Boo on the OP for not supplying a link to the original article.
Link is here: Toronto’s boot maker to the stars: Nasser Vies
Quoted below for the lazy.
Special effects are usually about big explosions. But if Nasser Vies is involved, then they’re about shoes.
The Toronto shoemaker has done more conventional work; he’s made tango shoes for actor Robert Duvall and black boots for Blue Rodeo front man Jim Cuddy. Yet lately his talents are being displayed on the silver screen.
Vies’s upcoming projects include designing shoe-weapon hybrids for Nikita, a television series, and leatherwork for Pacific Rim, a monster movie directed by Guillermo del Toro, currently being shot in the Port Lands.
Vies is one of a handful of bespoke (custom to order) boot makers in the city. He’s invisible on the Internet, aside from postings on shoemaker and shoe aficionado sites, but has become one of Hollywood’s go-to men for shoes and accessories.
“When I was looking for a shoemaker in Toronto, I couldn’t find anyone,” said Tibere Benoist D’Anthenay, Vies’s 21-year-old apprentice.
After months of searching, D’Anthenay considers himself lucky to have found a teacher, let alone one of Vies’s calibre.
D’Anthenay and Vies work out of a small shop on Queen St. E. In the workroom, which smells faintly of leather and polish, a copy of The Fall of the Athenian Empire, a history of the Peloponnesian War, sits beside a potted north fork pine, a species of tree whose sap is harvested to use as shoe wax. D’Anthenay says CBC Radio 2 is almost always on.
Vies, a 53-year-old wearing a denim apron and chestnut-brown Oxford semi-brogue shoes, says he was born the youngest of four children in Abadan, Iran, a city across the river from Iraq.
Like many of the city’s workers, his father was an employee of an oil refinery.
“They were not buying custom shoes,” Vies said of his parents. Instead, his father, originally from the country, would wear giveh, a cotton weave shoe with soles made of cattle intestine, designed for traversing the rocky countryside.
Vies graduated with a math major and was planning on becoming an engineer. But when he moved to Canada in 1980, he discovered shoemaking.
“After a few months you get the bug,” he said.
He worked for 2½ years as an apprentice in Dundas. When the shop owner moved to Digby, N.S., Vies stayed and opened his first shop in Toronto’s Annex, on the corner of Ulster St. and Brunswick Ave.
He quickly won clients, mostly for Broadway shows. Years later, when the North York Theatre shut down, he began working in the film industry.
Vies’s shoes and boots range in price from $750 to $1,500, depending on materials. The more exotic, such as those made from the skin of crocodiles and lizards, are the most expensive.
He hopes to expand his shop from two people to three or four — if only to pass on his secrets.
“It’s a trade in decline,” he said. “There are not enough shoemakers.”
Until then, Vies plans to keep working in his modest workshop, decorated with mustard-coloured drapes and turquoise walls.
“The swimming pool colour,” he said, looking at the walls. “We’ll do white next time.”
Forum member Doxe was considering him at one time but I don't know if he actually went through with it.
Nasser does post some of his work on DWF's cordwainer website.Edited by Odd I/O - 2/23/12 at 7:21pm