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Riccardo Bestetti Bespoke projects. - Page 81

post #1201 of 1215
...what makes Bestetti even more striking is that the man is self-taught. He has no dogma or strict sixth sense to cling to, so his creations are highly individual beginning with those sky-high sculpted insteps.
post #1202 of 1215
Quote:
Originally Posted by PCK1 View Post
 

I strongly urge those of you in the New York Area...to visit Riccardo while you still can at his Leffot Trunk Show...

 

You don't know what you are missing out on until you see his shoes in person.

 

I will be posting a long writeup later (with pics)...as it was a real pleasure to meet and speak with Riccardo. 

Looking forward to reading about this. The pictures looked really appealing. Currently well out of my price range (I can get 2-3 Alden shell models instead for that price, but in reality can only afford 1 at a time every 6 months or so), but I hope to acquire a pair of those or Stefano Bemer's in the near future.

post #1203 of 1215
I was out of town for work...
post #1204 of 1215

I had the immense pleasure of meeting and speaking with Riccardo Bestetti yesterday afternoon for about two hours at the Leffot trunk show. I think the good people of Leffot were disappointed I didn't order anything...but I already have 3 pairs of shoes in the works by Riccardo...I will make it up to them next time...Leffot is a great place and I love that they have brought Riccardo to the U.S. They are really at the leading edge of high quality men's footwear. I can think of no other U.S. store that is doing more...

 

I have corresponded a good amount with Riccardo via email over the past several months to discuss my shoes...but this was my first time meeting him. Upon introducing myself, he was very very outgoing and excited...he has a big personality...and this shows when you meet him...and also in his work...which I will explain further...

 

Before I go into detail about our meeting and the samples he brought with him…I want to explain the Novecento option with Riccardo…because I think some of the readers of this thread may not fully understand it.  It is nothing like a Pret-customized last with Saint Crispin’s or making design modifications…it is a whole lot more AWESOME.

 

Novecento prices start at EUR1500. This is including Italian VAT. Exotic leathers cost more…

 

So…for us non-Europeans it comes out to approximately EUR1200 or ~USD1550.

 

If you order a Novecento model from Riccardo…he will take an existing last of his and make adjustments to it to ensure a good fit for your individual feet. It is not a fully bespoke last that is made from scratch specifically for you…but Riccardo stresses that the fit is very important and that he works with his customers to make sure that it fits well. He wants his customers to be happy, and thus their shoes need to fit.

 

Riccardo wants to develop a personal working relationship with his customers and as they work together on the shoes he will continue to make minor adjustments to improve the last. He believes that by the second or third shoe the fit will be just as good, if not better, than any traditionally bespoke made last. Riccardo also offers fully bespoke for those of you who are interested. Prices start at EUR3000 (VAT included).

 

The Novecento shoe is made completely to the level of quality and finishing of a bespoke shoe. Top quality leathers and workmanship go into these completely hand-made and hand-welted shoes. 

 

Stylistically, it is also fully bespoke. You can design the shoe however you like…and I stress this feature…the design is entirely up to you. Not many other shoemakers offer this level of freedom…especially at this price point…

 

I think the thing that draws people to Riccardo’s shoes when they first see them are his shapes.  They are fantastic works of art…and I cannot think of another shoemaker with lasts and forms that are as eye catching and artistic as Riccardo’s. They are even better looking in person than they are on his Tumblr or website…

 

But, another misunderstood thing about Riccardo’s Novecento line is the toe shape.  The toes of his shoes are completely made and shaped by hand and Riccardo does not just have a couple of set toe shapes.  He will customize the toe shape to suit your desires…and each and every toe is slightly different.  He can make them longer, wider, shorter, more narrow, more classically rounded, more modern rounded, more chiseled, more elongated, and so forth and so on. He can even give the toe that sharp angular break to make it appear like a Falcon’s beak…as is prominently seen on some of his ‘Perfetta’ shoes…and is reminiscent of the work of Pierre Corthay.

 

He uses four toe shapes, which he will then adjust and shape to your liking. 2 chiseled and 2 rounded.

 

  1. Perfetta  - this is an elongated and narrow chiseled toe
  2. Classic Chiseled – this is a wider shorter chiseled toe modeled from the English styles
  3. Almond – this is perhaps his most elegant toe shape
  4. Classic Rounded – this also modeled off of the English…but still with a slightly modern take

 

In terms of the quality, workmanship, and fit…Riccardo’s Novecento line is, in my opinion, amazing value.

 

 

Riccardo had shipped to me a while ago two pairs of test shoes made on different lasts that he had adjusted for my Novecento orders. I brought these test shoes to the trunk show to be fitted further by Riccardo.

 

He agreed they needed further adjusting so he sized me down and took detailed notes, which will perfect the last for my fitting. Riccardo will make and ship to me one of my three pairs for me to wear and test…and then, if necessary, he will make any further minor adjustments to perfect the next two pairs.

 

Riccardo is making me the following three pairs to start:

 

1. Maverick

 

2. Gladiator

 

3. St. Moritz

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), default quality

 

I discussed with him in detail design features for these three shoes including the length of the shoes and the toe shapes. I am going for a shorter wider more classic chiseled toe and for an elongated more narrow almond toe.

 

Riccardo discussed with me his hand-coloring as well. He can completely hand color a shoe using crust leather or he can use an aniline pre-dyed leather and with the use of creams and waxes give the shoe a fantastic depth and richness.  He has access to a wide array of crust and aniline calf leathers…as well as a lot of very interesting exotics ranging from alligator and lizard to elephant, kudu, shark, and more…

 

 

Riccardo showed me some of his samples, which were much older and some of the newer samples to show how he has grown and improved since he began as a shoemaker. This was very interesting to learn about as Riccardo is completely self-taught…and so his career is really one of learning and making improvements as he goes.

 

Because he was self-taught he was uniquely interested in other shoe brands and makers that I have worked with, because he wished to hear my experiences with them and learn from their work as well.  Justin, the shoe snob, was not kidding when he wrote that Riccardo has an enormous database of shoe pictures…Riccardo’s iPad holds over 40,000 images of handmade shoes…everything spanning the English, Italian, Japanese makers and beyond…

 

It was this part of speaking with Riccardo that I truly enjoyed, because you could see the immense passion for his work. He truly loves making shoes and he is curious to learn more, to improve his work and grow. He is maybe the biggest shoe fanatic ive ever met…

 

He told me that when he started out he didn't even know where to buy all of the proper tools and so his first models you could see the waist was not so close cut...and after meeting up with other shoe fanatics and speaking with people like Justin he learned more and more and got the proper tools and so his shoemaking skills got better....and he continues to live and learn like this striving to improve his shoes.

 

We discussed my bespoke experiences with Koji Suzuki and Riccardo wanted to the entire process and the details of the shoes…to which I told him that Koji is an absolute perfectionist and everything from the tiniest stitching detail to the perfectly carved waists are masterful…

 

Riccardo has admired these other markers work but has not seen them all in person. The next time I see him I will be sure to bring a pair of the bespoke Koji’s for him to inspect…I just hope he doesn’t want to take them apart to see how they were made…haha.

 

 

Lastly, I just want to touch on Riccardo’s personality.  He loves shoes more than most people I have ever met.  And his enthusiasm and passion is infectious.  I could have spent hours upon hours talking with him about ideas for new shoes and about other shoe makers and their work…or about his career and his progression. 

 

It is Riccardo’s passion, or rather obsession, with shoes that makes working with him so fun!  He has all sorts of ideas in the works…and I can’t wait to work with him more and to take advantage of this friendship to make some great shoes. 

 

Unfortunately...most of my pics of the samples did not turn out so well due to the lighting but I did get some great pics of one of my favorite shoes of Riccardo's...a gladiator that he made for himself. He told me that when he created this shoe originally it was an orange color but he did not like this and so he re-colored it to a burgundy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this one to demonstrate his fantastic sole treatment on a new model...I wish I had a comparison pick of the sole treatment between the newer and older models to show the progress he has made!

 

post #1205 of 1215
what is Riccardo's contact information smile.gif
post #1206 of 1215

Great review PCK1; I am looking forward seeing the finished products. I am just breaking in my new pairs and as always, I get lots of compliments on the shoes. 

 

A couple of weeks ago Riccardo visited Sir Max (Netherlands), so I met up with the master himself, which is always a pleasure, as he is just so passionate indeed. Of course I was wearing one of my Bestetti shoes, and when walking in, the shop assistant, without knowing it was Bestetti made, gave a big compliment, as he loved them. At one stage I was forced to take them off, so they could study the shoe, which was funny to experience.

 

I am currently working on a next pair, however still in discussing mode with Riccardo… When decided, I will ask Riccardo to share some pictures during the whole production cycle, if that is appreciated by you lovely forum people.  

post #1207 of 1215
 

 

 

He indeed improved so much, it was always extremely nice, but really what he did on my last shoe is insane!

 

post #1208 of 1215
Quote:
Originally Posted by PCK1 View Post

I had the immense pleasure of meeting and speaking with Riccardo Bestetti yesterday afternoon for about two hours at the Leffot trunk show. I think the good people of Leffot were disappointed I didn't order anything...but I already have 3 pairs of shoes in the works by Riccardo...I will make it up to them next time...Leffot is a great place and I love that they have brought Riccardo to the U.S. They are really at the leading edge of high quality men's footwear. I can think of no other U.S. store that is doing more...


Unfortunately...most of my pics of the samples did not turn out so well due to the lighting but I did get some great pics of one of my favorite shoes of Riccardo's...a gladiator that he made for himself. He told me that when he created this shoe originally it was an orange color but he did not like this and so he re-colored it to a burgundy.




So, what's your take on the quality of the show you're holding?
post #1209 of 1215
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas View Post


So, what's your take on the quality of the show you're holding?

 

The last is beautiful...the two brogue lines across the toe needs some work and the stitching at the base of the heel could use some improvement too...hard to tell the sole treatment as the shoe is Riccardo's personal shoe and has been worn many times...there is also a minor error in the top line of broguing...where the vamp meets the instep...hard to see from the pics but it was an error punching the brogue and looks like two holes overlapping each other...I never noticed it until Riccardo pointed it out to me (he is very honest about his mistakes)...the welt is very cleanly and closely cut....the hand coloring and finishing on the shoe is top notch.

 

I would say that while it is not perfect, that it is still of a very high level of quality and craftsmanship, and at a fantastic price relative to other shoemakers.

post #1210 of 1215
Perfection is what artisans strife for. Imperfection is what we as customers need to appreciate.
post #1211 of 1215
Quote:
Originally Posted by chogall View Post

Perfection is what artisans strife for. Imperfection is what we as customers need to appreciate.

I like the way you think chogall!!...but I can't agree 100%. The first part is spot on but what I think the customer needs to appreciate is not "imperfection" itself but how hard a maker has worked to achieve perfection and how close he's come. I look at some of the Japanese makers and I'm struck,once again, by how much better their work is than any manufactured, machine controlled shoes...or a good many bespoke makers, for that matter.

But in the end, there's one big and overwhelmingly significant reason why the customer should not appreciate imperfection--because the artisan himself doesn't appreciate it.
post #1212 of 1215

Yes, and I think that Riccardo clearly appreciates it...as he demonstrated showing me his older models and his newer models...he has made major improvements in quality and craftsmanship as he continues to learn and through his experiences and of course from his mistakes...

 

Certainly nobody just made their first shoe and it was absolutely perfect and then every shoe after that followed in suit...it's a learning process...and one that is very important especially in the case of Riccardo who is self-taught.

post #1213 of 1215
Quote:
Originally Posted by chogall View Post

Perfection is what artisans strife for. Imperfection is what we as customers need to appreciate.

this is the greatest thing that I have ever seen you write...could not have said it better myself
post #1214 of 1215
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

I like the way you think chogall!!...but I can't agree 100%. The first part is spot on but what I think the customer needs to appreciate is not "imperfection" itself but how hard a maker has worked to achieve perfection and how close he's come. I look at some of the Japanese makers and I'm struck,once again, by how much better their work is than any manufactured, machine controlled shoes...or a good many bespoke makers, for that matter.

But in the end, there's one big and overwhelmingly significant reason why the customer should not appreciate imperfection--because the artisan himself doesn't appreciate it.

Perfection is an ideal that could never be reached. As you have said before, you always find three places to improve on every order despite that I find your work to be very good. I could find a few imperfect places for my past bespoke shoe orders as well despite they have done very good work as well.

For me as a customer, I appreciate imperfection embedded in the pursuit of perfection. I however do not accept defects or things produced to the wrong spec.

Sometimes perfection for art works lies in those very slight imperfections. And it is those imperfections that makes them human.
post #1215 of 1215
Quote:
Originally Posted by chogall View Post

Perfection is an ideal that could never be reached. As you have said before, you always find three places to improve on every order despite that I find your work to be very good. I could find a few imperfect places for my past bespoke shoe orders as well despite they have done very good work as well.

For me as a customer, I appreciate imperfection embedded in the pursuit of perfection. I however do not accept defects or things produced to the wrong spec.

Sometimes perfection for art works lies in those very slight imperfections. And it is those imperfections that makes them human.

I understand and I agree. It is perhaps the difference between a customer 's POV and that of a maker.

Depending on how we define perfection--regularity, symmetry, consistency, predictability--no hand made product can be as perfect as a machine made product.

And machine made shoes are virtual clones of each other even when the styling changes. An aspect that will never be the case for hand work. So almost by definition, perfection is impossible.

But at the same time it is a dangerous to elevate imperfection to something that is sought after. There was an essay (or link to an essay) posted on SF awhile ago, which I read. I can't remember which side of the coin the author came down on, but I came away thinking that when imperfection becomes aspirational everyone loses--the consumer because he accepts marginal quality work and the maker because he is not challenged to do better or go further.

A good example of the latter is the shoemaker who uses disposable knives instead of a Traditional clicker knife. The more he uses and becomes dependent on them (and some start with such tools), the more he loses in terms of skill.

And not just sharpening skills. The only reason to use a disposable knife is because you can't or don't want to learn to sharpen or resharpen the blade. But sharpening a knife does more than make the edge keen. It sharpens the eye, it hones muscle control, it quickens judgement. And all of that is constantly and necessarily brought to bear in every (other) aspect of making a shoe.

For the maker to accept the limitations / imperfections of his skills is to surrender any hope of really and truly becoming skilled. If only because, for the artisan / maker it is always a journey...tnot a final product.

But aside from all that, the bottom line is that no artisan worth his salt would be happy to know that his work is bought or sought because of the imperfections in it...in my opinion, .
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