Who makes Kiton shoes?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Artisan Fan, Jul 17, 2006.

  1. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Suitsupply-sider

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    Saw a few pairs on a business trip recently and was very impressed...
     


  2. zjpj83

    zjpj83 Senior member

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  3. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Suitsupply-sider

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    I was thinking they might have subcontracted to some artisan shop somewhere. Glad it is in-house then. [​IMG]
     


  4. Roger

    Roger Senior member

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    Kiton decided a few years ago to make the best RTW shoes available (just as many think that their RTW suits, jackets, trousers, and shirts are the best anywhere). To this end, they evidently scooped up 8 (that's the number I heard) of the best cordwainers in Europe, divided up among the specialties involved in making a pair of shoes (last-maker, clicker who cuts the leather, welter, closer, finisher, etc.). This small group work in a special shop set up in the Kiton plant in the mountains outside Naples. Obviously, the production is very small, although I don't know for certain just how many they turn out in a week. It's my impression that all the Kiton shoes that anyone has seen have been to die for--just fabulous, but with a corresponding fabulously-high price tag!
     


  5. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt The Liberator Dubiously Honored

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    Kiton decided a few years ago to make the best RTW shoes available (just as many think that their RTW suits, jackets, trousers, and shirts are the best anywhere). To this end, they evidently scooped up 8 (that's the number I heard) of the best cordwainers in Europe, divided up among the specialties involved in making a pair of shoes (last-maker, clicker who cuts the leather, welter, closer, finisher, etc.). This small group work in a special shop set up in the Kiton plant in the mountains outside Naples. Obviously, the production is very small, although I don't know for certain just how many they turn out in a week. It's my impression that all the Kiton shoes that anyone has seen have been to die for--just fabulous, but with a corresponding fabulously-high price tag!
    Rog- Are you smoking something??? The Kiton shoe factory is in a small, hot room at the Kiton factory which is in an industrial park. There is no great scenery around the place. No mountains for sure. Think Newark, New Jersey. The shoes are very nice, but far from the best around. They are about one step up from EG or JLP. I also doubt the best of the best makers story as well. From what I saw when I was there, they are not hand lasted, but they are hand-welted. T4Phage would probably be able to describe their process a bit better. I do not think that they are nearly on the same level as Lattanzi, or the Neapolitan maker Scafora who is a bit more artisinal. That being said, they are very nice shoes.
     


  6. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Suitsupply-sider

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    The main Kiton building is beautiful and surrounded by nice landscape based on the photos Massimo showed me. Not sure if the shoe makers are in this building but it is impressive.
     


  7. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt The Liberator Dubiously Honored

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    The main Kiton building is beautiful and surrounded by nice landscape based on the photos Massimo showed me. Not sure if the shoe makers are in this building but it is impressive.
    The main building is nice. The bridge is quite beautiful. The entire complex and operation are incredibly impressive. The shoe factory is in what looks to be an old boiler room. The surroundings are awful. Trust me, I was just there a couple of weeks ago.
     


  8. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Suitsupply-sider

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    Interesting...do you have any pics? I'm jealous...not been to Kiton yet but have been invited.
     


  9. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    The Kiton marketing plan is attempting to make one think that the shoemakers are in an especial charming Old World setting--like real life elves--located in the Kiton headquarters basement when in fact, it is simply hyperbole. Apparently a glorified boiler room, which at least contains some truth of being a basement, perhaps something you might chance seeing in an Italian version of Hostel. I believe they also had Silvano Lattanzi do their shoes for a while since I have seen Kiton shoes with the tell-tale hand-writting on the insole.
     


  10. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Suitsupply-sider

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    I did hear also that Silvano made their shoes and I know Silvano and Massimo are friends.
     


  11. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt The Liberator Dubiously Honored

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    Just to clarify...

    When I say that the surroundings are bhorrible, I mean that the neighborhood where Kiton is located is an industrial zone that has absolutly no charm whatsoever. I am sure that Massimo would agree.
     


  12. Roger

    Roger Senior member

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    Am I smoking something?! Let's see now, what can I salvage?! OK, it sounds as though the cordwainers are in one shop together, as I noted. I had also heard that it was in the basement, but didn't see this as significant. I read that they were recruited because of their reputations as first-class artisans. Iammatt, what makes you doubt the expertise and talent of the workers Ciro Paone (or perhaps it was Massimo Bizzochi) assembled in his shoe shop? The part about the mountains came from a piece in the New Yorker --"The Best of the Worsted," by Michael Specter--I read quite a while ago and remembered imperfectly (regarding the mountains) about Ciro Paone and Kiton, so was relying on that writer's description of the facility, which he describes (I found a copy of the article, without date, and reread it) as "a garish little palazzo that looks as if it had been lifted from a Hollywood lot and deposited there by cranes." He then goes on to say that "Inside, it is an unusually quiet place--more a shop than a factory, really."

    Perhaps their goal of making the best has yet to be realized, but if they are one step up from EG and JLP this early in their shoemaking history (what's it been now, 10-15 years?), they are obviously making damn fine shoes already. Iammatt, when you say that their shoes are not on the level of Lattanzi or Scafora, are you comparing RTW Kiton shoes with bespoke Lattanzi and Scafora, or is this a true apples with apples comparison? Do you think that your rank-ordering of Kiton relative to RTW Lattanzi, say, is universally shared, or are you more oriented to the perhaps greater amount of hand work in the latter and less to the phenomenal antiquing that Kiton produces in the finishing?
     


  13. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt The Liberator Dubiously Honored

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    I don't doubt the expertise of the shoemakers at all. I think the shoes are very, very good.

    Lattanzi's RTW shoes are better made, more comfortable, have more handwork, better leathers and better antiquing. FWIW, even the guy who oversees the Kiton shoe shop doesn't see them as in the same league. Scafora is somewhere in the middle IMO, but others might reasonably disagree.

    I don't know if everybody agrees with me about the level of their shoes. I know that the people who make and sell Kiton shoes agree with me. I don't think that Kiton means to make a shoe that is at the same level as a Lattanzi. That is not their niche. They mean to be better than EG or JLP. It is more of a hand made factory product than a truly artisanal product.
     


  14. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Suitsupply-sider

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    This makes me feel good since I have some Lattanzi shoes. [​IMG]

    I would have thought that Kiton would make a true artisanal shoe but I have not had any yet to draw conclusions from.
     


  15. Tomasso

    Tomasso Senior member

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    Kiton is a fine maker but at times prone to hyperbole, probably meant to justify the surcharge.
     


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