From past to present: Chanel's iconic two-tone shoe

From past to present: Chanel's iconic two-tone shoe

Storied elegance

Text: Andrea Sim

As the maison's classic two-tone slingback returns for FW15, we take a look at the beginnings of the two-tone shoe and its incarnations over the years

Gabrielle Chanel was responsible for the tweed suits and quilted handbags that infiltrated the ladies' wardrobes of her time in the 1950's. More impressively, is the staying power of her quintessentially elegant designs that are not only still relevant today, but retain its widespread appeal as proven by the 2.55 and the classic flap that are still the must-have bags for many.

The two-tone (beige and black) shoe is yet another design concept by Madamoiselle Chanel that the storied house holds dear, and was embraced by actresses and style icons of the era such as Brigitte Bardot and Romy Schneider. As shoes were monotone and picked to match the colour of one's ensemble in the past, Chanel's design foresight was revolutionary in her time to say the very least. 

Romy Schneider in Chanel's two-tone shoes

Chanel has famously quipped, "We leave in the morning with a beige and black, we lunch with the beige and black, we go to a cocktail party with the beige and black. We're dressed from morning to night!"

The late designer's vision lives on under Karl Lagerfeld's reign, spawning incarnations over the years such as the jute-soled chukka and the people's all-time favourite, the oxfords with ankle straps. Each and every pair retains the essence of the two-tone concept, but has exapnded to include more colours — burgundy, gold and blush pink for example, are used in place of beige from time to time.

This FW15, the Kaiser has drawn focus to the classic style yet again, this time with a contemporary slingback pump that took its cues from a well-loved version in the past. 

To fully ring in the latest design child of Gabrielle Chanel's two-tone shoe concept, the short video below (the first in a series of four) encapsulates the elegance of the footwear staple, and illustrates its assimilation into the Chanel woman's life. 

The Chanel fall/winter 2015 two-tone sling backs are now available in boutiques.