Espadrillas are shoes traditionnaly considered as spanish, but first records about are linked to Mauleon, a town situated in the north-west of France. The word espadrillas, in spanish, or espadrilles, using the french version, derives from espadrenya. Espardrenya is a plant, wich is used for fabricating the soles, typical feature of those shoes.
Their origin dates back to a long time ago: it is believed that first espadrillas began to be manifactured around 1800, despite rumors claim that already during the Roman period prototypes of this well known footwear were present. In Mouleon espadrillas production officially starts around 1850. Indigenous workers and farmers wore them for their comfort and durability. Breaking strength and practice are doubtless qualities that contributed to their fame: they are light but strong as well, ideal for summer because of their being cotton made, as it ensures breathability. The manufacturing system of espadrillas is quite easy: a unique cutted piece, generally cotton, is sewn to the sole, obtained from a wild plants, the “sparto”, wich grows around the Pirenei’s area.
The simple and chic aspect, combined with strength and comford attract the fashion system’s interest. In 60s espadrillas were worn by hippies. But in the same years was not so hard to see the same shoes worn by Brigitte Bardot or princess Grace Kelly.
In the beginning of 70s moniseur Yves Saint Laurent began a partnership with Castañer, the most famous espadrillas producer, who became a kind of espadrillas supplier for the French brand. The firs collaboration with YSL opened the doors of the fashion system for Castañer wich numbers among his collaboration the most prestigious luxury brand, as Hermés or Christian Louboutin.
During the 80s espadrillas were in vogue as a beach shoe all over Europe. Last years have recorded a new interest for espadrillas. Valentino as well as Chanel insert espadrillas in their collection. Espadrillas are playing a central role in Loewe’s progect Best Hands of Spain as well, which celebrates craftmanship all over Spain.