Saturday, March 13, 2010

John Lobb

I walk down St James's Street very often, and that part of St James's is one of my favourite areas of London - deep in clubland, surrounded by the grandeur of gentlemen's clubs, and with Jermyn St, Savile Row and New Bond St so close. I often stop by and gaze lovingly through the windows of John Lobb, the finest shoemakers in town, and indeed any town. 

They are located at No 9 St James's St, thirty seconds' walk from Henry VIII's St James's Palace - at the very centre of Regency London. The interiors of the store are just beautiful, and not for nothing did Esquire call it "the most beautiful shop in the world". But it's not the pretty shop decor that distinguishes Lobb - it's the sense of history and maintenance of craftsmanship that sets this shoemaker out as unique. Each pair of shoes (and prices start in the thousands of pounds, so I could never afford them!) is crafted to perfection by hand, and lovingly tailored for the owner. Lobb sets out nine aspects of the craft: bespoke shoe-making at its best.

I own two pairs quite like the "Wallace" shoes in the picture above - one tan and one black - but they were bought in India at one hundredth the price of a Lobb pair. And whilst they're not Lobbs, for now, they must suffice. In the mean time, for your viewing pleasure here's an excellent video from The Guardian.

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