(Photo: Chanel)

Made to wear morning to night for any occasion

Coco Chanel might have started her namesake brand in 1910, but the classic style of the French fashion brand still lives on including the infamous two-tone shoe. We take you on a design journey of the iconic two-tone Chanel shoes.

The first pair of two-tone shoes debuted from the Chanel fashion house in 1957. The two-tone shoe was designed to wear from morning to night and is suitable for any casual or formal occasion. The two-tone shoes would go onto become one of Chanel’s timeless wardrobe essentials including quilted bags, little black dresses, and tweed tailoring.

(Photo: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)

Though Chanel debuted the first pair in 1957, she actually started wearing a modified version of the two-tone shoe nearly 20 years earlier. Chanel was photographed in two-tone shoes 1924 with the Ballets Russes star, Serge Lifar, who she befriended on the set of “Train Beau.”

One of the first pair of two-tone shoes photographed was one of the first designs for the iconic Chanel espadrilles. Chanel designed the shoes in beige to elongate the shape of the foot with a patch of black over the toe area to protect the shoe from long-term wear and shorten the foot. This original design also incorporated a 5 cm heel for comfort and stability that could carry over to the modern design on the two-tone shoe.

This new design was true to Chanel’s winning formula of liberating women and breaking fashion codes that constrained shoe design at the time. At the time, monochrome shoes were more common but had to be taken to the tailors.

The two-tone shoe utilized the innovation of an elastic strap along with a wide color palette created by shoemaker Massaro, inventing the sensual slingback shoe. Chanel to this day still works with shoemaker Massaro to continue production of the classic two-tone shoes.

Late creative director of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, expanded the two-tone shoe into a collection of style variations since 1983 including espadrilles, sandals, Oxfords, boots, and ballerina pumps (debuted in 1986).

Though the two-tone shoe is more than 60 years old, it still carries the legacy promised by Coco Chanel herself of being the morning to night shoe for any occasion.