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2 September 2021
Author: Spiff
Gucci Horsebit Loafers, Yes or No?

"It's the height of banality... I had only seen them again (since the 80s) on the feet of flea market vendors," commented a colleague in reference to Gucci's Horsebit. More specifically about some that I had seen in white. “Well, in black they're not bad, in fact, I see them quite a bit on social media. And I especially like them on women ”, I answered. The debate was on the table, Gucci loafers, yes or no?

As they say a picture is worth a thousand words, I decided to pull the file. Carlota Casiraghi - what a woman! - lying on a sofa in an impeccable white shirt, jeans and Gucci loafers. The great beauty. That photo could win almost anyone over. With the exception of my friend.

A battle with allies is much easier to win, so I looked for who could join my side. “They blow me away, but they are very difficult to keep well. Mine are Horsebit Vegas, but with a square toe and a Sarkozy-style heel ”, confessed another friend and an ally. To be honest, this was a meaningless battle, because to me, it was neither here nor there. I maintain what I especially like in women; the classic, the 1953's version, no tacky modern clogs with sheep. And the Tony Sylvestre and Shuhei Nishiguchi versions, well I suppose those too, but not all of us are Shuhei and Tony. The fact is that today I am here to open the debate, brawl, dispute or whatever you want to call it, but above all, to put the history of this shoe in context. The smart thing to do would have been to do it later taking advantage of the hype from the movie - it looks good - but no. The muse comes and goes, and when it comes, you have to take advantage.

Carlota Casiraghi Gucci

Carlota Casiraghi with Gucci loafers

In 1953, Gucci made an appearance in New York, setting up offices in the Big Apple. At that time, the loafer, this time by GH-Bass, ran like wildfire among young WASPs (White Anglo Saxon Protestants), and Gucci knew it, he knew his version would become another hit too. It is at that precise moment when they decide to give the classic a loafer, refine it and add the piece that until today has been - and will be - the hallmark of the shoe and the house itself, the famous horse bit. A piece that horses carried in their mouths in order to attach the reins, to be able to direct them and give them instructions.

In this new Italianized loafer model, there was no space to place a penny because its owners were more into banknotes than coins. incidently, penny from penny. It is believed that the name Penny loafers comes from a custom among WASP boys to hide a coin in the slot on the instep of the shoe as an emergency measure in the event of any unforeseen event. Now you laugh, yes, but in those days a penny worked wonders. But the Gucci version had no grooves. The Agnellis or JFK could have done very little with a penny. It was these names, among others, that gave the shoe popularity among the Jet Set. A boom that translated into astronomical sales figures. By 1969 Gucci was selling 84000 pairs of the Horsebit in the United States.

Shuhei nishiguchi

Shuhei Nishiguchi with Gucci Horsebit loafers

Shoes that are formal enough to be worn with a suit, but at the same time more comfortable and casual than most other black shoes on the market. Black, yes, the Italian firm decided to launch them in this color to the detriment of brown, seen much more often in similar shoes of the time.

Today, the Horsebit is part of that cast of timeless and iconic garments and accessories, which together with Schott's Perfecto or Levi's 501s, to name a few, are part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. When choosing a Horsebit, I choose the original, the 1953 one, which currently sells from $ 670 in its basic version, the calf leather version, to the $ 2600 that you have to pay if you prefer to get one in brown crocodile leather in brown, black or navy blue.

Getting to the heart of the matter, the shoe itself is not a poor quality shoe. Painted and hand-stitched on the upper, it features a fairly well-channeled Blake sole, a well-built flat heel with a rubber patch, and two brass studs. On the same heel there are small details (stars), whose objective I understand will be to differentiate them from the innumerable counterfeits of the same. Yes, I had escaped mentioning it. The house and the shoe are as famous as the fakes on their hands. You have the final say in whether or not this is an important aspect to tip the balance, Gucci Horsebit, yes or no?

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