I know that, im not that ignorant, I didn't want to make the post too long, the point was the comment about the money, I respect you and your collection because its valuable and that is what you and others like, that's perfect. But others don't
I will be sure to post some vintage shoes that better represent my point. More traditional shapes and styles. While I have a soft spot for wild styles and extreme gunboats, there is so much more. Some 1940's Budapest in tan with a hand-stitch that much resembles your goyser vass (which I love)? It will be fun.
This is the key. Preferring the best that modern-day EG and G&G have to offer to the best of Isshinryu's shoes might be legitimate and just a difference in taste. Preferring something dully pleasant like Carmina or Alfred Sargent just indicates an undeveloped eye.
This thread would be so boring if it was all modern rtw.
The question every shoe aficionado should ask himself is what draws you to high end shoes?
Is it the leather? By every objective measure the leather in decades and even centuries past was far superior to what we have available to us today.
Is it the workmanship? Even the best of Isshy's collections probably don't represent the unfathomable...almost painfully exquisite...workmanship that was done in the past. I say unfathomable because even for someone who is in the Trade, it is hard to imagine how such fine work could have been done. I say "painfully" exquisite because it hurts to know that if I lived to be a hundred, I could not duplicate such refinement and neither could any other bespoke maker I am aware of (and it's at least partially the quality of the leather--"64 to the inch". Say no more). By comparison, much of what is considered top shelf among bespoke makers...nevermind manufacturers...is rough at best.
Fit? Too much is lost to the expediency of the profit motive to make any rational judgment. The manufacturers can't really compete...don't really try...and bespoke is too dependent on variables such as the level of customer involvement/input--as it always has been.
Finish? Too often finish is not only a matter of fashion trends and vague "artistic" interpretations, it is actually a cover-up for poor quality leathers. The old guys didn't do "finishes" not because they didn't know how, but because they not only didn't need to, they quite deliberately wanted the leather to speak for itself.
What's left comes down to style versus substance...brand name cachet, marketing hype, boxes.
I, personally, cannot conceive of a mind-set that claims to love quality shoes yet cannot see and appreciate the quality of that lost aesthetic and those forgotten standards of workmanship.
Old shoes are old shoes and thats that. I wouldnt want them and wouldnt want to wear them. They just look goofy like a 1920s/1930s gangster. I understand the last and types of shoes have been reused but all those weird leathers and overall aesthetic does not do it for me.
I used to frequent this thread quiet often and then the vintage shoes started coming in here and i stopped viewing it. I know the mods ruled that all shoes are welcome but i still disagree. Hence, i go directly to the Carmina/Alden/GG threads to see cool shoes.
I feel sorry for your thinking Carmina/Alden/GG as cool shoes...
DWF, can you say more about the difference in leather quality? Is there a difference in how the hides are processed, the types of animals used?
As I understand it, a lot of it is in the way they are raised. Cattle hides are raised on corn and in unstressed environments these days. Again it comes down to profit margins and "time is money."
June Swann (former curator of the Shoe Collection at the Northamptom Museum) brought the issue of 64 stitches to the inch to the attention of my colleagues, if not the world.
In a discussion on the Crispin Colloquy several members actually tried to duplicate that work. At one point June describes a shoemaker working for several years wearing three (?) pairs of glasses just to see the stitches. No one on the Colloquy could get close. Rees--The Art and Mystery of a Cordwainer, by John F. Rees, London, 1813--claimed that to do it he had to use an awl so fine that when he slipped and pierced the base of his thumb it neither hurt nor bled and that as a "bristle" (read "needle) he had used a hair from his young daughter's head.
I tried and I think I got something like forty and I had to wear magnifying glasses. And it was rough/crude, I'm here to tell you.
But the only way it could be done was on kangaroo. And June herself said that kangaroo was possibly the only contemporary leather that might hold the stitch...might. Kangaroo is dense and the strongest leather known to man relative to its thickness. But much of this work was, if I'm not mistaken, done on best quality East India (?) kips.
Processing/tanning has a lot to do with it as well. Baker Leather company is perhaps the only tannery left in the world that leaves hides in the tanning solutions for up to a year. Imagine any modern company deferring profit for that long...regardless of the resulting quality.
Back on point, I've seen shoes that were machine stitched on the vamps that had to be pushing 30 spi. And it was clean work. Tight. No indication of damage to the leather.
Today, with the leathers we have, 20 stitches to the inch risks "postage-stamping", and I suspect most high-end shoemakers are satisfied with 16spi. And perhaps justifiably so, considering the quality of the leather.
Another one of the 19th century "old guys" said that 18 stitches to the inch was "middling work"...and he was referring to outsole/welt stitching! Probably possible with Baker but not with much else.
Sent wife out for a Mother's Day massage... so put the kids to work with a coupla bottles of conditioner (I am a cruel taskmaster)!
About 2/3 of the collection of full skin Reptiles. Will give them food and water before starting the other 6 pairs. Exotic Spectators (with suede) require a steadier hand, so I'll do that myself next weekend (with a couple of Lagavulins of course).
details on the first 2 pairs in the second row and red double monk strap in the 1st row??
Just to clarify, 64 to the inch is for sewing the outsole to the welt?
Wouldn't the leather from the resurgence of organic ranches bring back some quality of the good old days?
According to June Swann 64 to the inch was done on both the tops and on the outsole. And it was all done by hand. Now these were show boots and never intended for wear but the very fact that it can/was be done is tells us something...about how far short of close to the mark the Trade has fallen if nothing else.
The '18 to the inch is middling work" was for functional welt/outsole stitching.
Not necessarily disagree, but what do you consider nice shoes?
Exotic leather shoes and shoes made with high attention to detail and construction, ie, real fiddleback vs simulated effect, real croc vs printed croc, real vintage Russian calf vs printed, all leather shoes vs leather with plastic stiffeners, etc.
ps, surprised that Carmina and Alden was out together with G&G; they were different league.