Crockett & Jones: SKIN IN THE GAME

Thanks to four stunning new additions to Crockett & Jones’s range of loafers, summer chic starts from the ground up.

Intriguingly, the word we use for a shoe that was invented for la dolce vita derives from a verb relating to the Italian phrase il dolce far niente (‘for pleasantly doing nothing’). For the earliest iteration of what we today call the loafer was created by the London shoemaker Wildsmith in response to a 1926 request from King George VI for a soft, comfortable shoe he could wear when ‘loafing’ around his rural properties.

Another common ancestor to the modern loafer was the slip-on created by the shoemaker Nils Gregoriusson Tveranger, inspired by the lace-less footwear worn by fishermen in Tveranger’s Norway, and similar to those he’d seen on Native American people’s feet when studying in the continent where the loafer would first become a dapper staple. (That ‘penny’ prefix — which is still in popular parlance — derived from the practice prep school students across the Pond had for slipping a silver coin in the cut-out section of the shoes for emergency phone calls.)

Almost a century on, the phrase ‘slip-on’ packs precisely none of the ghastly sartorial connotations of its ugly sibling ‘clip on’ — loafers, indeed, are the among the beneficiaries of a modern sartorial zeitgeist in which dressing up and dressing down are no longer mutually exclusive options for the modern boulevardier surveying the interior of his wardrobe of a morning. In fact, comparisons between formal footwear versus summer loafers and structured versus Neapolitan tailoring might not bear forensic examination, but they are still irresistible: it’s a starchy-minded cove who, after hearing the first thwack of cork on willow of the year, isn’t tempted to eschew laced shoes as he eyes up his favourite spalla camicia shoulders.


July 2020


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