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.
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.
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