The origins of Castañer date back to 1776 with the birth of Rafael Castañer, the first espadrille maker of the family. Having evolved from the once small workshop, today’s company was founded in 1927 by Luis Castañer and his cousin Tomás Serra. The firm lived through a number of vicissitudes, such as the Spanish Civil War in 1936; since soldiers were sent to the front wearing espadrilles, Castañer’s products were considered of military interest and the company was nationalized.
At the end of the 60s, Lorenzo and Isabel Castañer (the next generation) met Yves Saint Laurent in Paris who commissioned the first wedge espadrille in history, transforming a peasant’s shoe into a fashionable runway style. Since then, Castañer has worked with various fashion houses and developed a full stylish collection.
The espardenya or espadrille has also established its iconic presence in cultural imagery, having been the shoe of choice of intellectuals, of Hollywood actors such as Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly, of Jackie Kennedy, and of artists like painter Salvador Dalí.