The Gucci bit loafer, the Prince Albert slipper and the Belgian loafer. Three loafers that all share the dubious honor of being “rakish,” or “revolting,” depending on who you ask. Polarizing as they may be, this traddy triumvirate has remained a constant curiosity throughout the years, as each style is rediscovered in time by whatever wave happens to be cresting that year.
First it was the Gucci bit loafer, which was thrust back into the spotlight during the East Coast preppy revival of the mid-aughts. The bit loaf had first gained notoriety during the mid-twentieth century as a high society hoof that was so popular amongst A-listers and deep-pocketed socialites that they became part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection in 1962. Similarly to Ralph Lauren, another Madison Avenue icon, the horsebit story begins with a vision of polo. The story goes that in the wake of WWI, the Italian born Guccio Gucci was working at London’s Savoy Hotel where polo was a persistent topic of conversation between the rotating roster of English aristocrats that frequented the hotel. As Gucci listened to (er, eavesdropped on) these tales from the ground, polo came to represent a leisurely and luxurious lifestyle that was always just out of reach.