Sunday, May 27, 2007
Martegani side-lace shoe in tobacco waterproof suede (3B last). No, it's not the shoe to the left. That's a bespoke shoe from GJ Cleverley, and I had wanted a shoe like it since I saw it in Cleverley's catalogue a few years ago. The problem is that I didn't want to pay the $3000 that it would have cost to get a pair from Cleverley, especially because I wasn't sure about how I would like the shoe. So I asked around various RTW shoemaking firms that take special orders. Edward Green told me that they had a side-lace pattern but that they threw it out when they moved a number of years ago. (Why would any shoemaker ever throw out a pattern? It's not like they take up much space -- they're just flat pieces of cardboard.) Vass had a shoe somewhat similar to this, although the overall effect was not nearly as sleek as the Cleverley shoe. Gravati couldn't do it. Martegani could, so I placed an order. Eight months later, I had heard nothing. Ron Rider, the US agent for Martegani, enquired (for about the third time) and understood the order to have been canceled for some reason, probably because of the pattern. Oh, well, I thought. Then a couple of months later, he contacted me to tell me that he had misunderstood: he had the shoes. Did I still want them? Sure, I replied. And so that's how I got my Cleverley-imitation side-lace shoes. I like them. The 3B last doesn't fit me perfectly, the tongue on the side of the foot isn't the most comfortably thing in the world, and the side laces are hard to tie. But they're good-looking shoes, and you don't see others like them every day. I should know: I looked.