0 comment

Espadrille Sergeant

Espadrilles are casual, summer shoes originating from the Pyrenees Mountains, bordering France and Spain. Instances of the traditional shoe appear as far back as 4,000 years ago. The foot covering was originally made from rope and canvas – it was considered a peasant’s clothing item. They were even being worn around the XIII Century by the King of Aragons’ infantry men!

The biggest volume of espadrilles was sold to mine-workers in northern France. The shoe was particularly popular because the natural soles molded to the user’s foot and were considered very comfortable. An important craftsman during that century was referred to as an alpargatero, espadrille maker.

Espadrille Sargeant via The Walkup
Excerpt from the Dolce & Gabbana 2013 Spring/Summer Ad Campaign.

The term espadrille is French and loosely related to the Catalan word for esparto, a wiry Mediterranean grass used in making rope. Today, many espadrilles are made with braided jute, raffia, twine, straw, hemp and other tough, natural fibers. Have I whet your appetite for shoe history? Enjoy a complete and thorough origin story – here.

Espadrilles became fashionable in the US of A in the 1940’s because of Lauren Bacall’s character in the 1948 movie Key Largo. Audrey Hepburn, Pablo Picasso, Grace Kelly, Ernest Hemingway, John F. Kennedy and Salvador Dali were also known to sport these chic, unisex, summer footwear.

Join the ranks of famous espadrille wearers – choose your own pair, below:

Casual Espadrille Choices for Summer Shoes

(clockwise from top right) Nine West Immunity Espadrille; DIANE von FURSTENBERG Espadrille Platform Wedge Sandals – Origenes; ASOS HIPPY Wedges; Stella McCartney Zebra-printed Espadrille Wedge; Kate Spade New York ‘lucie’ Espadrille Sandal in Cobalt Patent; Enzo Angiolini – Nomas High Platform Wedge Espadrille Sandals; Pierre Hardy Cube Print Espadrille – Red/Black/White; Chloé Platform Espadrille Sandal – Nude.


0 comment


“And now, I’m just trying to change the world, one sequin at a time.” – Lady Gaga

On days when I am feeling ho-hum – a lot of my mood can be changed by throwing on a metallic, sequined dress. No longer just for New Year’s Eve and special occasion, I slip into a bedazzled frock, or blinged out blazer, often. Sequins, often thought of as “cheap” or “trashy” actually have quite the classy origins. The word “sequin” a loose translation into French of the Italian word zecchino, which was a gold coin that was issued in the medieval centuries in Republic of Venice and Ottoman Empire Era Turkey.

Image via Pugly Pixel

Vintage pre-war Belgian, Czechoslovakian, and Japanese sequins thanks to Pugly Pixel.

This doesn’t seem so far fetched when you think of gypsy scarves with stitched on coins (ala Esmerelda in Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame). At one point in history, many nomadic peoples had to travel with their possessions – thus attaching coins to outfits!  Some people argue that the word “sequin” might also comes from the Arabic word sikka, meaning “coin”. Both words of origin mean represent a type of currency – so maybe the etymology happened simultaneously?

Sequin Dresses, Pillows, Napkin Rings, Manicures and Loaders.

One // Two // Three // Four // Five // Six

Most sequins today are made of plastic, but they used to be made of metals. In the United Kingdom sequins are known as “spangles” – I actually cannot say the word “spangle” aloud without an English accent…

Sequins are having resurgence with the advent of the Great Gatsby-meets-Jazz Age-cum-1920’s-Flapper fashion craze or because of Liberace’s return to the spotlight! Although I associate these decorative, glittering discs with Art Deco style (and some others with The Golden Girls), there is evidence of the adornment dating back to 2500BC!

Shine On You Crazy Diamond, just don’t confuse the classic sheen for glitter! 

0 comment

North Park Slope

The oft’ snickered about move from the isle of Manhattan, to the largest borough of NYC, is usually “caused” by the ticking of one’s biological clock. Babies mean Brooklyn, and in one particular area, it means stroller wars, marsupial moms and single-drip coffee cafes. “The Slope” is the antidote to many Manhattanites’ who are sick of squeezing into too-small rental apartments. The North Slope, which takes its name from its location on the western slope of the park, is filled with charming brownstones and historic architecture.   Let’s explore a hidden gem on Sterling Place in The Vermeil, a mortar and brick building attached to a pre-existing brownstone, steps away from Maggie Gyllenhaal’s townhouse:

North Park Slope

North Park Slope

The area is nestled adjacent to Prospect Park and the neighborhood is relatively affordable: case in point a swanky cocktail which runs me $16 in the city, is $10 on Flatbush Avenue. Known for its preponderance of families, serious couples, aging hippies, LGBTQ  hotspots, writers and other humanities driven types, the streets have a communal vibe. The location was even named one of the “Greatest Neighborhoods in America” by the American Planning Association in 2007, “for its architectural and historical features and its diverse mix of residents and businesses, all of which are supported and preserved by its active and involved citizenry.”

North Park Slope North Park Slope


The natural light coming in from the large windows lends itself to shadow play. A sun drenched living room is perfect for lazy afternoon reading.


North Park Slope

The details of an angled globe, chinoiserie chair, moroccan tuft, midcentury credenza, B & W Photo and paper lantern give the space a simple, east-meets-west vibe.

133 Sterling Place


[Read more]