Black or a shade of brown? Hardly spoilt for choice on the menu but this is the decision we are faced with most of the time when it comes to shopping for shoes. Many good shoemakers do offer alternatives but finding them can take its toll on a buyer. Like most things, we tend to buy from places of familiarity and where we feel comfortable. So we brush it off and conform to the shades most widely available rather than inconvenience ourselves.
I suggest finding a dedicated quality shoemaker, one with heritage and whose main business is making shoes. It is here you'll find options for a variety of shades or even a custom patina if you so choose. A patina develops over time as a result of aging and the build-up of layers of polish, adding character to an otherwise mundane pair. You can also choose to apply a custom patina, which in itself is a painstakingly intensive process, but you'll need to find an artisan which is no mean feat. Berluti's patina artisans are world renowned and truly create works of art, but not many have the luxury of that choice and Paris has a lot of options for that matter. With a little bit of patience and some luck, you'll find a passionate artisan to grace your pair with subtle elegance or a colorful personality. One you'll proudly admire and favor, you're favorite child so to speak (but won't admit of course).
For those in Toronto seeking a custom patina, Emmanuel Farré at Loding is a godsend for a city hard-pressed in such matters. For more on him and his story, The Hogtown Rake's piece is quite inspirational.
Photos: Casa di Sartoria