d’Orsay Shoe


How to say it: door-say

Traditional Features: 

d'Orsay Shoe

  • covered toe and heel
  • cut away at the sides, leaving the shank bare

21st Century d’Orsay Shoes

D’Orsay shoes are everywhere right now! Flat, heeled, platforms; ankle strap, slip-on, lace up – the styles available in the 21st century are huge and varied. Over the years designers have taken some liberties with the style, adding a peep toes, asymmetric cutaways and toe detailing to keep the style fresh, new and relevant season after season, resulting in the huge choice that is available to the modern woman.

J.Crew L.A.M.B.

J.Crew, L.A.M.B.

Manolo Blahnik Saint Laurent

Manolo Blahnik, Saint Laurent


…of the style: The cut away style of the d’orsay shoe was actually first designed for men in the 19th century. The Count Alfred d’Orsay, an ex-soldier, painter, artist, sculptor, dandy and all around arbiter of style, is credited with its creation when he designed a military parade shoe in 1838; the shoe was cut low on the sides to eliminate gape and allow for wider feet, had a v-shaped top and fit more snuggly than the other shoe styles of the day. Soon after its inception the silhouette became popular with women and the d’orsay pump was born.

The d’orsay style appeared in modern fashion in the 1930s – perhaps because the style exposes the arch of the foot, making it a sensual shoe that shows off a part of the foot that can’t normally be seen. The d’orsay shoe has remained popular in women’s footwear ever since and in the 21st century designers regularly feature the cutaway style, in both flat and heeled versions, in their runway shows. This classic and versatile shoe is currently available on every level of the footwear market and appears in casual and evening styles in equal measure. Despite its nearly 200-year old design, the d’orsay shoe is still considered a sophisticated, flattering and sexy style, and these traits that are likely to keep the d’orsay shoe in the fashion landscape for many years to come.

…of the name: The d’orsay shoe is named for Count Alfred d’Orsay who is credited with creating the design for men in the 19th century.

Random Facts

  • Count d’Orsay was a friend of Lord Byron
  • Count d’Orsay was such a fashion leader of his time that he also has a coat named after him
  • In his prime, Count d’Orsay was considered “most perfect gentleman of his day”

For more info on d’Orsay Shoes try ezine articles, Peter Fox Shoes, Rue La La or the Fairchild’s Dictionary of Fashion

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