I've just returned from a few days in Budapest and that city is a must for lovers of early 20th century architecture as well as those gluttons, like me, who can feast on food of any description but particular on cream cakes. Coffee shops are a Hungarian passion; even McDonalds has created a "McCafÃ©" section in some branches, selling cream cakes and speciality coffees. But it's not a city for shopping addicts. Although there are lots of shops and a number of shopping mall, which have sprung up in the last years, the selection is somewhat pedestrian. "Designer" means Zara Benetton or Tommy Hilfiger. I could not see any trace of the "Ãœber-brands", this forum is so fond of: no Borrelli, Isaia, Lattanzi; not even Zegna or Edward Green. Shoes are a particular drab lot, no English shoes at all (not even Loake or Barkers) and a few Santonis and Prada representing the multitude of Italian manufacturers. That of course leaves Vass without any competition. It's more of a German than a Hungarian shoe shop with all those signs: Herrenschuhe, Handarbeit or Pferdeleder (men's hoes, hand made or horse leather). The shoes are lovely, they are incredibly well-made and have their very distinctive look which you either love or hate. Leaving for the time being the U-last aside, but that is essentially a showy Italian last, made for (and possibly designed by) the Florentine firm of Ugolino). Vass shoes are solid in make as well as design. I quite like that look, but I would not want to have my entire shoe collection in that style. The U-last is very elongated, in that Italian show-off way so beloved by contemporary shoe designers. But compared with the Lattanzis and Branchinis of this world, the look is somewhat understated, as the uppers themselves are quite plain, no triple rows of contrast hand stitching here. I personally have a problem with Vass' stock lasts. They are made for "strong" feet, if I get the width right (size 41, about 8 American), the shoes are somewhat short in length. I want a size 41 in circumference, but a 42 or 42 Â½ in length. But like the cavalry, the U-last rides to the rescue. As the last is longer, I have the length required. (Just like C&J's last 337 which I can take in a 7 Â½ while for any other 7 Â½ shoe I would have to chop off my toes.) Vass is making for me the Chukka boot Andrew Harris has posted recently, the one with the V-cut in the back (a little bit of whimsicalness like a tattoo on the bum, you know it's there but nobody else does). The boots will be in very dark brown suede and are made over the stock last not a modified bespoke version. One word of warning for all the budding shoe designers like yours truly, who are expecting lots of choice on the cheap. You can't get Vass to make alterations to the design, not even a change in the color of the lining leather. Things are carved in stone. Equally the selection of leathers, although adequate, does not offer anything away from the standard hides. No green cordovan and no bullfrog either. But for the price, one can't complain.
post #1 of 10
11/15/04 at 3:54pm