The billionaire set has at least one thing in common, besides seven- and eight-figure pastimes like biohacking and private aviation—they’re all wearing the same suede loafers from Loro Piana. For winter, it’s the Open Walk boot ($1,095); for warmer weather, the traditional silhouette of the Summer Walk ($930) will do nicely. But regardless of season, for heaven’s sake they should be in earth-toned colors (avoid the yellow!) and paired with a zippered sweater from the same Italian fashion house. In cashmere, please.
As for who does it best? Jean Arnault, the director of marketing and development for LVMH watches (and the 24-year-old son of the richest person on the planet). He is often photographed in the look when both on and off the clock. In Los Angeles, everyone from Warner Bros. Discovery C.E.O. David Zaslav and Activision chief Bobby Kotick wear them. They have also been spotted on Stavros Niarchos, Larry Gagosian, Gerry Cardinale, and, less illustriously, Anthony Scaramucci.
“They are the most versatile pair of shoes ever made,” declares Ahmed “Shary” Rahman, a textile-and-pharmaceutical manufacturer and one of the world’s most prolific watch collectors. “The best thing about these shoes is that they are casual enough to be worn instead of trainers. I see most guys wear them with suits as well—the locker room at the Bath & Racquets Club [in London] is full of them.”
Sergio Loro Piana, who designed them, was not an average creative director. “He was like an Italian industrialist out of central casting,” says fashion editor Nicholas Foulkes. “The Summer and Open Walks were revolutionary, not only because their ubiquity was amazing but also because incredibly rich people felt that they didn’t need to wear uncomfortable leather shoes with laces and hard soles anymore. Serge gave them a way out. It was a bit like when Mark Birley gave everyone permission to not have to wear a tie when he opened George, in Mayfair.”
The suede-loafer phenomenon feels very now, but it is not especially new. Gianni Agnelli began wearing his Tod’s Gomminos with a suit after being injured in a car accident. (He had made a messy exit on the road from Villa la Leopolda, his home on the French Riviera, after he was caught in flagrante delicto with a comely young woman by his girlfriend at the time, Pamela Churchill.)
Now the Loro Piana look has trickled down to the echelons below the billionaire set. During a recent watch auction at Phillips, some of the junior specialists were spotted taking a photograph of their matching feet.
Tom Chamberlin is the editor of The Rake