Mandals at Marc Jacobs (left) and Prada (right)
There are some fashion trends that I blatantly ignore while others eventually win me over because I keep seeing them everywhere (persistence evidently pays off). It’s a case of the latter for mandals, which have been haunting me since Phoebe Philo sent out Birkenstocks at the Celine spring/summer 2013 show.
This summer, nothing says ‘I’m fashionable’ this season more than a pair of ugly flats. Almost every designer has created their own version of the “mandal” – a men’s inspired sandal with chunky leather straps, buckles and a thick sole. Sure they score high on the comfort list – why else would backpackers love them? – but they aren’t the prettiest of shoes.
To make them easier on the eye, designers have created fashion forward designs that combine comfort and style. Here is my quick guide to the mandal styles to own this season.
1) The Birkenstock
This German favourite needs no explanation. While Birkenstock has slimmed down its somewhat bulky classic style this year, many luxury brands have created their own versions. Top picks include Givenchy (above), whose style comes decorated in their iconic spring/summer 2014 floral print. Meanwhile, French couturier Giambattista Valli has collaborated with Birkenstock on a “deluxe” pair in pastel pink and decorated with silver studs.
2) The Hiking Sandal
More orthopaedic-looking than chic, this style comes with rubber soles and Velcro straps. Slightly sportier than the mandal and certainly no sexier, it first made its appearance at the Marc by Marc Jacobs show in a black and white version embellished with sequins for a glam touch. We knew it was a serious trend when Miuccia Prada sent out bright yellow styles covered in gobstopper size crystals or sporty trainer type hybrids (above). Other must-haves include Balenciaga, whose all black leather style is decorated with gold studs for a luxe look.
3) Pool Slides
These were actually championed by Christopher Kane two years ago and is my top pick out of the three. Not only are they easy to wear (you simply slide them on as the name suggests) but they are definitely more streamlined in terms of silhouette. Take them from boring to luxe by choosing a style in an unusual fabric (such as calf half courtesy of J.W Anderson or Sam Edelman) or even metallic leather which will match perfectly with your summer whites. Celine’s leather version (above) are super chic. They look fantastic under a pair of wide legged trousers.