A Cut Above: Handcrafting Espadrilles in Just Five Hours
Did you know that espadrilles are a Spanish invention? It was the Castañer brand, in the seventies, helmed by Isabel and Lorenzo Castañer. During a Paris fair, they met Yves Saint Laurent, who asked them to make a wedge espadrille. “If Yves Saint Laurent wanted a wedge espadrille, a wedge espadrille he would have!” Lorenzo Castañer said back then.
It’s shoemaker and shoe junkie Natalio Martin who reminds me of this anecdote. Natalio, who regularly organizes interesting workshops to learn how to make shoes, is now preparing “Savage Espadrilles.” With Pablo Salvaje, a stamping specialist, he has prepared a complete five-hour DIY class to teach the process behind a pair of printed artisanal espadrilles. Pablo will explain stamp techniques to create a unique pattern for the fabric. Later, Natalio will share all his knowledge of the process to cut, sew, and assemble the espadrille. The team behind The Crafty Days blog documented the process on their Web site and have shared some pictures of this amazing experience. Can you imagine anything better than creating your own pair of artisanal espadrilles in five hours?
Natalio, who has also been working closely with emerging fashion designers producing shoes for their shows, represents a new generation of shoe designers and artisans who are rediscovering the pleasure of working with their hands and updating our traditional heritage.
Now that brands such as Chanel, Valentino, and even Alexander Wang are proposing luxury versions of the traditional espadrille this summer, young brands such as Naguisa, Lika Mimika, or Mint & Rose seduce us with their upgraded versions: new colors, new textures, and even new shapes. If you want to know more, I wrote two articles about this last year, in it:, here and here.
And I can’t finish without mentioning Barcelona’s temple of espadrilles: La Manual Alpargatera. This shop and atelier, which was founded in the forties, is the must-visit spot to get the most authentic and original espadrilles. Penélope Cruz, Jean Paul Gaultier, Ralph Lauren, and Tyra Banks have been there to try their espadrilles. With local prices, you will find a wide range of styles, shapes, and sizes (kids’ and baby espadrilles are adorable!).
Ideas to wear them? I will just add: type into Google Images: “Alexa Chung espadrilles.”
Photos: Lydia Cazorla; Courtesy of Manual Alpargatera