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Some shoe history from The Encyclopedia of Men's Clothes:
Tassel Loafers -- In 1948, debonair character actor, Paul Lukas, ("The Lady Vanishes" and "Watch on the Rhine") returned from Europe with a new pair of oxfords that had little tassels at the ends of the laces. Lukas took his shoes to New York shoemakers Farkas & Kovacs and asked them to make something similar. They complied; he liked the style but not the fit.

He then, cleverly, took one of the pair of shoes to Lefcourt in New York, and the other to Morris Boot Makers in Beverly Hills, and asked them each to develop a better version. Both shoemakers curiously sent them on to Alden, a major shoe manufacturing company. President Arthur Tarlow Sr. produced a new prototype, which incorporated topside lacing and tassels in a slip-on. Alden incorporated the new style in their 1950 production line, and by 1952 it was a top seller. In 1957, Brooks Brothers begin selling the shoe style.
 
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