Hi Mr. G! Thanks for stopping in. I have an unrelated question for you, if you can spare the time (I'm sure you can't, but always manage to give us some anyway). It's regarding the finishing of shell cordovan (what else). Many of us have noticed that the finishing of shell products from your company feels different these days. The burgundy color definitely seems darker, and the shells all around have a drier, more "matte" finish as opposed to the previous "glossy" traditional shell finish. Can you (would you) speak a little bit to how the process has changed recently, if at all? I have purchased three shell AE shoes since September, and they all seem to be on the dry side. They're still my babies, though!
Also, I'm sure that the Horween trunk shows caused a little bit of a headache logistically (and with customer expectations), but are there plans for any follow-ups, or were we just the luck few for a one-time event?
Hi Patrick -- Nice to see your name come up and thanks for the question. This is interesting to me and I'll relay your feedback to our production leaders. We've actually been taking our finishings UP the glossiness scale, not down, in line with fashion trends. In fact, you'll notice when we introduce our new "Refined Dress" shoes for fall in a couple of months, that we've taken our finishings to the highest level in our history. The samples we've produced look fantastic, and I'm really excited about them and proud of the team that has been working on the new protocols to get them just right. So I'm puzzled as to why your shoes would be more "matted". The only thing I can say is that cordovan is way harder to get consitent than calfskin leathers, due to the nature of the hide and the process involved. Skip and Nick Horween do an amazing job with that leather, as you so well know, but it starts as an intra-dermous callous layer on the proverbial "south side of a horse heading north" (as my dad used to say) caused by the horse's running. The dermous both above and below the shell is shaved off by Horween artisans, and then there are layers and layers of wax and tint worked into the skin. How often, how long and where and for what purpose the horse ran before developing those callouses can have a big effect on how the shell will take the color and processing. It's quite a different storyline than those calves standing around in an Alpine meadow, getting fatted for meat processing and hide removal.
As for another cordovan trunk show -- stay tuned. We'll do it again!