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Thursday, April 28th 2011

Raffia Sandals: A Love Story

Before I found a pair of vintage Ferragamo spectator pumps on a lonely thrift store shelf, I had interacted with shoes in a purely functional way—I had utilitarian ballet flats, a handful of flat sandals, and a pair of Hunter boots for those days when nothing else would do.

Those gateway pumps changed the entire lay of the land, and now I’m in the grips of a shoe obsession. As luck would have it, one of spring’s most notable footwear trends, the raffia sandal, harkens back to my first great shoe love. Along with his other genius invention, the wedge heel, Ferragamo was the first to create high-fashion shoes from raffia during a leather shortage in World War II. While raffia had been used on utilitarian espadrilles, Ferragamo was the first to use the rough-and-ready material on delicate heels and feminine sandals.

I know you didn’t ask, but let’s pretend you did: which ones are my favorites? There’s a ravishing pair of Sam Edelman pumps with an oh-so vintage Navajo print that stole my heart, and, as always, all Diane von Furstenberg sandals and Jean-Michel Cazabat heels are to me as Kryptonite is to Superman.


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