At The Row, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have managed to achieve what every savvy business person or plucky entrepreneur — in or out of fashion world —aims to do: Give customers what they want, before they even know they want it.
Like, who knew that we, regardless of our age, all secretly yearned to dress like elegant 50-year-olds, swaddled in cocoons of luxurious fabric that leave everything to the imagination? The duo was also super early to the '90s-inflected mom jeans trend, serving up the most covetable pair of high-waisted, straight-legged perfection a few years ago.
And now: the backless loafer. Like other items put forth by the duo — who just won the Accessories Designer of the Year at the CFDA Awards — this one has been a slow burn. When the collaboration with Enzo Bonafè first debuted on the spring 2014 runway, many editors praised it, but then things seemed to go quiet. For one, the shoes weren't available for purchase, but even if they had been, lingering connotations of questionable Aerosoles might have loomed too large to take a chance.
But then came the springtime of the mule, followed by the summer of the pool slide, and now these seem like a beyond-cool evolution of the whole slip-on phenomenon. The vibe of unstudied ease remains, an attitudinal nonchalance that says you can only be bothered enough to wear half a shoe. But with clean lines and almond-shaped toes, these have the power to add a little structure and put-together dressiness to everything from cropped jeans and slouchy trousers to full midi skirts.
While you can finally get The Row's version at the label's newly opened flagship store in Los Angeles (310-853-1900, price upon request), the label isn't the only one doing an update on this design.
Tibi just did its own fantastic take, named the Denni, which shows off a little more of your heel. They sold out lightening-fast on both the brand's site and Net-a-Porter. But, as luck would have it, they're restocking -- and you can pre-order a pair here to arrive the second week in July.
If the bloafer—that is, backless loafer—isn't for you, go for a more rounded silhouette, courtesy of Emerson Fry ($228). The extra-thin sole makes them great with filmy summer dresses, and all sizes are still in stock here. And if you're willing to wait a bit, our current label crush Trademark has a very temping iteration in its fall lineup, called the Paloma ($298), which hits the site on August 7.
And it doesn't look like open-back trend is letting up any time soon. Chanel featured genie-like slippers for resort 2015, as did 10 Crosby Derek Lam. However, those both have wraparound ankle straps, so maybe they don't count?
We'll leave you to ponder that -- along with which pair you're going to snag. And possibly whether you're brave enough to try them all out with socks come fall.