By Andrew Yamato
Although they’ve been a Mediterranean resort staple since at least the 1930s, espadrilles have really been having a moment over the past few years. Traditionally hand-made with rope soles and colorful canvas uppers, they perfectly embody casual elegance: rustic yet chic, wearable with everything from swimsuits to summer suits. Ideal on the pebble beaches of Capri, the beach grass of the Hamptons, or just knocking around the city on a summer afternoon.
Unfortunately those rope soles (made from esparto grass, from which the shoes derive their name), while sturdy, aren’t exactly cushy, and most espadrilles look a lot more comfortable than they feel as you’re padding down the sidewalk in a sizzling heatwave. It was therefore a very big day for Alan when, having stoically suffered for his lifelong love of espadrille style, he discovered the Escadrille brand at a small shop in Capri. Unlike traditional Spanish espadrilles, which put nothing but esparto between you and la tierra, this gallic variant adds a touch of orthopedic luxury with a leather outsole and — critically — a soft padded leather insole. The result is transformative: espadrille style with moccasin comfort. Still breezy, slightly beefier, in a host of styles for men and women.
Alan has become something of an apostle for these things, wearing them constantly, singing their praises to friends and clients, and featuring them in our summer lookbooks. He brings Jon and me a new pair every year when he returns from his annual European vacation, always in colorways bolder and more challenging than the last. (Red, white, and blue stripes too easy? Try blaze orange with electric green trim!) His own collection in Southampton is a well-ordered riot of colored canvas that long ago replaced brown suede as his summer shodding of choice.
Escadrille isn’t particularly well known in the States yet. Once upon a time, you might have needed to get yourself to France to find them. Today of course they have a website (a la Francais), and we’re told shipping to the US is imminent. If you’re in New York, you can also find them at 180 the Store in Tribeca. If you do give them a shot, we’d love to hear what you think!
More images from our lookbooks over the years: