K Jacques: the Tropezienne Footwear

Not to be mistaken for an everyday summer shoe, this is a K Jacques – a beautifully handcrafted sandal, a version of which has been gracing the feet of everyone who is anyone in Saint Tropez for decades.

 

Still very much in vogue with the new generation of international jet setters, the first pair of K Jacques sandals was created in a small workshop in rue Allard, downtown Saint Tropez, in 1933.

 

They were the brainchild of a talented couple called Mr and Mrs Jacques Kéklikian, who had come to France, and more specifically Saint Tropez, as refugees from Armenian.

K Jacques the Tropezienne Footwear 1

Each pair of these exquisitely soft leather sandals were made to measure for customers that called in to the tiny workshop, including a young Brigitte Bardot who first came to Saint Tropez in 1954 as a young starlet filming And God Created Woman.

 

Other legendry feet to have worn a pair of K Jacques over the years include those belonging to French writer Francoise Giroud, America actress Joan Collins, painters Cocteau and Picasso, and more recently supermodel Kate Moss and actresses Miranda Kerr and Hilary Duff.

 

In the 80-plus years since the company was founded, the K Jacques brand has gone from strength to strength, with three sales outlets in Saint Tropez itself as well as a showroom shop in the Marais quartier of Paris.

 

The original Ks are sadly no longer of this life, with Jacques passing away in 1989 followed by his wife in 1997, but the company is still very much in the family, and is now run by the couple’s children. And although some of the styles of K Jacques have not changed since the pre-war days, there are today many more designs and colours involved in making these hand-made sandals.

 

Each design is given its own imaginative label, including names such as Homere, Picon, Epicure, Gandhi and Bikini, each as wonderfully creative as the next.

 

The company now employs more than 25 people and exports to all corners of the globe, including America, Japan and Africa.

What to Wear on the Beach in Saint Tropez

With snow forecast across much of Europe, thinking about what swimwear you will be slipping into on your next holiday in Saint Tropez probably couldn’t be further from your mind.

 

You’re quite possibly thinking more along the lines of thick ski jackets, woolly gloves and thermal underwear, rather than what bikini will look good this summer.

What to Wear on the Beach in Saint Tropez 1

But we believe you can never be too prepared to hit the beach in style, so we’ve done some research and come up with a list of swimwear labels that you can expect to see this year in Saint Tropez:

 

One of the most popular swimwear labels for women in Saint Tropez is the local brand Pain de Sucre, founded in the town in 1983. The label prides itself on its sophisticated and creative swimwear and lingerie collections which are both exclusive and stylish. The brand now has more than a dozen boutiques scattered across France and in the Caribbean, London and Casablanca. www.paindesucre.com

 

Not far from the Pain du Sucre boutique on the very same road in central Saint Tropez is another hugely successful Saint Tropezienne brand founded in the quintessential French town in the 1980s. The first Kiwi Saint Tropez swimwear was sold in the ultra-exclusive Club 55 on Pampelonne Beach, with three more outlets soon appearing in the town itself. Now with multiple boutiques across the French Riviera including Monaco and Cannes the label does a wonderful collection for women, men and children. www.kiwi.fr

 

  • Vilebrequin, 24 Rue Gambetta, Saint-Tropez, Tel: + 04 94 97 62 04

Originally designed for men, this brand is almost as famous as the resort in which it was initially founded, some 45 years ago.  Vilebrequin was the brain child of a young racing car fan, Fred Prysquel, who allegedly sketched his first designs for swim shorts on a corner of the table cloth in a Saint Tropez café one summer’s day. He decided the shorts should be made out of spinnaker sail material, in vibrant colours, a model which gained instant success. Now, there are shops around the world and the Vilebrequin range of swimwear for men, women and children is as popular today as it was 40 odd years ago. fr.vilebrequin.com