Also known as Alpargata or Alpercata, it is a type of shoe made with rope soles (braided with jute, sisal or raffia) or rubber that is attached to the foot by a strip of fabric or leather.

It has an Arab origin, and once had a social nature to it, since it was representative of the social class of those who wore it. In the past it was all made by hand, but with the arrival of the industrial revolution it started to be made by machines.

After being introduced in Spain and France, the Alpercata started to be know as Espardrille and to be used by fishermen and soldiers. In South America, it first arrived in Uruguay and Argentina and soon afterwards it came to Brazil through the Brazilian Factory of Espadrilles and Shoes. In 1960, Yves Saint Laurent developed the first heeled Espadrille.

Espadrilles by Chanel.

The use of espadrilles are predominant in the summer, but in places like Brazil, that are in the southern hemisphere and near the equator,  it can be used all year round.

A trend during the 1980s, nowadays the Espadrille has returned, noting the various models launched by different brands of shoes, especially the Havaianas brand.

Initially it was a shoe for men of low social class, today it is used by both men and women and has won versions of famous brands, such as the aforementioned YSL and Chanel.

On the cover we can see a model from the brand Toms and below models from the brands Havaianas, Bottero and Bebecê.

Espadrille by Havaianas.
Espadrilles by Bottero (nº7) and Bebecê (nº 8 and 9).

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Bibliography: Callan, Georgina O’Hara; Enciclopédia da moda de 1840 à década de 90 / Georgina O’Hara Callan ; verbetes brasileiros Cynthia Garcia : tradução Glória Maria de Mello Carvalho, Maria Ignez França – São Paulo : Companhia das Letras, 2007.

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