Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 22 April 2011

Gieves And Hawkes - The Launch

I love life! Curious fact of the week - Eritrea has been the 10th biggest traffic source to this blog over the last week. So to you all you Eritreans, I love you guys!

What an amazing week! Tuesday saw the official launch of the fully refurbished Gieves and Hawkes flagship store at No 1 Savile Row. It was marked with a Press Day which was attended by the great and the good of the international luxury press.

The Other One and I took it turns to make shoes in the Goldfish Bowl while the other, press pack in hand, chatted, schmoozed and generally charmed the assembled luminaries. We met some very influential people, including editors from Wallpaper, GQ, Esquire, Mens Health and various journalists from the FT, Times, Sunday Times, Quintessentially, Metro, ES, Telegraph and a host of freelancers (and that was just the ones I met, The Other One met a whole lot more). So if that little lot doesn't get us some coverage, I'll swallow my newly sharpened knife.

Number 1 is completed and it looks amazing. The final piece of the jigsaw, the Map Room, with its newly expanded gallery looks superb and provides the link that all the previously completed areas needed to make a coherent and welcoming whole. The building itself is a beautiful canvas on which to create, and John Durnin, CEO, and his team have done a marvellous job, full of humour and curiosity.

They aimed to create a destination retail space for the modern English man, and to do this they have incorporated new elements. This is where we and the other concessions (Bentleys, Gentlemen's Tonic and Bill Amberg) fit in, providing services which Gieves previously didn't offer. Add to this the new environment, with its comfortable sofas, eclectic vintage furniture and David Hicks inspired decoration, you get a place where a gentleman (and the odd scoundrel) can outfit himself; shod himself; get the best shoe shine in London; get a wet shave; a new wallet; and buy a gift for the other half, all under one roof.

But I think the crowning glory is the gallery upstairs where the Gieves military archive has its new home. This space is open to the public and houses some of the most amazing military coats, helmets, swords, and general martial paraphernalia, all watched over by the tame seagull, Horatio. It is like a museum itself and takes a good half an hour to look round. I especially like the orders for equipment from the Duke of Wellington and Lord Nelson.

Horatio On His Perch

And for those of you who like bespoke (suits or shoes), there are hidden areas where VIPs are taken which house further treasures not open to the general public. The Bespoke Lounge on the first floor is beautiful (I want my front room to look like that, well, maybe without the Damian Hirst above the fireplace) and the portrait wall at the top of the art laden Georgian staircase (Bridget Riley, Banksey, etc) is fantastic - Prince William to Michael Jackson, Sean Connery to Princess Diana, David Beckham to David Niven, they are all there, all the icons dressed by Gieves and Hawkes.

I think it is fantastic that Gieves' heritage has been placed front and centre, and I am especially pleased that carréducker is a part of this exciting rebirth.

Come and see us the next time you are in the West End. We are all very friendly and you won't want to leave!

The View From The Gallery

Right A Bit

Up A Bit. That Ceiling Is A Talking Point

Myself And The Other One. We Scrub Up Nice!

Shoe Lights - It's Art, Baby!

Front Of House


Justin Fitzpatrick, aka The Shoe Snob, Giving A Military Shine

So, fellow shoemakers of the world, have a great Easter weekend, and, until next week, happy shoemaking!