John Lobb has just launched its Fall 2011 bespoke collection of men’s shoes and boots. Owned by Hermes, the brand showcased 22 styles, each of which was inspired by one of 11 cities from around the world, at the 5th Avenue Hermes boutique. Each style is wholly customizable to suit the buyers’ taste and handmade with breathtaking detail and fabrics (one style was even lined with fur!)
Titled “Spirits of Capitals” the collection started in early 2010 when design teams in each of the 11 cities submitted sketches to the John Lobb workshop in Paris. It took three months to make the shoes that became the Spirits of Capitals line and within each team there were clients, sales staff, writers, and artists, all working together to come up with two designs to embody the spirit of their city.
I’m not typically intrigued by men’s footwear, but this lineup of styles could make even the least men’s footwear obsessed among us swoon. Picking a favorite was nearly impossible, but among the stand outs were the Moscow ankle boot in 166 box-calf, wagtail box, and tobacco brown suede (they come with the wearer’s initials on back), the Hong Kong oxford in white box-calf and gold crocodile, the Dubai sandal in medium brown crocodile, the Seoul oxford in cream dune calf, and the Paris oxford in shiny black box-calf and canvas (inspired by a smocking!)
Each shoe takes 50 hours to craft and three fitting appointments to make. Prices for the bespoke models range from $6,500 to $10,000. In the U.S., they’re available at the John Lobb boutique on Madison Avenue.