March 29, 2017
By Candace Longfellow
HOW TO SPOT REAL GUCCI LOAFERSSHOP GUCCI LOAFERS
Like many long-running fashion houses, Gucci’s aesthetic has changed drastically with every new creative director. In the ‘90s and early aughts, Tom Ford saved the house from the brink of bankruptcy with men’s hip-huggers, louche silk shirting and sexed up ad campaigns. Following Ford’s departure, Frida Giannini streamlined Gucci’s look with commercially driven collections fit for the luxe jet-setter. And in 2015, Alessandro Michele turned around soft sales with androgynous, over-the-top designs no one saw coming. But no matter how dissimilar these three designers seem, there is a common thread through each of their reigns: a respect for house codes. Gucci is a heritage brand after all, and as such, is expected to remain true to at least a few house signatures, no matter which designer is at the helm. One piece that’s survived them all? The Horsebit loafer.
“The classic horsebit loafer originated in 1953, but it was in the ‘70s and ‘80s when the moccasin style became really popular,” explains Senior Authentication Director Graham Wetzbarger. “They were so prevalent on Wall Street and in particular with D.C. lobbyists, that the corridor outside the congressional meeting rooms was nicknamed the Gucci Gulch.” The loafers fell out of fashion in the ‘90s, but Gucci continued to produce the iconic shoes despite the downturn in popularity. “In 1994, Tom Ford revitalized the loafers in pop colors, but it was Alessandro Michele who really reinvented them, reshaping the toe box and turning them into mules, which feels more contemporary.” These days, the Gucci loafer is an absolute must-have for any insider, man or woman, but with the rise in popularity inevitably comes reams of imposters. To find out if yours are the real deal, read on for our expert tips.
Gucci Loafer Insoles
The interior of the loafers should be lined in a supple leather and feature the brand logo embossed at the heel of the insole. “The Gucci stamp should always be clean and crisp, and should always read ‘made in italy’,” says Wetzbarger.
Gucci Loafer Style Number
All Gucci shoes, bags and accessories have a style number, which you can easily search online and corroborate with images. “Ever since the very first handbag Gucci made, before there were names like the Jackie or the Princetown, every single item has had a style number. If you have the shoebox, it should show the same style number as well.”
Gucci Loafer Horsebits
The Gucci horsebit made its debut in the 1930s and has remained a house signature ever since, referencing the brand mythology of an equestrian heritage. “The horsebit is made of four components: two bars attached to two rings. On certain items, the horsebit may be secured in the middle where the two bars connect, but more often than not on shoes (like the Princetown loafer), it just hangs free,” explains Wetzbarger.
Gucci Loafer Materials
Gucci loafers are available in a range of leathers from lambskin to buffalo, depending on the season, as well as a number of more unconventional materials like rubber, jacquard and exotic skins like alligator and eel. The shoes commonly feature a leather outsole, though some driving models have a textured rubber sole for grip. “The first generation of Princetown loafers were all made with kangaroo fur insoles, so for a while the style was not available for purchase in the state of California due to laws prohibiting the sale of protected animals, but now you can buy them in shearling,” explains Wetzbarger. “Kangaroo fur is not as soft as, say, rabbit, but if the lining appears synthetic, that’s not a good sign. Because the insole is genuine sheared fur, some abrasion is expected due to wear and is a sign of that natural materials are being used.”
Ready to slip into your own pair? Shop our authentic selection of Gucci loafers here.