With its roots dating back to 1957, the iconic two-tone shoe sits alongside Mademoiselle Chanel’s signatures like the 2.55 and tweed jacket, most famously known for its beige upper that featured a contrasting black toe cap, of course. And it is also one that has evolved over the years, with little elements added (or tweaked) to make it even better than it was before. The House of Massaro (who was credited with creating the shoes at the request of Mademoiselle Chanel) changed the slingback strap and made it elasticated, giving it extra grip that allowed ladies to slip in (and out) with ease. The addition of the CC logo at the heel provided an elevated touch to an otherwise clean-looking upper, giving it a discreet edge that’s perfect for the lovers of all things Chanel.
Above all, the two-tone shoes are very much lauded for their impeccable craftsmanship, an intricate process that is carried out at Chanel’s ateliers in Italy till this very day. It all begins with the demarcation of the parts, with the highlight being the position of the contrasting toe-cap, of course. Next, the craftsman carefully assembles the individual pieces by hand, before stitching and securing the elements (leather upper and soles) in place. A gold-tone CC logo is then fixed onto the heel, while the insole is stamped with gold foil bearing the words CHANEL and ‘Made in Italy’. The finishing touches include hand-painted edges and brushing (for suede), before the two-tone shoes are boxed and shipped around the world.
Today, the term ‘two-tone shoe’ is no longer reserved for the original sling-back design that originated six decades ago. Rather, it’s a broad definition that includes ballet flats, brogues, pumps, sandals and even thigh-high boots dreamt up by Karl Lagerfeld (and now, Virginie Viard) as Artistic Director of Chanel. The French luxury brand continues to up the ante season after season, with creations such as the two-tone Mary Janes created by Artistic Director Virginie Viard for the brand’s Spring-Summer 2020 collection. They come with a quilted upper and an extra CC logo on the toe cap, furnished with a metallic CHANEL font fixed on the inner part of the shoe’s midsole. Same, yet different, but still paying homage to the original made famous by Mademoiselle Chanel more than half a century ago.