Just in time for winter
On Monday, news broke that Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s label, The Row, would debut its premiere menswear collection in October of this year. Having spent the last few years refining the line, the twins told WSJ that it was intended for The Row woman’s husband – and, seemingly, he’s just as chic, minimalist, and filthy rich as she is (s/o to the label’s $55,000 prescription drug studded backpack of 2012).
When we’d gotten over the revelation that ‘sexy’ high-waisted slacks are apparently on the cards for the men buying into the brand(!), our attention was drawn to the black and white portrait of the designers – as shot by Ethan James Green – and more specifically, their chosen footwear. Flip-flops.
The days when the Olsens’ diminutive frames were shrouded in approx. fifteen flea-market procured shawls, and piles and piles (and piles) of antique jewellery are well behind them, and the two have become the ultimate poster women for elegant minimalism in the time since. That they opted for the simplest footwear imaginable – just one narrow strap stitched to a thin slice of rubber – is still a bit of a surprise though.
More associated with pedicures, pre-meltdown Britney on Starbucks runs, and Clapham dwellers who insist on wearing them year round, slapping through filthy puddles throughout SW4, toe thongs are, historically, as far from #chic as it’s possible to be. At least until now, apparently – the Olsens could be about to do to the flip-flop what Phoebe Philo did for the humble slide.
“Kick off your Triple S-es and let your feet breathe in a pair of Havaianas, huns”
In Mary-Kate and Ashley’s case, when paired with cashmere sweaters and wide-legged trousers (which are presumably hoisted up to armpit level, if their menswear collection is anything to go by), their flip-flops are the antithesis of the ugly sneakers that have dominated for the last few seasons, and feel all the more fresh for it. Literally – kick off your Triple S-es and let your feet breathe in a pair of Havaianas, huns. If you think the style is the epitome of simplicity, though, you’d be mistaken. Far from being an understated choice of footwear, flip-flops put it all on show.
It’s not just the Olsens who are touting the return of toe thongs, either. Most recently, the sandal infiltrated Copenhagen Fashion Week – with a host of attendees (see: impossibly polished Scandi #streetstyle stars, presumably with never-less-than-perfect pedis) pairing them with another Y2K relic that’s seemingly making a comeback: the tula shell anklet.
On the catwalk, too, the style is having a particularly avant garde moment. As part of her SS18 Fenty x Puma collection, Rihanna sent a sporty hybrid flip-flop stiletto-heeled sandal down the runway, and tbh, we were into it. Meanwhile, at Dsquared2, Mary Kate and Ashley’s fellow fashion twins Dean and Dan Caten presented a pretty serious-looking buckled cowboy-boot-cum-toe-post-heel for AW18.
And, just yesterday afternoon, Kanye West posted an illustration of a Japanese-style sandal complete with toe-thong to his Twitter. Granted, it was to illustrate why he wore a pair of what looked like North West’s sliders to 2Chainz’ wedding last week, but could it mean we’re about to see ‘Ye rocking a Yeezy version (perhaps in the right size this time, but fuck it, perhaps not)? We wouldn’t be surprised. Crocs, move over: your time as fashion’s unlikeliest footwear hero has come to an end. Dust off that Ped Egg, fashion fans, and prepare to bare all.
Viva la flip-flop.