In the Market Report: Espadrilles & More

Let Me Show You The ‘Ropes’

Grace Kelly

It still feels like winter, but if you want to instantly get that easy, laid back vacation vibe more commonly associated with spring and summer, all you need to do is simply switch from heavy boots and leather soled pumps, to rope soled espadrilles (though, not in the rain of course). Espadrilles date back to Spain in the 1300s, and they were originally a working class shoe, made of strong and cheap materials like rope and jute. They became popular in other countries (and amongst other people than peasants), but really gained ‘cool’ status when worn by the likes of Pablo Picasso, Audrey Hepburn, and Grace Kelly in the 20th century.

Chanel ivory and black canvas

The list of fashion icons who have long embraced this chic, timeless and unisex wardrobe staple goes on and on, and for good reason. They look great in town or country, and of course, at the beach (whether your beach of choice is the South of France, Southampton, or, er, South Jersey). And now that low heels, and especially flats, are having their ‘moment’ (even die hard high heel aficionados are succumbing to the comfort and ease that flats provide), they are practically ubiquitous and being offered in dizzying incarnations.

 Celine leopard printed espadrilles

That being said, there are two specific styles that from my point of view, simply cannot be improved upon and have become classics: the Chanel slip on in white, ivory, or tan, with its signature black cap toe (first introduced a few years ago, and offered in canvas or leather); and Phoebe Philo’s Celine leopard printed calf hair slip on from spring summer 2013. While alas, these exact pieces may not be available right now (unless you are lucky enough to find them), there are currently many wonderful re interpretations which are readily available at a range of prices.

Tory Burch

Channeling Chanel: Jeffrey Campbell’s “Atha” leather espadrille in ivory or nude with black cap toe, $134.95, ; the ivory Tory Burch “Catalina” espadrille with black cross cross front, $125,

Manebi Accra pony leopard printed double sole espadrilles

Seeing ‘spots’: Jeffrey Campbell’s “Abides” giant leopard printed calf hair espadrille, $149.95,; Elyse Walker’s Los Angeles calf hair espadrille, $395,; Manebi Accra’s leopard printed calf hair espadrilles, $145 and $185, and ; Ralph Lauren’s  Denim & Supply Emery ocelot printed flat canvas espadrille, $59; Ralph Lauren’s leopard printed canvas lace up espadrille, $250, (which is also available in zebra),

And speaking of zebra, a zebra stenciled calf hair trench from the 70’s; a cropped  camel mouton jacket from the 50’s with an amazing shape (it reminded me of something Marc Jacobs showed for fall 2014); a Dorothy Bis long black wool shawl trimmed with playful red knit pom poms from the 80’s; a pair of red patent leather Roger Vivier flats with a silver buckle and silver heel (date unknown but they are always objects of desire – just take a look at Ines de la Fressange); a  Lanvin charcoal gray wool jersey ‘Goddess” dress from fall 2005 that is short in front and has a train in the back; a mini white glazed wicker trunk bag with distinctive gold hardware from the 50’s (which resembles some of the structured bags Nicolas Guesquiere showed for on his freshman fall winter 2014 Louis Vuitton collection); a Comme des Garcons red leather minimalistic structured bag. These are the things I bought at two vintage shows (that for the first time, overlapped) this past weekend.

The Manhattan Vintage show (held at the Metropolitan Pavillion), , was held on Friday and Saturday, and The Pier Antiques Show (at Pier 94), was on Saturday and Sunday. The consensus of opinion, from both dealers and customers I spoke with, was that it would have been far better to hold these two popular shows on different weekends, as it sort of muddied the waters, and was a bit confusing and distracting. But on a cool, rainy weekend, it was nonetheless a fun way to kill time (and of course, browse and shop) with my partner in ‘crime’: friend and Washington D.C. based vintage dealer Madge Novel (Madge Novel Vintage.Modern). We have toyed around with the idea of going into business (keep posted). At this point, I am really not looking for anything in particular, but I am always hunting, especially if something really grabs my attention, and it’s the serendipity aspect that holds such an enormous appeal. You never know what you will find. FYI, I won’t tell you what I paid, but suffice it to say, in each case it was far less than retail.

By the way, I did spot inveterate collectors and Vogue contributors Lynn Yaeger and Hamish Bowles at The Pier show on Saturday, and I could not resist grilling Hamish about Vogue’s controversial April cover featuring Kimye. He broke into a broad smile and said, “It has certainly gotten people talking” (I am sure all the Vogue editors are used to being asked about this by now, since it is such a hot topic). Naturally, I was hoping to get some ‘dirt’. You know, maybe he would admit that some of the seasoned editors, like Grace Coddington, (who I would assume are more into the art than the commerce side of things), actually stormed out of the Vogue offices upon hearing Anna’s idea. But alas, that was not the case. Quite the opposite. Hamish, who got up close and personal with Kimye, and wrote the accompanying piece, said that “Kim actually won everyone over” as she could not have been “nicer”. When I pointed out that she had no reason not to be nice (after all, she is finally getting her wish), he retorted, “yes, but she didn’t have to be”. He also told me that Grace Coddington really wanted to style the Annie Liebovitz shoot. Which she did, I might add. Working her usual magic, she made Kim look about as chic and elegant as could be.

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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