Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Saturday, 22 October 2011

October '11 Trunk Show Part 2 - New York City

So after a great few days in Chicago (great city,by the way), we went last Sunday to the Plaza in New York for Round 2. Recently renovated, we had a super luxurious suite on the 12th Floor - gorgeous. As you can see, the room looked wonderful.

We saw plenty of customers, both for fittings and new orders, so, all in, a successful trip. Can't wait for March when we return.

Met a couple of aspiring shoemakers on Tuesday evening which was good. Keep up the good work - you know who you are!

There was talk from various old students and others of doing a masterclass of some sort when we are there next May for the regular class. To do something advanced like a bevelled waist or Norwegian welt. So just sounding out a potential audience, are there any of you out there who would sign up for such a thing? The format is uncertain. It could be a practical class where you do it, or a demo where we show you how it's done.
Let us know what you think.

Wednesday morning at 10.30 saw the last customer appointment and then we packed up and went home. Spent a great afternoon with our friend Jesse, including a trip to Evolution, a great store in Soho which specialises in bugs, butterflies, skeletons, fossils and taxidermy. I love that stuff! And a trip to The Morgan Library And Museum rounded off the afternoon. French drawings from the Louvre at the time of the French Revolution. The kind of mix of high art and popular culture you only get when shown round a place by a local.

And so to JFK for our flight home. Unfortunately we had a 4 hour delay, so I am now a tripped out space cadet who is just waking up as midnight approaches. So much for melatonin. No escaping jet lag people!

But back home I am and very pleased too. It was a great trip, met a lot of new customers and I believe it will be the start of something big for carréducker.

Next week will be service as normal (if I am not still in la la land). So, until then fellow shoemakers of the world, happy shoemaking.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

History Of A Shoe Part 2

I know that James will want to tell you all about his travels in person next week, so for this week's post I'm going to catch up with two shoemaking stories we have been following over the last few posts...and to remind you to come along to say hello when we are making in the Gieves & Hawkes flagship store window next week, to celebrate St Crispin's and St Hugh's Day.

The first shoemaking story is our new offering of rubber-soled bespoke shoes and the first pair of bespoke shoes with rubber soles, due to be delivered to our customer next week.
We prepare the shoes as usual by hand but when it comes to welting we welt all of the way around the shoe creating what is called a welted seat at the heel. Our welts come pre-cut so we have to attached an extra section to complete the welt. where the welt sections are joined together, the ends have to be bevelled where they overlap so that they create a single, even thickness welt all the way around.Then the shoes are sent to a specialist company which attaches the sole and trims, stains and finishes it. We are really excited to be able to offer customers an alternative to leather soles and to be able to offer a more flexible choice of bespoke styles. Crepe soled, nubuck desert boots anybody?
Rather handsome don't you agree? Already a bespoke customer, our client wanted a pair of walking shoes for the weekends and chose a traditional English grain derby for the uppers. the sole is a Dainite sole (our favourite) which is sturdy enough for a good country walk, but not so cleated that the wearer ends up with half an inch of mud stuck to the bottom of his shoes.

We hope that he is thrilled as we are when we deliver them to him.

The second part of this post continues James' 'History of a shoe' post. Once made, the all-white shoes were sent with a watch strap as inspiration to be antiqued. Unfortunately they look quite blue in the pictures but are actually a subtle combination of purpley grey and black.
They have been stripped back and layer upon layer of dye has been applied to achieve this wonderful patina...

The same wonderful polisher transformed our acorn brogue oxford and loafers... gorgeous aren't they?

Don't forget to look out for us in Gieves window next Tuesday if you are passing. Until next week then, happy shoemaking and happy St Crispin's Day!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

One down one to go!

So word from the USA is that Chicago was a great success with new orders taken and our new Mayfair collection and the offer of rubber soled bespoke going down a storm.

Mr Ducker will be heading off to NY today ready for two and a half days in the glamorous surroundings of The Plaza on Central Park (who says a shoemaker's life is all hard work and no fun?) Yes, he'll be working but I think that the view alone will be worth it! Wish us luck in New York - remember to put word about to the bespoke fans out there!

In the mean time here are some shots of the styles we showed in Chicago - elegant styles in what is a very beautiful city by all accounts...can't wait, my turn next time!