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Henry Maxwell

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Glanced in the window of Foster & Sons on Jermyn St today. They also have some shoes by Henry Maxwell in the display. Does anyone know who makes these? Couple of models looked quite nice...
post #2 of 3
Well, there are 2 levels of "Henry Maxwell" shoes at Fosters: the bespoke models, of which they have quite a few beautiful old examples in their window, and a RTW line. The owners of Fosters purchased the Henry Maxwell company a few years ago, after Maxwell had gone through a long line of owners over the past few decades. I believe Maxwell is the oldest of the bespoke shoemaking firms still extant in London (if you consider Maxwell extant). I think that, historically, the Maxwell shoes had a different typical heel height than the Foster bespokes, but I don't know if today there is any difference, nor do I know which label would come with a bespoke pair or how that determination would be made. My recollection is that the Maxwell RTW line is at the low end of the various Foster RTW shoes; it is probably made by Trickers, Barkers, or somebody like that. The more expensive RTW shoes at Fosters are mainly C&J, with a few models still made by E Green. An interesting side note: I understand that Fosters has a large collection of the old Peal & Co. lasts (I assume bespoke), which the company picked up when Peal went out of business.
post #3 of 3
There is even a third Maxwell line, available only in Japan. They are featured in "Men's Ex Vol.2" (porn for hardcore shoe fanatics). I tried at Foster's to find out more, but they were rather evasive. I believe it is a license deal with some Japanese firm. They design the shoes (very sharp chisel toe designs), have them made in England (I don't know exactly by whom) and sell them at enormous prices in Japan. They retail in excess of 140k yen (about $ 1350), more than EG which clocks in at about 110 - 120k. The shoes look wonderful in the pictures, but Foster has no intention of stocking them (I did ask). The standard Maxwell line, sold at Foster, is made by Grenson. They are well made but rather boring in design. I believe, they want to clear out that range and replace them with something fresher. They might be going for a pretty good price. Sale starts tomorrow (Wednesday Dec 29th). Foster is an enigma to me. I believe the company has changed ownership, but they are just as fuddy-duddy as the previous lot. Maxwell used to have a website: "henrymaxwell.com". Those idiots at Foster did not bother to renew the domain and the site got hijacked by porn. Now they have to cross out (by hand) that web-address in each of their brochures. (That shows handwork is alive and well in Jeryn Street.) As the man at Fosters said: "our customers are not really into the web." Isn't that what the fox said about the grapes?
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