Last week, Archival dropped in on the Monday eve pop-up shop and Kenzo Minami gallery opening at Nepenthes, one of our favorite NYC shops. Nepenthes was so packed that we were capsule released into the space in timed intervals. In line, we bumped into a number of fellow Market Week participants who had also come to demonstrate their Engineered Garments brand fandom. Here are a few snaps from the event and our follow up shopping expedition.
Posts Tagged ‘brogues’
by Lesli Larson
A Canterbury Tale (Powell and Pressburger 1944) provides us with evidence that heritage clothing for women is not an impossibility. In a recent post to Valet, a 23 year old woman inquired about how she could wear “peacoats, slim pants, loafers, etc. without looking too boyish? Any brands you would recommend?” In response, Valet offered three suggestions: Boy. Band of Outsiders, Black Fleece and JCREW. Though a good start, we’d prefer to shop from smaller labels like Nigel Cabourn, Mister Freedom, Our Legacy, Opening Ceremony, Gitman Bros. and SNS Herning. Unfortunately, none of these brands offer collections for women (Engineered Garment’s ephemeral FWK line has yet to migrate West). Further, Valet advises “to mix in those boyish pieces with light touches of feminine charm.” If the reader had emailed Archival Clothing, I would have suggested she model her wardrobe after the Land Army Girl, Miss Alison Smith, from A Canterbury Tale. Note Miss Smith’s smart uniform of knee length woolen stockings, wide leather belt, brogues, sweater, plaid scarf and corduroy breeches.
Some of these uniforms, and accessories, seem ready for re-issue by History Preservation Associates (“Linking You With the Past”). My personal favorite is the Land Army ensemble (buckets, brogues and breeks).
I’m a huge fan of Reference Library’s blog feature,”ebay items I did not win.” I’ve been inspired by RL to create visual homages for items that I covet, admire, but cannot own (afford, find, fit, win). Here’s my latest submission: a pair of beautifully overbuilt British walking/country brogues by top Northampton, England footwear maker, Crockett and Jones. CJ offers a beautiful line of brogues for women. I’ve admired their (largely unchanging) product line for several years and plan to purchase a pair of Barnwells at some point in the next five years. However, I do not have any early catalogs for CJ and I’ve never seen the “Swan” line of country shoes featured in this ebay auction. Fortunately, the seller will not ship to US so I’m going to have just capture her gallery images and admire these shoes from afar.
If I were a guy, I’d be broke. At least that’s what I think each time I look at websites selling beautiful, handmade/handsewn leather shoes for men like Leather Soul Hawaii, Ben Silver, Alden Shoes of Carmel, Harry’s Shoes and even Sierra Trading Post. For the most part, there’s a radical absence of decent shoes for women not made out of molded rubber, hemp canvas, nylon webbing, patent leather, metallic leather, nubuck or other synthetic leathers.
Actual text for a close-out style of Tevas for women from STP: “Female touches include colorful shoelace eyelets and decorative lining.”
Since I have relatively small feet, I’m unable to order men’s shoes which typically start at size 7 (I’m a men’s size 6 or 6.5!). Shoe sizing effectively restricts my footwear selections to a few choice vintage/ebay finds and a rotating platoon of Sebago loafers (which size down to circus monkey numbers).
What I want to purchase is a lovely, rugged oxford or brogue made out of scotch grain leather with a double leather or dainite rubber studded sole. If I had untold sums of spending money, I’d just order up a custom made loafer or derby from JM Weston. But Weston, with it’s French pedigree and Madison Ave storefront, is so elitist that I’m not even sure they would post me a catalog.
Several years ago, I stumbled on a Manchester Guardian article about the UK footwear firm, Tim Little. At the time, Little was selling no compromises, scaled down versions of their men’s style shoes for women. For several years, during the Tim Little Christmas sale, I would purchase a pair of Littles (one time it took the shoes three months to make their way from London to Oregon since I had requested the cheapest, “ground” shipping option). Now, for some reason, they’ve dropped their women’s line and erased its presence from their website (perhaps because shoes without colorful eyelets or decorative linings no longer sell well).
I understand that at least one of the Tim Little storefronts has some women’s shoes in stock. I recently purchased a pair of oxfords on steep discount. I encourage you to contact Little and inquire about this phantom line of shoes. Mention the Mockingbird or Road Runner II styles so they know you’re not nuts or making things up.