A Winning Off-the-Rack Wardrobe
The Best Off-the-Rack Wardrobe
G. Bruce Boyer
From the Print Edition:
Linda Evangelista, Autumn 95
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Alden has been a New England shoemaker since 1884. The firm crafts a good variety of business and casual shoes, but one of its shoes stands out as an absolute model of the genre: the Alden original penny loafer. Handsewn on a last, with true welting, in black and burgundy genuine-shell cordovan leather (at $360), it is the real thing.
795 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10021
Gaetano Crisci began making custom shoes in a small workshop in Milan 100 years ago. Today, the Criscis are still there, albeit in a larger workshop outside the city. But there is still the meticulous care for detail and soft leathers that characterize their elegant footwear. Crisci is particularly good for a variety of slip-on models--the "Emerson" model driving shoe in honey-colored pebble-grained calfskin is a marvel, priced at $410. Other styles from $350.
Edward Green & Company: at Paul Stuart
Madison Avenue at 45th Street, New York, New York 10017
"We are English master shoemakers to the few," is how John Hlustik, manager of Edward Green, likes to put it. "The few" include the Queen's own Household Cavalry, for whom the firm makes those handsome knee-high, glossy black riding boots. Other customers are merely aristocracy, statesmen, celebrities and gentlemen. Only the most stately brogues, monk straps and slip-ons will be found here, although they are known to do an exceptional snuff suede chukka boot and a marvelous antique green velvet Albert slipper as well. Prices begin at $455.
John Lobb: at Hermes
11 East 57th Street, New York, New York 10019
Lobb is the world's most famous shoemaker. The firm opened its London shop in 1850 and a Paris branch in 1902. In 1976, Lobb introduced its ready-to-wear line in Paris at Hermes. It takes 15 skilled craftsmen, using only the best box calf (as well as a few exotic leathers), to produce the 35 styles offered in sizes 6 1/2 to 11 1/2 (in widths B to EE). Priced from $450 to $725.
730 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10019
Each pair of bench-made Mantellassi shoes receives 22 hours of handwork. The uppers are shaped on a last over an open flame, left to settle, then hand-welted to the soles, creating what many consider to be a perfect fit. The firm makes an extensive range of styles, but it is known for a distinctive square-toed design derived from seventeenth-century Italian styles. Priced from $350.
J. M. Weston
42 East 57th Street, New York, New York 10022
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