AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 ICONIC ITEMS - ESPADRILLES

Is there a shoe that comes close to the espadrille: a universal, inexpensive shoe that is utterly fit for purpose and yet still manages to conjure its own, inimitable, sense of style? Modern contenders (as opposed to pretenders) might include Crocs or, reaching further back and, perhaps, especially for those in the UK, ‘Doc’ Martens. Yet, compared with the espadrille, these are veritable ‘Johnny come lately’ entrants in the contest to find a completely iconic shoe for everyone.
 

It May Be Trendy, But The Origins Of Espadrilles Are Ancient
Well, ancient, depending on your definition, might be a slight exaggeration, but the espadrille is certainly medieval and can trace its lineage as far back as the 13th century. The shoes are Catalan and Basque in origin, originating in the hill country of Pyrenees; the name actually comes from the espart plant used to fashion the soles. In the Middle Ages espadrilles were worn by everyone from priests, to soldiers and there was even a special version specifically for dancers.
Over the centuries their popularity spread throughout Europe, so that by the time the Second World War had finished, they were turning up adorning the feet of Hollywood stars like Rita Hayworth and Lauren Bacall, whilst it would have been almost surreal to see Salvador Dali pottering about without his simple, plain black examples.

 

The 1970s And The Espadrille Gets A Re-Boot!
Even the most ubiquitous fashion icon can fall out of favour from time to time. So it was for the espadrille in the middle part of the 20th century. However, you can’t keep a real icon down and fittingly enough, it was another fashion icon, in the elegant form of Yves Saint Laurent, that rode to the rescue of the espadrille. Saint Laurent, in conjunction with the Spanish manufacturer, Castañer, practically re-invented it for the 1970s and, sporting a wedged heel, the espadrille was born again!
And it didn’t stop there. In the 80s the classic espadrille was back with a bang. Think of cult police drama, Miami Vice, and, aside from those padded jackets and the ‘mullets,’ you’ll also notice a high espadrille count. Similarly, in the world of pop, the dance moves in Wham videos were invariably accomplished whilst wearing a pair of espadrilles.

 

The Ultimate Deck Shoe - Or Something ‘Glam’ For A Beach Party?
Today the espadrille is, if anything, more popular than it has ever been. And, if you’re looking to put the finishing touches to your cruise wardrobe, then you’re unlikely to regret finding space for a pair of espadrilles when you’re planning what to put in your cruise luggage. But why stop at one pair?
Granted, a standard espadrille makes a great deck shoe being lightweight and decidedly ‘grippy’ – perfect if you’re heading via the pool to another part of the ship – but these days espadrilles can be a glamorous alternative that are perfect for beach parties or even more formal nights on board. If you have a few hundred pounds to spend you could even splash out on a Gucci pair!

 

What’s The Perfect Souvenir Or ’Bargain-Buy’ On Your Next Med’ Cruise….?
You’ve guessed it, a pair of espadrilles will surely fit the bill! If you’re cruising to or from Barcelona then you’ll be spoilt for choice as regards buying a pair of espadrilles, whether you spy a pair walking along Las Ramblas or you head into the city to a traditional store like La Manual Alpargatera, you’ll be taking home something authentic and useful and rather stylish!