This classic is spring’s ultimate it-shoe

Find out how fashion’s favorite flats – the loafers – came to be.
May 16, 2017

THE STORY BEHIND IT
Bourgeois, brown, boring. Traditionally, a pair of loafers doesn’t have the same appeal as stilettos, pumps, ballerinas or even booties. Loafers have been the informal shoe choice to wear in formal places for decades, and weren’t meant to be worn by women in the first place. They were the epitome of preppy, and a shoe that was considered immune to trends. Of course, over time, they found a much better purpose. 

The history of the loafer as we know it starts in 1936, when footwear dynasty G.H. Bass & Co launched the Weejun shoe, which was made for men, but became even more popular with women who bought them in boys' sizes. A few years after introducing the laceless slip-on leather shoes, Bass released them in a more feminine shape. To most people, the name Weejun isn’t familiar, but the words penny loafer definitely are, which is the popular name they go by. The name is believed to derive from the slot on the shoe saddle, which its wearer realized was perfect to fit a coin inside. At a time when a coin could get you far, the owners of penny loafers placed coins in their shoes to use in case of emergency – or in whatever sudden event they would need it for.

In the 30s, 40s and 50s, Bass' penny loafers' popularity in America seemed infinite, but when fashion power house Gucci tapped into the US market in the 50s, they saw an opportunity to add some Italian flair to the comfy and informal shoe. Gucci made loafers in a slicker shape with more refined lines than Bass, sold them in more colors, and made them a must-have shoe for jetsetters, businessmen and presidents.

Gucci’s loafers came at a much higher price point than the everyday penny loafers and were crafted in shiny calf leather. After their introduction, loafers ceased to be considered informal and were welcomed into any Wall Street meeting room. 

 

Read about other iconic fashion items here.

THE TEAM

PHOTOGRAPHER Andreas Sjödin

STYLIST Marcus Söder | Link Details

DIRECTOR Max Larsson

MODEL Tandi Reason Dahl | Oui Management

HAIR Cim Mahony | Lalaland Artists

MAKEUP Trine Skjøt | Lund Lund

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