Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Simon Says: Tie me up -- Espadrilles are back!

You know me by now. Beret-wearer and confirmed francophile. And now comes the word that Simon Doonan, yes, he of Barney's fame—has declared from on high (well, OK. maybe not exactly from on high—but in his new column in the New York Observer!) that espadrilles are back for spring! Espadrilles! One of the few shoes that I can readily wear (and, which can be shaped to one's own foot with the help of a healthy dousing or two of water!). The be-ribboned shoe that makes me feel like a ballerina. Ooooo la la!

As Simon says: "This week, a new and contentious topic caused our little debating hall to vibrate with dissension. I suspect the same topic is raging around water coolers all over Manhattan. The burning issue du jour? No, not the Iraqi elections.


"The espadrille—the great white hope of the fashion industry for 2005—is about to hit stores. Last fall it clomped, in various styles and incarnations, down the spring runways of everyone from Marc Jacobs to Liz Lange. Here’s the burning question: Are they chic and bohemian and summery? Or are they ugly and retarded and orthopedic, and already so overhyped that you simply want to puke?

"The Barneys gals were firmly divided down the middle, the pros and cons raging with equal ferocity. I found myself unable to settle the issue. For once, I was genuinely at a loss for a bombastic opinion. My experience of espadrilles is quite limited: They are one of the few women’s shoe styles which I myself have never worn.

"In desperation I called an opinionated friend, actress and style sage Kelly Lynch, and asked her to weigh in. Kelly spoke to me from the set of Showtime’s The L Word. (If you haven’t experienced her smoldering and nuanced portrayal of Ivan the drag king, I suggest you rectify the situation immediately.) She took time out from her feverish thespian lesbianism and let rip.

" 'O.K., here’s the deal,' said Kelly, who still manages to look just as super-cool and sassy as she did in Drugstore Cowboy (1989). 'Espadrilles are fab for about a week and then they get all ratty, and then they stink like Bob Guccione’s waterbed.'

"Kelly feels, and rightly so, that the treacherous allure of the espadrille comes from the fact that not everyone can pull it off: 'That’s what makes ’em so damn chic. To look really good in espadrilles, you must possess elegant feet, trim ankles and a house in the South of France.' Voila!"

Simon Doonan is a very nice guy and the author of Confessions of a Window Dresser and Wacky Chicks: Life Lessons from Fearlessly Inappropriate and Fabulously Eccentric Women.

You can get your fill of espadrilles for women, men, AND children at much less than Barneys prices by visiting Espadrilles Etc.