Time-honoured heritage meets irresistible modernity at Espadril. The quintessential summer shoes that have been worn by Jackie Onassis, Grace Kelly and Sophia Loren. We are seriously in love with this brand.
Just over a year ago, South African Rizqah Isaacs and Spanish Patricia Terre started making these timeless Meditteranean shoes at their studio in Bree Street in the heart of the city, giving it an African twist. “Espadril makes authentic Spanish espadrilles entirely by hand. Each pair is stitched according to centuries-old traditional methods and given ‘local flavour’ with interesting designs and beautiful fabrics. We like to think of ourselves as 21st century artisans,” says Isaacs.
Valenciana, their most popular style, for instance, has espadrille’s trademark woven rope backs and ankle laces. This summer they are adding leather laces and backs to give it not only an African element but to allow women to wear the normally carefree style away from the beach too.
This departure from the normal seaside styles echoes the latest international trends that have seen espadrilles stepping out on the 2016 resortwear runways with Stella McCartney showing embroidered denim slingbacks, Jimmy Choo choosing rich embellishments and Alexander Wang going his own way with black jute soles. Even Christian Louboutin showed espadrilles, preferring exotic toile with a jungle design for his slip-ons.
In general, we play with different uppers and have, for example, several beautiful embroidered styles as well as ones with nautical stripes and others with interesting frayed details. We both love beautiful things and draw inspiration from a very instinctive place. We are very different, though, and both of us have strong personalities – this shows in our work, says Terre.
All Espadril’s materials too are a happy marriage of authentic soles and cotton uppers from Spain while the leather and other materials are produced in South Africa. The designers’ personalities come through especially in the Mediterranean range that combines the typical natural colours associated with espadrilles (Isaacs’ influence) with bright, hot colours (Terre’s influence).
Although espadrilles have non-negotiable elements – woven jute soles, the shape of the uppers – Espadril has a wide range of options. “We pride ourselves on having created a line where a woman can come to buy a denim pair for herself and leave with a beautiful camel pair from the Mediterranean collection for her mom and an orange suede slider for her grandmother. Our shoes can really be worn by anyone under the sun,” says Terre.
As people become increasingly mobile, travel and escape are on the up. Fashion is therefore focusing on resortwear, which is less about trends and more about everyday wear. We don’t design for jetsetters, though, but for everyone who appreciates weekend wear and enjoys stepping out of the office into a cool, laid-back setting,” the duo says.
This summer will see the introduction of new tie-dyed styles but clients who still cannot find the perfect pair are welcome to choose from the huge selection of fabrics and three sole options: a thin sole, the thicker, traditional sole and a double platform. Espadril’s team will then make it by hand and have your pair ready over a period of a few days.
Prices range from R600 to R800 per pair, excluding shoes designed for collaborations such the ones created for PICHULIK’s SS16 capsule clothing collection. Espadril’s espadrilles are available from Superbalist from October or their Cape Town store at 100 Bree Street from September 2016.
Keep an eye out for the new designs for Espadril’s SS17 collaboration with PICHULIK coming in October 2016!
Espadril store: 100 Bree Street, Cape Town