Mister Mort Trend Report | Tasseled Loafers | A Continuous Lean.

Mister Mort Trend Report | Tasseled Loafers

Jul 15th, 2009 | Categories: Footwear, Mister Mort Trend Report | by Michael Williams

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.

Tassels_17

“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.

Comments: 14

14 Comments to “Mister Mort Trend Report | Tasseled Loafers”

  1. STREETETIQUETTE
    on Jul 15th, 2009
    @ 3:19 PM

    Mistor Mort is telling the truth here the re-emmergence of the tassled loafer has begun. I myself have been looking for some great quality shoes and it looks like I will be going with Alden.

    Good post.

  2. llywarch
    on Jul 15th, 2009
    @ 3:26 PM

    Such a fascinating article. Had a few pairs back in the early 80′s. Most, if not all where identical to the pair on the cover of Dance Craze – http://img200.imageshack.us/img200/6032/dancecraze5979979.jpg
    A soundtrack to my teenage years…

  3. Eric
    on Jul 15th, 2009
    @ 3:29 PM

    I have about 15 pairs of tasseled loafers now. Many were inherited from my father, some were purchased on eBay. They are the best.

  4. Matthew Klein
    on Jul 15th, 2009
    @ 3:37 PM

    Great, read, I love Alden, I cant wait to see the full collection at Men’s Collective this coming week.

  5. tons of land
    on Jul 15th, 2009
    @ 4:43 PM

    have you seen this phenomenal video on horween cordovan posted a couple months ago?

    http://vimeo.com/4814754

  6. jerry231
    on Jul 15th, 2009
    @ 5:25 PM

    hideous, sorry

  7. jerry231
    on Jul 15th, 2009
    @ 5:29 PM

    I mean come on, it just sucks the cool right out of ya.

  8. ak
    on Jul 16th, 2009
    @ 10:37 AM

    A little late with this story don’t you think? All over Italy two years ago, and once you see stores like Top Shop selling them you know it is time to move on.

    That being said I appreciate that all these classic American inspired styles have returned to the spotlight. I don’t appreciate their over saturation though. I’ve seen enough hipsters in the chambray shirt, rolled up khakis, tassled loafers, Wayfarers or Persols with some form of Filson inspired bag to realize the American Authentic look is a bit done.

  9. Michael Williams
    on Jul 16th, 2009
    @ 10:39 AM

    AK,

    Can you help us identify the next trend then please? I’m sure you see it walking the halls of Edelman all day.

    ACL

  10. steppytwo
    on Jul 16th, 2009
    @ 12:49 PM

    Does anyone know the brand of shoes for the pair pictured in the middle of the last row (the brown velvet ones)? They look like stubbs and wooten but i am not sure.

    thanks

  11. ak
    on Jul 16th, 2009
    @ 1:40 PM

    Michael,

    Unfortunately we’re not as trendy as some of the other firms, especially here in the corporate group, but I’ll take a walk down to consumer to see what they have cooking.

    Big fan of your site, think you’ve done a lot of good bringing classic style back into the mainstream. Just not a fan of those taking it way too far only to dump it and move on to the next thing.

  12. Scooter
    on Jul 16th, 2009
    @ 3:18 PM

    Ooh, this is my first time to this site and you have an article on tassled loafers of which I have only 12 pair? I want to run home and send in pics of mine! I also tread water in ebay and am passionate about Cole-Haan and John and Murphy. Sure, make fun if you want, but they’re styish and comfortable.
    My new girlfriend got in my closet and pulled out all the tassled shoes, then laughed. She’s on thin ice……

  13. AFocusedImagination
    on Jul 16th, 2009
    @ 6:59 PM

    Tasseled loafers are a great shoe that can go with whatever. I have a pair from Johnston and Murphy that I have worn the hell out of. Wish I could find a high quality pari made in USA, that’s not so expensive that I feel to guilty to beat em up real good.

  14. Paul
    on Jul 16th, 2009
    @ 7:57 PM

    I have to admit, tassel loafers are just about the only think I wear, and I have no less than 10 pair in my closet.