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New/york boston trip

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by A Harris, Jun 1, 2004.

  1. jcusey

    jcusey Well-Known Member

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    That's not an aesthetic. That's a value judgment. The point I'm trying to make is that just because something is a poor value to you, it doesn't mean that it's poor value to everyone. Lattanzi is unique. Nobody else can do what they do exactly as they do it (there are, of course, other shoemakers whose technical excellence is equivalent to Lattanzi, but those others can't make a Lattanzi shoe any more than Lattanzi could make a Berluti or Cleverley shoe). If someone wants exactly what Lattanzi offers and finds the result of the Lattanzi bespoke process to be perfect, who are you to say that that person is getting poor value? I've purchased C&J Handgrade shoes before for less than $400. I've also bought more than one pair of EG shoes at over $800. I wear the EG shoes all the time, but I don't wear the C&J shoes much at all. Which shoes are a better value? More than that, the cost of an item is only a matter of concern for the person buying it and the person or company selling it. If you're not one of those two parties, then it's none of your business.
    There are some legitimate connoisseurs on this board, but most of us are dilettantes. I may know something about clothes and shoes, but I recognize that I'm in the latter category, not the former. It will ever be the case that significant portion of the buyers of high-end goods won't appreciate the quality and the craftsmanship of those goods. Lattanzi could charge $2000 for a pair of shoes (and given the 40+ hours necessary for highly skilled craftsmen to produce a pair of bespoke shoes, $2000 is well nigh a bargain), and they would still be inaccessible to the vast majority of connoisseurs. So what? The idea that the world consists of bourgeois conoisseurs and the philistine rich is contrafactual.
    If you ask the people in the high-end shoe business, I think that most will say, "Thank God for Lattanzi." The profit margins on handmade shoes are slim, and makers like Lattanzi raise the profile and prestige of the trade so that other small makers can survive. I want bespoke shoemaking to survive as a craft, and the only way that it can is for it to be profitable. If that means that most of the goods have to be sold to people who have no real appreciation for quality (and it does), so be it. All that means is that it's more accessible for me.
    This isn't a question of morals or aesthetics. It's a question of spending priorities. You're entitled to your point of view, but you should have some measure of respect for others who have a point of view different from yours.
    I don't have a problem with RTW shoes, either. Virtually nobody needs bespoke anything (and that includes bespoke suits, by the way). Bespoke shoes are a luxury, and if someone wants that luxury and can afford it, more power to him.
    What do you think this board is? [​IMG]
     
  2. jcusey

    jcusey Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG] My brother is deaf in one ear. He had been out of college two or three years and finally had enough money to consider buying nicer things, and one day, he found himself in a high-end audio store. After shopping for awhile, he took a step back and said to himself, "What the hell am I doing? I'm deaf in one ear. I can't tell the difference." So he went to Best Buy or someplace like that and bought some cheapo stereo system. As for the shoes, I've learned from hard experience never to tell anyone who doesn't have a thing for shoes how much they cost. I'll tell people the maker, but not the price. If they're truly interested, they can figure it out.
     
  3. jimboni

    jimboni Member

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    Most people have a real problem with shoes that cost more than Cole-Haan or Johnston and Murphy, so my usual answer to enquiries about what something cost is "Nunya damn business." That is, unless I happened to get a great deal on something...
     
  4. AlanC

    AlanC Well-Known Member

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    Jcusey, excellent response. Luxury goods are never a necessity. One must be careful not to be resentful of whatever one cannot afford (which for me is just about everything&#33[​IMG]. Also, it is well to keep in mind, as jcusey alludes, that the highest end drives the market. A top maker might move beyond your means, but if the demand truly is there another maker will step in to meet it at a price you can (more) afford. That is until they're able to charge more, too. Then look for another maker to move in. The high end also sets the tone for the industry (whatever the industry may be) by giving a standard of excellence for others to strive toward.
     
  5. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Well-Known Member

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    What David referred to as $ 10,000 shoes is probably a pair of bespoke shoes made within the "Progetto Zintala". Well, that's got a few more bells and whistles attached. It includes a flight (business class) from virtually anywhere in the world to the factory, where you'll meet the Master, discuss your shoes with him, have your measurements taken, get the last and the pattern made within a few hours, the trial shoe clicked and closed (cut and stitched) and at the end of the second day before you head home again, you've had the trial shoe fitted and you know all is well underway and the finished product arrives back home a few weeks later. That package costs $ 10,000 and includes flight, bed (4 star hotel), board, 2 days in the Master's company and probably Mama Lattanzi's handwritten recipe for her spaghetti sauce ("that sauce made my bambino, so good a cobbler"). Oh, I forgot, the shoes are included as well. For those who like that sort of thing and can't wait to book, log in at http://www.zintala.it/ Then click on the home page (bottom left) on Zintala Project, where you'll get an exact description and an e-mail address to place your order. (Sorry, I'm unable to provide a link, as this is a flash separate window.) A word of warning, the site is painfully slow and the music is excruciating.
     
  6. LabelKing

    LabelKing Well-Known Member

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    Such awkward English.

    That site, and music is a bit tacky. It is more suited for an enviromentally inclined entity than a shoe atelier.
     
  7. brescd01

    brescd01 Well-Known Member

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    Jcusey, we will have to agree to disagree. I am surprised that with your efforts at refinement in so many dimensions, you are not interested in being refined in the dimension of price as well, because this is one more aspect of a fine handicraft. I cannot say NEVER, but I rarely found a good store that did not also offer good value. Usually wacko prices (in my experience) suggested the interference of marketing in a craftsman's business. And by the way, how do you suggest I "respect" the person who buys the 10,000 dollar Lattanzis? I have posted my purchases with accurate prices, and I have received both compliments and criticism. The latter is no disrespect. This is a board for the critical appraisal of fashion, and I am appreciating cost as one more aspect of fashion.
     
  8. jcusey

    jcusey Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]0-->
    What in the world does this mean? "Refined in the dimension of price?" God does not hand down the proper pricelist from on high. I recognize that what I value might be different from what other people value, and I can't begin to a canonical correct universal value to a pair of bespoke shoes or a bespoke suit or a sportscar. Value judgments such as these are intensely personal, they are properly a matter between the buyer and the seller, and I don't presume to make pronouncements for others.
    Of course, but good value is relative. I think that Gravati shoes represent outstanding value. Most of my friends and coworkers would have a heart attack at the suggestion that they spend $400 on a pair of shoes. You think that Joseph Centofanti offers good value. I would wager that most of your colleagues would rather gnaw off a hand than spend $2400 on a suit.
    There is no question that these are salad days for Silvano Lattanzi, and there's likewise no question that good press and savvy marketing play important roles along with impeccable craftsmanship and design creativity. Are the prices high? Yes, they are. Are they wacko? Go throught the archives and read what shoefan wrote about what it takes to make a handmade shoe. Tell me how much you think that ought to cost. More importantly, tell me how it is that you know better the value that T4phage and others who have purchased Lattanzi bespoke shoes ought to place on those shoes than they do.
    And why would you not unless you're also willing to concede that others need not respect the values that dictated that you purchase your high-dollar shoes (and yes, out there in the real world, what you spent on your Alfred Sargent and Crocket & Jones shoes would be considered high-doller) and your bespoke suit? Provided that purchasers of Lattanzi shoes came by the money they spend honestly, why should their speding habits have any impact on you whatsoever?
    It's perfectly appropriate to write that Lattanzi shoes don't represent good value to you or that you think that Vass or Cleverley or Berluti or whoever offers better value or a better shoe for the money. What's not appropriate is the belief that you can speak for others or that your value judgments represent holy writ.
     
  9. Steve B.

    Steve B. Well-Known Member

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    OK Guys, I think this argument's gone on long enough and is getting personal. Both sides have good points, although I happen to agree with jcusey on this one. bresc- I think if you purchased a pair of EGs or Vasses you'd understand the shoe thing better. As Darth Vader said to Skywalker (paraphrased in my best James Earl Jones basso profundo)- "Come over to the dark side [​IMG] " I'm wondering how you got Centofanti to make you a suit for only $2400[​IMG] I think I hear the engines firing up on a certain Boeing Business jet... [​IMG] heading over to Italy for some Lattanzis.
     
  10. jcusey

    jcusey Well-Known Member

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    Now there's something I would definitely have if I lived in Jcuseyland. [​IMG] Edit: And nice to see that you're making use of all the spiffy new emoticons.
     
  11. brescd01

    brescd01 Well-Known Member

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    Steve, this is NOT personal for me. I am merely expressing my opinion. And my opinion is CERTAINLY NOT holy writ, and I apologize if I represented it as such.

    One clarification: perhaps your love of shoes, Jcusey, clouded your carefully reading my posts, but RTW shoes and bespoke are two different animals, and I did not mean to suggest that RTW "fair price" should be compared to bespoke "fair price." Furthermore, so long as gentlemen of refined taste anty up their pennies to acquire these fine crafts, good shoemaking will be promoted. But I argue (apparently badly) that when these items become objects of desire for people who no longer appreciate their worth, their quality may decline.

    I tried to make an analogy with music but cause and effect are hard to tease out and one can find fuel for both fires in such matters as bel canto. However, opera singing was well-served by its popularization and it matured as an art when it was no longer exclusive to the nobility (early nineteenth century). But since World War 2, it has gradually become a sign of education and prestige and somewhat more exclusive again, and it has declined miserably. It is not exclusive to the wealthy however, but a pseudo-educated middle class. So the analogy partly fits, but not entirely.

    In the end, I think price is part of the quality of a garment, and should be appraised just as we would appreciate the elegance of  a last or quality of the sewing. And though I am not sure there is a Platonic ideal, I think that one can have some general ideas about fair value. Though the majority of the world might scoff at the modest price of my Alfred Sargents, the majority of the world has REALLY ugly shoes. And I do not think that they are confused. Were they to put their shoes against ours, they would approve of ours, not scoff.

    If by saying that 10,000 dollars was an outrageous price for Lattanzies, you inferred that I do not value your interest in fine shoes, you are wrong. I think the shoes appreciated on this forum and Ask Andy are beautiful and I wish more people wore such nice shoes. Life would be a lot prettier. And you are wrong Jcusey about your distinction of "value judgment," and "aesthetic judgment." My appraisal of price was not a value judgment (I am not so shallow). It is an aesthetic judgment. I leave value judgments to more important issues.
     
  12. mr. magoo

    mr. magoo Well-Known Member

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    Aug 22, 2003
    David, I do not intend to settle this debate. Next time you're in New York, go to the Lattanzi store on Madison. They're truly beautiful. I am wearing a pair of acorn Edward Green, last night I wore a pair of antique cognac Vass. The Lattanzis, however, are shoes of fantasy. Just perusing this store will make you wish you had the $4000 or so to buy a pair of them given the enormous variety of lustrous leathers.

    Again, this doesn't settle the debate. But to use your metaphor, you're talking about dropping $50k for a Lexus versus a BMW. Wer're talking hand-made Bentley. It's just a step above. Green's are very nice shoes; go to the Lattanzi store and you'll see works of art.
     

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