

    With summer coming up soon this is the perfect post.
    I would love a pair of those Lanvin ballet espadrilles.

  5. ChaChaheels March 19, 2011 at 9:12 am #

    That Prada number reminds me of what we used to call “Pepsi” shoes, back in the seventies: layers of thick foam stacked to make a high wedge platform, often in different colours, then cut out to form the sole of the shoe. Later, they used this design to make platform flip flops. I think that says it all.

  6. klee March 20, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    p.s. on the espys: Tom’s has some cute wedge espys (I ordered the red ones at nordstroms)you get cute shoes, and with their ‘one for one’ charity, a child in need gets a pair for every one you buy.


  7. Miss Eliza Wharton March 21, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    What a pleasant thing to think about when waiting for the Spring to kick in for good…

    I quite like the Kate Spades, for a perfectly graphic reinterpretation of the slightly unhappy geometry of the classic (as seen in the Lanvins).

    But my heart belongs to one of the Diors, although not the one you chose: I’d rather go with these.

  8. Rubiatonta March 21, 2011 at 10:11 pm #

    Querida Miss Cavendish,

    As I’m sure The Manolo would confirm, the feetswear from Spain are known there (and probably in Cuba, too), as “alpargatas.” It isn’t summer without at least one new pair, and since I’m leaving for Madrid tomorrow, I am muy agradecida that you reminded me to leave room in my suitcase to bring a pair back.

    Then again, it snowed today in the environs of Casa Rubi. I may be rushing things a bit.