FIND­ING YOUR SOLE MATE Be­spoke and cus­tom-made shoes

Ne­tra Venkatesh­waran lists the ser­vices of lux­ury la­bels that have per­fected the art of cus­tom footwear

Business Traveller (India) - - CONTENTS - chris­tian­

Apart from com­plet­ing your out­fit, the shoes you wear en­hance your over­all ap­pear­ance. Be it sharp ox­fords for a cor­po­rate meet or sporty moc­casins for a round of golf, a pair of shoes can make all the dif­fer­ence to the way you look and feel.

Have you ever thought of cus­tomis­ing your shoes? With more and more la­bels of­fer­ing cus­tomi­sa­tion ser­vices, this is no more far-fetched. Listed be­low are lux­ury fash­ion houses that of­fer be­spoke or made to mea­sure shoes that can cre­ate soles to match your souls.


Chris­tian Louboutin of­fers a made to or­der ser­vice for wed­ding shoes. The pat­tern of the bride’s or groom’s out­fit can be im­printed on your choice of footwear. The first step is to pick a type — op­tions in­clude stilet­tos, pumps or flats. A sketch is drawn in the Louboutin store based on a pic­ture pre­sented by you or as per your de­scrip­tion. Af­ter a de­tailed dis­cus­sion, the shoe can ei­ther be de­signed to im­i­tate the em­broi­dery on your bri­dal wear or the colours of the out­fit, or both. The sketch is drawn in In­dia and then sent off to the shoe­mak­ers in Paris to bring the il­lus­tra­tion to life. To add a per­sonal touch, your ini­tials and an­niver­sary date can be printed on the sole of your shoes. Louboutin also of­fers a ser­vice that al­lows cus­tomi­sa­tion of shoes with tat­too de­signs in its stores lo­cated in Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Los An­ge­les and London. They house its Tat­too Par­lour that of­fers this ser­vice. The staff will take a pic­ture of your tat­too and send the im­age to Paris to be worked on.You can then pick the type of shoe, fab­ric, em­broi­dery, colours and the place­ment of your tat­too de­sign. The French shoe­maker also of­fers a ser­vice that cre­ates spe­cial or­der shoes. This ser­vice, avail­able world­wide, makes sense if you’re look­ing for a spe­cific colour on a spe­cific type of shoe. You can se­lect from a wide range of cat­e­gories for both men and women, in­clud­ing loafers, sneak­ers, stilet­tos or pumps. They can be bought at about 30 to 35 per cent higher than the usual re­tail price.


Bri­tish shoe­maker John Lobb has been around for the past cen­tury of­fer­ing cus­tomers a “By Re­quest” ser­vice across its global stores, in­clud­ing those in In­dia. Over­all, it has a list of around a hun­dred orig­i­nal styles with which you be­gin the cus­tomi­sa­tion. The first step is to pick the type of shoe you de­sire from ox­fords, der­bies, buck­les, loafers or an­kle boots. One of the best­sellers un­der this is John Lobb’s Le­vah, a name coined for its ex­clu­sive sneak­ers. Choose be­tween grain leather or suede, and then se­lect the body for your shoe. To dress it up, you can pick from mu­seum calf (calf leather that has been pre-treated in or­der to ob­tain a mar­ble-like ef­fect), crocodile or lizard skin. Next, you can se­lect from a pal­ette of 15 shades. While cus­tomis­ing the sole of your shoe as per your foot size, you have an op­tion to pick John Lobb’s weath­er­re­sis­tant rub­ber soles that as­sure added com­fort. The next stage is se­lect­ing a suit­able width for your cus­tomised shoe out of the four avail­able widths. The fi­nal touch is the em­bel­lish­ment of your shoe with buck­les; choose from gold, rose gold, an­thracite and pal­la­dium colours. To com­plete the prod­uct, your ini­tials are mono­grammed on the sole. john­


At Louis Vuit­ton, pro­lific crafts­men based in Fiesso d’Ar­tico, a sub­urb of Venice, cre­ate cus­tomised shoes un­der its “Made to Or­der” ser­vice. In stage one, you de­scribe the shoe you de­sire, on the ba­sis of which a sketch is drafted. The shoe draw­ing is then con­verted into a 3D wooden model that is mapped out ac­cord­ing to the pre­cise mea­sure­ments of your foot. Next, you se­lect the type of shoe you’re look­ing for — ox­fords, der­bies, buck­led shoes or an­kle boots. Ac­cord­ing to Louis Vuit­ton, the third stage is fun­da­men­tal as this is when you pick the leather you’d like your shoe to be dressed in; op­tions in­clude al­li­ga­tor, patent, os­trich, grained, suede or python. Af­ter the leather is se­lected, you go on to choos­ing the colour for your shoe. A swatch with eight shades in­clud­ing black, navy and green is laid out. If you pick al­li­ga­tor or calf skin leather, LV ar­ti­sans will com­ple­ment it with a patina (thin glossy film) fin­ish. The fifth stage ex­em­pli­fies the “im­por­tance of the sole”. In­flu­enced by Nor­we­gian stitch­ing, the shoe’s sole is thus as­sem­bled. The fi­nal stage is where you can se­lect the width of the shoe for ut­most com­fort. Louis Vuit­ton’s trade­mark and your ini­tials are hot stamped on the sole to com­plete your very own cus­tomised mas­ter­piece. In In­dia, LV stores can guide you through be­spoke ser­vices on­line and send your cus­tomised or­der to the brand’s flag­ship store in Paris. The process takes about six to eight weeks and some­times even as long as six months to com­plete. louisvuit­


Salvatore Ferragamo, fa­mous for fine footwear, of­fers semi-be­spoke ser­vices with “Cus­tomise your own

Tramezza*”. These shoes are man­u­fac­tured with an ex­tra lay­er­ing be­tween the sole and in­sole, of­fer­ing “durable com­fort” through added cush­ion­ing. Ferragamo’s web­site guides you through four main stages of cre­at­ing your shoes.You can pick from three shoe styles — cap-toe ox­ford, dou­ble monk-strap and monk-strap boot. The body of the shoe is cus­tomised in the next stage. All three styles can be crafted out of ei­ther smooth calf­skin, shrunken calf­skin, suede or crocodile skin. There is a shade pal­ette for each leather type — ten colours in smooth calf­skin, four in shrunken calf­skin, five shades for suede and six hues in crocodile skin. Fi­nally, the last stage is the im­print­ing of your ini­tials on the sole of the shoe, in or­der to com­plete the per­son­al­i­sa­tion. In In­dia, the be­spoke ser­vices have been dis­con­tin­ued but you can still avail of the per­son­alised tramezza ser­vice via Ferragamo’s web­site. Q

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