ACL’s chief trend correspondent Mr. Mordechai Rubinstein runs wild on the streets of Manhattan bringing the business.
Mort is back with photos of tasseled, kiltie and Belgian loafers. There is a interesting article from The New York Times discussing the history of the American tasseled loafer from 1993 which I excerpted below.
“Tasseled loafers so much evoke the elegant era of the 20’s that some clothing historians mistakenly believe they date from that time. They became popular, in fact, only in the post-World War II era.
The Alden Shoe Company in Middleborough, Mass., claims to have invented the shoe after World War II at the request of Paul Lukas, who was a well-known and debonair actor. Mr. Lukas, who appeared in films like “The Lady Vanishes” and “Watch on the Rhine,” asked custom shoemakers in New York and Los Angeles to devise a version of a shoe he had brought from Europe that had little fringed tassels on the ends of the laces.
The two shoemakers showed the design to the Alden company, which drastically modified it, using the tassels as ornaments on a moccasin-style shoe. The earliest tasseled loafers were two-toned (usually with white top panels), and they were originally popular in Hollywood. The classic style was first produced in 1952. In 1957, Brooks Brothers added a version of Alden’s shoe to its stores, fixing the tasseled loafer’s image as the shoe of the country-club set.
In the 60’s, when preppy style ran amok, many a tasseled loafer sat at the end of a leg covered with loud madras pants or, worse, trousers with little embroidered whales. Tassels had been used for centuries as ornaments on furniture and even saddles. When they sit on the top of a shoe, they resemble nothing so much as the carved radishes served at some old-fashioned restaurants.
The evolution of “tassled loafer” as a pejorative term for “lawyer” is unclear, but it may have to do with the notion that a man who wears little useless ornaments has, if you will, effete feet.
The top-of-the-line Alden shoe is made from shell cordovan, an especially rich-looking horsehide leather that undergoes a special vegetable tanning process that takes up to a year. The cordovan shoe, usually burgundy-colored, costs anywhere from $315 to $345 a pair (Paris shops sell the shoes for upward of $500 a pair). The classic Brooks Brothers version has distinctive stitching on the back and sells for $345.” Read the entire article here.