Yesterday I was taking a quick look through a normally unproductive thrift store when my eyes were drawn to an interesting shoe. There among the square toe Reactions and ground-down Cole-Haans was a dusty wingtip in a sort of cognac/armagnac color. Two things stood out immediately: (1)the color, of course, a liquory honey brown with lots of darker color mixed in, and (2) the extensive and somewhat eccentric brougueing--the toe medallion seemed to be something of a stylized Scottish thistle (a motif echoed elsewhere) and nearly every surface of the shoe was confidently decorated in some way. My first thought was that it looked like one of the older Stuart's Choice shoes I've seen occasionally, but when I looked inside I was surprised to find a faint stamped crest with the words Made In England Exclusively For Nordstrom. Nordstrom was printed in a typeface that I recall going back to the early 1980s if not earlier. I didn't have a lot of time and I nearly put them back, but I was really curious to see what that antiqueing would look like cleaned up a bit, so I forked over the $ 4.99 and headed home. At this point I was only thinking that these must be a fairly normal private label deal with one of the Northampton makers (even with that crazy brogueing--what was I thinking?.). Anyway, this morning I put in some shoe trees, got out the saddle soap and started to go over the shoes (no mean feat with all those holes). And I was really stunned by the results. With one application of saddle soap the shoes took on an amazing soft glow and the shoe trees drew attention to the very finely sculpted waist. At this point I started to look at the shoes a bit more closely and realized that the sole was exactly like every older Edward Green shoe I had ever seen, with the Made In England stamp, the little curved bit in front of the heel, and the distinctive arrangement of pins in the heel--three groups of three on the inside, two groups of three on the outside, and a single pin in the middle. Written by hand inside the shoe is the size (10D) followed by 201 and then 4508. Generically at least, 508 sounds like it could be an Edward Green last, even though I don't recall ever hearing any mention of this particular number. So I'm pretty convinced that these are Greens. I'd be interested to hear some opinions, though. I've never been too impressed with the Nordstrom shoe offerings, but here's no reason why Nordstrom wouldn't have contracted with Edward Green for such a private label offering. As I recall, EG wasn't nearly so well known back then, certainly didn't boast the cult following they enjoy today, and probably did this sort of thing regularly. I guess the key questions would be, Is there a 508 last? Is the arrangement of pins in the heel a reliable indicator of the maker?
post #1 of 9
4/24/05 at 4:07am