The enduring, lightweight summer shoe brand radiates Mediterranean chic, says Ian Wright.
Wholesale prices £20 to £25
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It’s the kind of brand that evokes images of a young Alain Delon sauntering down La Croisette in Cannes, exuding effortlessness from every linen shirt-covered pore. But Rivieras was in fact born a little further down the Mediterranean coast, a product of Spain’s Costa Brava.
The word ‘brava’ may mean rugged or wild but there’s nothing rough and ready about these refined summer shoes. Forget Crocs – this is what a leisure shoe should look like, the lightweight slip-ons barely changing since the snappiest-dressing señors started wearing them just after the Second World War. The design has endured because of its simplicity, lending an air of upmarket class to the most casual of shapes. But the simplicity belies the quality of construction: the shoes boast mailed cotton and canvas uppers, saddle-stitched welts and leather inner soles and are terrycloth lined with leather trims.
Discovered in the 1950s, the design and way they’re made hasn’t changed over the years and nor has the factory the shoes are made in. But what they’re made from has: you can now buy your Rivieras in anything from denim to canvas, suede to raffia, and in a rainbow of colours. As if any more credibility was needed, the brand has a strong history of collaborations behind it, with United Arrows, Thomsen and Surface To Air all having come up with their ultimate combination in the past, with more in the pipeline.
Like what you see? Well handily for a footwear brand, Rivieras has no minimums, and through its UK agent Brand National you can still buy into the spring 12 collection. If you do you’ll be joining the likes of Mr Porter, Dover Street Market and Start as one of the 35 stockists who have all stepped up their casual shoe offer by stocking the brand this season. We’re sure Alain Delon would approve…