Named after “esparto” the woven rope used to make the iconic jute sole, espadrilles were first produced in the thirteenth century in the Catalonia and Occitania regions for the King of Aragon, who began outfitting his infantrymen with them. The shoes were lightweight, sturdy enough for hand-to-hand combat, and easy to replace.
Worn in Spain by everyone from priests to mineworkers, for the Catalan national dance, Sardana, in which dancers tied espadrilles to the shin with ribbons, and with all the resources needed to produce them so close at hand, espadrilles soon became the Spanish footwear of choice.
Over the next several hundred years, their popularity spread throughout Europe. By the eighteenth century an industry had also been established in Mauleon, France, where they began crafting the shoes’ uppers from cotton. Then, in the mid twentieth century they were popularized by cultural icons. Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Ernest Hemingway who all donned espadrilles during their time spent in the Mediterranean.
Stylish and easy to wear, the espadrille has now become an essential part of every woman’s summer wardrobe. Each season they can be seen on catwalks across the globe in very possible iteration, but there is only one five colour espadrille in the world and that is Alice X!