Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 28 October 2011

St Crispin's Day 2011

With the arrival of St. Crispin's Day, we at carréducker thought we ought to celebrate the patron saint of shoemakers' feast day with an event (and before I forget, it must also be said that our own St Hugh sits happily alongside St Crispin as another patron saint of shoemakers, hence the name for our tools, St Hugh's bones). So we decided to have a week of live shoemaking demonstrations in the window of the Gieves and Hawkes' flagship store at Number 1 Savile Row.

With the window dressed as an old time shoemakers' workshop, complete with low table; vintage tools; leathers; lasts; and a few of our finest bespoke shoes of course, Deborah and I have sat in there making shoes and entertaining the passing shoppers. Although the weather has not been entirely kind to us all week, passers-by have shown a huge interest, with crowds, 3 deep at times, peering in and stopping for long periods.

We started on Tuesday which was St Crispin's Day itself, and to get into the spirit of the window, Deborah dressed in vintage clothing, rounded off with a splendid top hat from Bentleys. She looked quite Dickensian and turned many a head.

Here she is lasting a pair for a fitting. As you can see, the space is tiny, but we shoemakers can make a little go a long way.

I love this shot with the three people ghosted in the reflection. The public really enjoyed the show. It is not often they get to see a traditional craft such as ours at such close quarters.

Deborah also made a twenty minute black and white video of us working in the Bloomsbury workshop. This is running on a loop on a vintage TV which looks fantastic, complete with silent movie style captions and shaky camera work (not sure if that is deliberate or not). It runs through all the processes an fills the time when we are on breaks from the demonstrations.

This is the view of the whole window from across the street. More pictures can be seen on the website.

All in all, it has been a great week for us. And I think St Crispin and St Hugh must have also enjoyed the celebrations and smiled down upon us because we have had a bumper week of orders - excellent!

And that, dear shoemakers of the world, is a wrap. We hope you have enjoyed the week and we look forward to meeting up again next Friday. Until then though, happy shoemaking!