Originally Posted by VRaivio
Every chap with enough cash to pile can arm himself with a warehouse full of JLPs, EGs or GGs until he is B/R. Vintage pairs are a different game entirely. The last hundred years has met with the fall of hundreds of makers, whose gems cannot be commissioned or bought in-store. This is why I feel collectors like Isshinryu are crucial: they preserve, value and inform fellow shoe nerds about the the days and shoes of yore. These are the true rough diamonds, waiting to be discovered. I'm out of claret at the moment, otherwise I'd raise a toast to Isshi's collection.
Originally Posted by DWFII
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.
I think what we often forget here is that this is just a forum, and this is the typical forum talk, in which we forget there is a real world out there, and 95% of folks think Cole Hann and other similar things is the best, the other 4.9% think Ferragamo regular line at $500+ is really the high end, and then 0.1% is what this forum is talking about. Any C&J is nicer than what 99% of folks wear, and it's the lower end here. Just like any other forum, here we are fanatics, it never ends, in the bike forums some people swear by vintage steel bikes and carbon is garbage, music tubes are great and transistors sucks, in automobiles all is plastic now and so on.
There are many things that were better made years ago, no doubt, but that's the way it is, times change, better made is not the only consideration imo. What you really like is important, your size and how things look on you, the fit and confort etc etc. I like Vass because for the price, it's the better value for me, mto like I want, excellent leather (I'm 50, I started wearing nice shoes 15 years ago, so I've never experienced nor I'm interested in this "superior leather" of old) good service, and excellent fit. I like GG and Alden too, I think they are overpriced but in reality nothing in this world is overpriced as long as they are many people willing to pay for them, why they should lower the price?, I waited 10 months for my whiskey PTB.
Anoter forum stupidity is that as soon as anybody posts a nice expensive pair like GG, lobbs etc, someone says next step is bespoke, why you would travel to get fitted and then pay 3.5-4K for bespoke when there are many shoes that fit perfect?, bespoke is a dream for some people, but not everybody needs that. I come from a country that bespoke suits is the norm for almost everybody, and I swear that BB milano and regent in 38 regular fits me better (with minimum alteration) than all bespoke I had in the past. 1 meter lapels and 3" cuffs pants, ridicuosly short jackets and trousers, pants that squeeze your balls, somebody please tell me where do you see that stuff in the real world?, that's all forum bullshit.
Ok, end of rant, sorry for my bad english and all the thoughts coming out at the same time, on the positive side, like all specialized forums, I have learned a lot from many people but we have to put things in perspective.
Now I want a pair of alligator shoes, that alligator shoe thread is insane.