Although Spring has only just arrived, we are well within the prime shopping season for additions to our Spring and Summer wardrobes, and it seems like these Hermès Carlotta clogs (actually, Hermès calls them mules) are a hit already:
These have been seen everywhere, from the fashion magazines to influencer selfies - everywhere, of course, except the Hermès boutiques, because they are currently and foreseeably SOLD OUT.
I was fortunately given the opportunity to buy a pair of these in black, but I declined. Why? As popular as I knew they were going to be - Hermès showed these shoes with almost everything at its Spring-Summer 2021 runway show - they were not really for me. I have heard from a few others that they don’t really like the design of this shoe at all, but for me, I like the basic shape of it; however, the Kelly hardware, available in palladium only, means that it won't go with any of my jewelry and, quite honestly, makes the shoe just a bit too dangerous for me (guaranteed I stab myself with that turnlock or trip over it).
While I love shoes, I am not really a shoe person: I tend to buy shapes and designs that are well-made, but do not necessarily stand out (there’s usually enough going on with me between my hair, makeup and clothing; anything beyond that tends to put me over the top, or as I like to say, I look like the circus has come to town). Therefore, I lean towards designs that are in colors that work with my wardrobe and for various situations, and then I tend to wear my favorites over and over (and over!) again.
So it seems that the Carlotta is not for everyone, as it’s either going to be hard to get* or not suitable style wise. Hermès makes a number of other mule styles that are worth a look. May I suggest a few alternatives?
The Calya Mule
Well, this first suggestion is almost cheating, as it’s very similar to the Carlotta and was the other shoe that went down the runway for Hermès Spring-Summer 2021 (it's also very visible on the Hermès.com website, having been paired with a majority of the season's RTW). However, for me this is the best alternative, as it’s basically the same shape as the Carlotta without the Kelly hardware; with the more subtle leather H across the top instead of the turnlock, the design is, for me, much easier to wear (I can live with the palladium studs), and although the Calya, too, has been sold out (from the boutiques that received it), I have been advised by a knowledgeable person from corporate Hermès that this has been reordered* (Hermès will do this when an item turns out to be much more popular than expected). I personally plan to buy a pair of these in cream, and wear them with my summery Zimmermann dresses for day or evening, but they would work with just about anything; jeans, dress pants, the Hermès website even pairs them with shorts.
The Oz Mule
The Oz Mule is very similar to the Carlotta in that it’s a mule with the Kelly turnlock hardware. The plus is that the Oz has been around for quite a bit longer and it’s now available in different hardware (including rose gold, as above) and materials (suede, velvet) as well as a variety of colors. The downside is that this is truly a mule and not a clog. It’s a much flatter shoe (the Carlotta has more of a platform sole with the heel as part of the sole; the Oz has a minimal heel which is attached to the sole as a separate piece). Still, if you like the look of the Carlotta, you might want to give the Oz a try.
The Catena Mule
What the Oz is to the Carlotta, the Catena is to the Calya: the simple, stylized H of the Calya mounted on the smaller, flatter sole and heel of the Oz. At first glance, it can be tricky to tell the difference between the Catena and the Calya (I’ve mistaken them once or twice): visually the look is the same, except the height of the heel and the studs (there is another minor difference between the Carlotta and the other mules, and that is where the top of the shoe meets the bottom along the side; you may notice that the slope of the leather extends further down the side towards the back on the Calya, Oz and Catena [actually, it’s the distance of four studs on the Calya] than on the Carlotta [three studs’ distance].
The Beauty Mule
This mule is styled a bit differently than the other shoes, but is still a nice mule at a good price (for Hermès). The Beauty Mule is another day-to-night mule style that has a subtle, stylized H buckle and strap (Hermès calls is a “Hapi” buckle, like the bracelet). The buckle has black rhinestones on it and it’s currently available in velvet so it’s not as easily casual as the other shoes, but it’s a very pretty and wearable mule with a shape similar to the others.
The Blossom Mule
I’ll admit finding a fifth shoe to suggest was kind of tricky. The details of the Carlotta: slide, platform sole, turnlock design, covered toe - aren’t similar to any other Hermès besides the ones discussed above. Indeed, it’s hard to find any Hermès shoe that has a platform sole which isn’t an espadrille or a sneaker. Some of their mules have open toes, or a flatter sole, or completely different hardware. So while the Blossom has the open back, covered toe, turnlock styling and it isn’t a flat, the compromise is that it has a stacked 2.4” heel, not a platform sole. However, this a great option for those who prefer this kind of heel, which gives you a similar look while being a bit more of a classic style.
*By the way, I am happy to serve personally as a clearinghouse for availability information regarding the Carlotta and the Calya. If you know any of either shoe available for sale at an Hermès boutique, feel free to send me a DM in Instagram; any info I get, for those still seeking these shoes, I will post in my stories. You can also check Fashionphile as they do have some options available.