Shoes maketh the (English)man

Be­spoke shoe­maker Tony Gaziano might be jet­ting off across Asia and Amer­ica, but he fully em­braces his English roots. He shares with Jes­sica Chan the hid­den gems of his sto­ried home.

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He’s made shoes for Ralph Lau­ren and Ermenegildo Zegna Cou­ture and dressed the feet of celebri­ties like Henry Cav­ill and Léa Sey­doux. Tony Gaziano, co-founder of Gaziano & Gir­ling, is one of Sav­ile Row’s finest be­spoke shoe­mak­ers.

I met with the debonair 45-year-old at Kevin Seah Be­spoke’s ate­lier – where his readyto-wear and made-to­order se­lec­tions are avail­able – dur­ing one of his cov­eted trunk shows. While nurs­ing his whisky, the English­man shares how he, an ar­chi­tec­ture school drop-out, made a serendip­i­tous de­ci­sion to join the de­sign depart­ment of a shoe fac­tory and, even­tu­ally, rose to be­come an in­ter­na­tional au­thor­ity on made-to-or­der leather shoes. “Shoes grew on me,” he chuck­led “I knew I wanted to be in fash­ion or lux­ury, but it was only af­ter 18 months on the job (at the fac­tory) did I re­alise how much I en­joyed it.” Sub­se­quently, Gaziano worked at English shoe­mak­ers Ed­ward Green and Clev­erly. The lat­ter is where he met busi­ness part­ner (and the other half of Gaziano & Gir­ling), Dean Gir­ling. He later roped Gir­ling into Ed­ward Green. He’d made the last and leather, while Gir­ling would com­plete the stitch­ing of each shoe. Six years on, Gaziano & Gir­ling was born in sto­ried Northamp­ton­shire, Eng­land. From there, he’d make reg­u­lar trips to Sav­ile Row where their flag­ship store is; their New York show­room; and wher­ever their many trunk shows take him.

What makes Gaziano & Gir­ling stand out from other be­spoke shoe­mak­ers and lux­ury brands?

It boils down to Dean and my deep un­der­stand­ing of qual­ity, from the ex­per­tise of last mak­ing to the leather used. You’d get a prod­uct that’s al­most or­na­men­tal, as if it is some­thing you can ad­mire. We fly down to big cities of Asia – in fact, our ini­tial clients were Ja­panese and Amer­i­cans – just for fit­tings. We bring the Bri­tish be­spoke shoe-mak­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to our clients’ doorsteps.

China Tang Althorpe Es­tate Puri Gane­sha xxx

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