I was just here for a week, looking mostly at footwear and leather goods. Also visited the shoemaking supplies district at Boedo and Garay: picked up some peccary hide to take to my shoemaker. For off the rack city footwear, Lopez Taibo
is the best quality I've found. Plenty of well designed balmorals and boots on SF-approved lasts. Construction looks good: their top line has double soled shoes the clerk claims are handsewn, with a double row of stitching in the outsole that I've not seen before. Those go for 620 USD at current rates. I doubt the handsewn, as the video on their webpage shows what looks like standard Goodyear construction. But they look and feel good and well made--think of Vass's heavier models or double-soled versions of Tricker's city styles. I understand there is an old 1920s-era method of machine stitching the soles that is still used by Paraboot--it involves a lot more handwork than standard Goodyear, and tries to imitate the look and effects of a completely handsewn shoe. This may be what they mean. I doubt it's the same as Meermin's handwelted Linea Maestro line, where Chinese workers hand-welt the shoes, which are then sent to Spain to have the soles attached by machine. They're nice shoes, and unlike Church's, there's no sign of corrected grain. But at the moment, they're priced at Church's Custom grade levels, which seems a bit much for a RTW machine-made shoe that is 100% made in the Third World.
Anyway, at around 300 USD, Lopez Taibo have balmorals the clerk claims have hidden channel stitching. I suspect he means that the insole is sewn to the midsole, and the outsole then glued to the midsole: the insole was visibly sewn down into the midsole, but I didn't feel any channel stitching in the outsole. Still, a nice and durable-looking shoe. Nice bags and leather jackets, too. They have well-made women's pumps and women's bags in calf and exotics like crocodile and lizard.Arandu
sell an image of Argentine country wear. Plenty of carpincho vests, gloves, polo boots, ponchos. They're trying to appeal to the Polo Ralph Lauren market: a fantasy of what it is to be a rich Argentine. Footwear looks sturdy and nice enough: some is sewn through, and some has the glued outsole to sewn midsole. Polo boots I saw had hidden channel stitching.Rossi & Caruso
, the Hermes of Latin America, have handsome leather goods and saddlery. Footwear definitely cheaper than at the above places: 200 USD and under. The lasts aren't as elegant and the construction is mostly outsole glued to sewn midsole. I did see a couple of sewn outsoles, though. Good for city beater shoes.
Hats: panamas and felts are difficult. Surprisingly few Argentine men are wearing Panamas or straws or caps or bucket hats, despite the strong summer sun. Maidana next to the Congress have a very nice collection of elegant old Panamas, felt fedoras, trilbys, Seville/gaucho hats, straw Akubras, cotton caps, etc. But it looks to me like they're going out of business soon. They're only open a few days a week. Why Argentine men want to get skin cancer is beyond me.Calzados Correa
does look like the place for bespoke shoes. Their RTW shop is in the center, but the bespoke service, I gather, is on the city outskirts. I couldn't make it to the bespoke shop, and just passed by the center-city shop in a rush, and wasn't able to go in. They have a lot of models on their website. They seem to have four construction levels: handsewn welt and handsewn soles, standard Goodyear, the sewn midsole-glued outsole which seems common among higher-quality Argentine footwear, and glue jobs.
If you're in the Palermo Hollywood neighborhood, and you probably will visit, Calzado Los Angelitos
is worth a look. I passed by the shop, but they were off on vacation while I was there.
If you're after carpincho gloves, slippers, wallets, vests, Carpincho
has them at lower prices than Arandu.
Vox covered the polo gear scene; his judgments seem still to hold good in 2016.
I'm surprised at how poorly Argentine men dress at the moment--there are lots of gray-haired men who obviously have money walking the streets in shorts and sandals, as if this were a beach hotel, not one of the world's great cities. Their equivalents in Mexico City wouldn't be caught dead wearing that get-up in a city environment.
In general, I'd put the prices for Argentine-made RTW shoes and leather goods right now at around 90% in USD terms of their US-made equivalents. But who knows what will happen with the country's notorious inflation and currency devaluations. Custom work is definitely cheaper than it would be in the US, and if you want carpincho or polo gear, Argentina is where it's at.Edited by Testudo_Aubreii - 1/20/16 at 5:30am