8 Iconic Pairs of Designer Shoes You Should Know About

You can't go wrong with any of these classic styles.

A shoe has evolved into much more than just protective footwear. It's an expression of style, and for some, a coveted design piece.

Here we round up the most iconic pairs of designer shoes of all time.

Christian Louboutin Pigalle

The Pigalle Pump needs no introduction. Though an adapted design, Louboutin’s Pigalle has become an icon through his addition of a red lacquered sole, a pin-thin stiletto heel, and a perfectly sculpted pointed toe. Whether it be in matte or glossy leather, black or nude—the Pigalle is an enduring style that’ll flatter those who wear it.

Manolo Blahnik Hangisi


Manolo Blahnik became a household name because of Sex and the City. Carrie Bradshaw not only wore his shoes, a number of episodes centered around the designs itself. Fittingly, one of his most famous designs—the Hangisi—were catapulted to fame by a pivotal scene in the Sex and the City movie. Though made in a seemingly traditional court shoe design, the Hangisi is special for its eye-catching embellished buckle. Today, the blue satin Hangisi has become popular as ‘something blue’ for brides.

Gucci Horsebit Loafers

Under Alessandro Michele’s direction, the Gucci horsebit has been redesigned into the Jordaans and its mule version, the Princetown. But nothing beats a classic. The Gucci Horsebit Loafer was designed by founder Guccio Guccio’s son, Aldo Gucci, after being inspired by a horse's bit. The loafer has been a fashion essential since its production in 1953. Through the years, it’s been worn by preppy collegiates, Wall Street executives, and trendy fashion folk.

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Chanel Slingbacks

Coco Chanel’s two-tone slingback is legendary. First designed in 1957, the Chanel slingback was the first-ever shoe to be made in two hues. It shortens the foot, and lengthens the legs at the same time. The “edgy” beige shoe with a contrasting black toe cap was quickly picked up by the era’s most famous names including Catherine Deneuve, Romy Schneider, and Bridgette Bardot. Today, it’s made in color combinations such as grey-black, navy-black, and even lace-black.

Roger Vivier Belle Vivier Pumps


For his creative and innovative designs, French fashion designer Roger Vivier has earned the title the “Fragonard of the shoe.” The designer was best known for his work under Christian Dior in the ‘50s, as well as designing the heels Queen Elizabeth wore during her coronation. One of his most sought-after designs is the Belle Vivier Pump. The square-heeled shoe, adorned with a pilgrim-style buckle, was launched in 1965. Two years later, Catherine Deneuve wore the relatively unknown pump in Luis Buñuel's movie Belle de Jour.

Salvatore Ferragamo Rainbow Sandal

Salvatore Ferragamo created the rainbow sandal during the Great Depression. Since there was a shortage of materials, he used cork and wood to fashion the first Rainbow Sandal. The innovative design was made for Judy Garland to wear, and was the first platform sandal of the 20th century.

Stuart Weitzman Nudist Sandal


The Nudist Sandal is Stuart Weitzman’s signature stiletto. Designed to elongate legs, the sandal has slim barely-there straps and a perfectly sleek heel. The minimalist style has become a celebrity red carpet favorite for its ability to elevate an outfit without taking the focus away.

Hermès Oran Sandals

Released in 1997, the Oran was designed by Pierre Hardy for Hermès. In an interview with Telegraph, Hardy said: “I wanted to make a no-shoe, basically–like walking barefoot.” Since then, the sleek and sophisticated slide has been touted as the perfect summer shoe—making its way into classic Hermès territory. The Oran is available in Hermès’ signature leathers as well as exotic materials such as lizard and crocodile.

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About The Author
Paolo Chua
Associate Style Editor
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor at Esquire Philippines, where he writes about fashion and grooming. Before joining Esquire Philippines, he was a writer at Town & Country Philippines.
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