Marsèll – how a tough-looking capsule collection for Mr Porter got me excited about Italian-made shoes all over again
It’s been a good old while, and fittingly my return to blogging is on the subject of shoes, a subject in which I have a perennial interest and am always happy to be associated with.
Mr Porter bravely declared itself the home of the world’s best shoes recently, and a well-lubricated event at their Westfield HQ demonstrated their handle on high-end footwear, from the trad to the defiantly un-trad (hello Rick Owens futurist trainers). Among the exclusives on offer (an impressive list: Grenson, Officine Creative, Filling Pieces, Neil Barrett, Christopher Kane and more) I came across the Marsèll brand for the first time, specifically in the form of an impressive pair of black boots, featuring a distinguished contrast between two very differently-treated leathers.
Opening Ceremony recently launched a capsule collection with Teva, the brand responsible for the kind of ‘leisure sandals’ worn with socks by American tourists of a certain age, and given similarly-dubious reknown through the style’s popularity with younger backpackers the world over. The Opening Ceremony brand however is unlikely to be affected by such associations, in the promo shots each sandal in the range is paired with a bold choice of sock, declaring war loudly and proudly on unimaginative commenters. Growing up in California, it’s likely that Leon and Lim associate the Teva brand with more practical concerns, like scrambling up valleys and canyons in actual sunshine and the range embraces the practicality of the design at the same time as adding such outré urban details as gold and silver metallic nylon … Read More »
The recipients of New Gen Men, one of London’s most highly regarded initiatives for fledgling menswear design talent, were announced this week by the BFC. Backed by Topman, the scheme provides successful recipients with tailored mentoring support alongside their sponsorship, with a view to helping these emerging designers build their businesses. Among the latest line-up (and receiving the New Gen funding for the second time running) is shoe designer Diego Vanassibara. Diego cuts a dash not only with his unique personal style but also as the solitary men’s shoe designer within the line-up of colourful, largely East London-based fashion designers.
I caught up with Diego in his refreshingly leafy, suburban studio to discuss all things shoes. Originally from the South of Brazil, Diego initially studied architecture in his native country. Finding … Read More »
Grenson x LC:M designer collaborations: Sibling, Katie Eary, Matthew Miller, Agi & Sam, Christopher Raeburn, Craig Green.
Showing a very timely allegiance to London’s up-and-coming menswear designers, Grenson has just announced a range of collaborations with the cream of LC:M designers, available through Mr Porter. Following three successful seasons of working with designer Lou Dalton on footwear for her collections, this surely makes Grenson THE British shoemaker most aligned with the new generation of design talent in our menswear industry. Usually when such a batch of collaborations is announced, there are obvious hits among the range and others likely to languish in the Sale corner. For once, I’m having a difficult time choosing a favourite, though Matthew Miller‘s crocodile embossed leather derbies and Agi & Sam’s very grown-up monkstraps are most definitely contenders. Following the announcement of a flagship … Read More »
As a confirmed shoe obsessive my camera lens is often to be found pointing at floor level when attending fashion shows and presentations, even when footwear isn’t the intended focus. At the recent London shows there were two strong themes evident, which have continued on into the Milan and Paris collections.
Firstly there was a definite element of fashion following the austerity agenda with simple, utilitarian shoes on display, apparently reflecting the uniforms of working men (quite literally on the wet pavements at Topman Design). And secondly, we saw the continuing influence of trainers and sportswear details in high-fashion footwear.
However, this being fashion, looks can be deceiving, so apparently straightforward shapes like simple workaday oxfords turned out to have a subtle, metallic sheen (as at Common) or were high-gloss with elements of bright colour at the sole … Read More »
At the recent menswear shows I caught a glimpse of some of the more adventurous summer footwear heading our way next year: glossy winkle pickers at Jonathan Saunders, bright suede espadrilles at Mr Hare, and endless variations on high-tech, luxury trainers and printed pumps. Colourful monkstrap shoes are also set to be popular.
Summer footwear for men can be a challenge: no one really wants to (or should) be wearing sticky flip-flops on their daily commute, sandals often divide opinion and preppy boat shoes and loafers are just looking a bit tired. With all that in mind, here are a couple of my current summer favourites: a smart sandal and a high-tech, futuristic trainer.
The sandals are from British brand Read More »
Wedge or ripple, Sir? And no, I’m not asking you for you choice of summer ice cream, but, in fact, to choose your shoe sole of choice. White Vibram soles are still widely seen on the street but as an acclaimed trend, the black ridged sole has it cornered. And Grenson has both on offer for SS12. Grenson make some of the most comfortable, and well made shoes out there. On trend, but unlikely to get you caught out in a microtrend that finishes badly, they’ve moved into first place in my hunt for something on the sturdier side for those less temperate spring days with a Vibram soled brogue in a beautiful, burnished grey.
Spring is definitely here, and with it the final Spring Shoe Watch of the season. I have to confess … Read More »
I first came across Maians at Liberty last summer in the form of some delightful canvas loafers, complete with kiltie tassels, in gorgeous candy colours. I fell in love instantly but clearly lots of other Liberty-frequenters had got there first, as the only sizes left were teeny-tiny; somehow in keeping with their candy-coloured theme. Visiting amigos in Barcelona a few weeks later, and spotting the shoes everywhere, it dawned on me that Maians is a Barcelona brand, though I still failed to turn up a pair in my size.
I was therefore thrilled to run into them again at the inaugural Jacket Required a short while later, and to find out more about them from the super-friendly team. I was equally thrilled not only to confirm the Barcelona connection (one of my all-time favourite cities) but to see that the colour range for SS12 includes a range of peach, rusts and yellows; very much my favourite span of colours currently. Their UK rep; Michael, told us that the current collection is inspired by tapas; specifically the colours of key ingredients like saffron and smoky paprika, with materials including oh-so-current raffia, enhancing the natural theme. The peppy lookbook (displayed on iPad) was shot around the kinds of timeless tapas bars that make a trip to Spain such a joy.
I’m particularly enamoured of the saffron and paprika coloured loafers with tassels, but if you really want to air those tired London feet, they also offer the kind of open-weave, ‘riviera’ shoes that in Barcelona suggest old men playing petanca in a shady square. But don’t worry, there’s nothing old mannish about these shoes, particularly with the likes of DJ-du-jour Jamie Jones wearing them.
The accessible pricing of this range of Maians presents a challenge to the shoe addict: make or choice or by them all? I can’t wait to get my hands on at least a couple of pairs and add some pep into my step this summer with a splash of Barça flair. Hopefully with the availability of such natural, hand-made beauties we’ll see fewer flip-flops on our grimy streets.
This afternoon’s pick is the saddle shoe by Florsheim by Duckie Brown, as captured here in the Duckie’s West Village studio back in September. The saddle shoes in question are fourth from the left and right respectively. More detailed pics to follow as the collection hits the stores, consider this an appetiser. Or follow progess on their Facebook page.
If there’s one thing that’s likely to put a spring in my step and that says ‘new season’ to me it’s a new pair of shoes. So today sees the start of a series of posts on the best shoes for Spring Summer 2012. To start us off, here is a quick Q&A I did with (relatively new) shoe designer Mr Armando Cabral, some shots of the current season Cabral shoes I’ve been wearing of late, as well as some views of the SS12 collection to whet your appetite for some new season colour. Having just returned from Thailand, colour is something I’ve been craving, after swapping warm smiles, tropical flowers and blue skies for interminably grey London. I’m determined that Spring 2012 will require you to wear sunglasses, at least whilst I’m around.
It turned out that Mr Cabral and I have more than a little in common: birthdays only a few days apart, a love of Portugal (New York resident Armando grew up there) a fondness for exploring Brooklyn, a couple of mutual friends, and what goes almost without saying, a love of beautiful, finely made mens shoes.