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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What Are The Different Names For Parts Of A Shoe - A Diagram Of The Anatomy Of A Shoe

Men's shoes are all made differently and, for example, there is a substantial difference in design and components between the shoe above, a wing tipped Oxford, and say a whole cut shoe which has no vamp, no quarter and no wingtip. Needless to say that when you are looking to buy a shoe, it helps to know what all the add ons are and to be able to describe a shoe adequately enough so that you don't go home with something you didn't go searching for. I certainly did not know all the elements of a shoe until recently and, quite frankly, I could tell you that very few staff in Sydney's shoe stores could tell you either. We should all thank our lucky stars for the internet.

Above you will find some common terms that are used to describe shoes. I will give a brief explanation of each.

Heel: Made of leather and sometimes rubber, the heel is a number of layers of leather glued together which forms a raised platform at the rear of the shoe on which the heel of the foot sits.

Vamp: The area of leather between the toe box and the quarters.

Tongue: The leather which protrudes from the throat of the shoe above the laces.

Throat: The area from the vamp to the tongue of the shoe which is concealed by the laces.

Eyelets: The perforated holes which feed the laces through and bind the shoe together.

Laces: Usually made of leather fibres and fed through the eyelets to close the shoes.

Waist: The area between the sole and the heel. In upmarket men's shoes the waist is sometimes bevelled for effect.

Brass nails: In some shoes you will see brass nails in the heel and sometimes in the sole. Sometimes they are used as a function bond the heel to the sole, other times they are used for decorative purposes such as inscribing the logo of the production house.

Wing Tip : A cured piece of leather which covers the toe box and is stitched to the vamp. Another variation of the wingtip is a toe cap which forms a dome at the end of the shoe.

Welt : I labelled this goodyear since this is the most popular way in which the welt is attached to the shoe. There is also another way which is common with the Europeans and this is called the Blake-Rapid method which is slightly more sleek as the sole is attached directly to the shoe.

Welt Stitches: On the sole of the shoe you will be able to see the stitch marks of the shoe where the sole has been attached to the welt.

Toe Box: This is the area where the leather is stretched most tightly across the shoe and where your toes will be sitting if you press down on the the leather. It is also where you get the best effects for mirror shine and some forms of patina.

Out Sole Channel: This is a groove in which the stitches are made between the welt and the sole. The channel protects the stitches from being eroded too quickly so that the shoe does not fall apart.

I hope this is a practical and helpful diagram and if you have any other questions please let me know. As my knowledge is still somewhat limited, I may not be able to answer specific construction questions but I will be able to point you in the right direction to an expert.

Oxford Versus Derby's - What's The Difference?

Coming into spring in Australia you might be tempted to step out and go to the race course during the spring carnival or perhaps you have a wedding to go to. Before you consider purchasing a new shoe, make sure you are getting the right one.

Above you will see two illustrations I made of the most common low cut shoes that you might purchase in a store. The top shoe is a Derby, generally worn for day wear and in the country. The Derby is usually defined by an extended heel in the rear of the shoe, often a greater pitch (the curvature of the concavity of the sole span) and a thicker sole. These shoes are generally worn in the country, for inclement weather and for more casual requirements.

By contrast the Oxford below the Derby is a shoe worn in more formal environments such as the office, out to dinner or to a black tie event. The Oxford is by far the most commonly worn shoe. It is usually defined by a closed heel, a slimmer sole which is lower to the ground and a more tapered toe box. It is also defined by the fact that when you tie up the laces of an Oxford shoe the facing joins together to hide the throat of the shoe.

In both Derby and Oxford shoes additional elements can be added or subtracted to change the look of the shoe which can confuse people. For example, a wing tip or toe cap can be sewn to the shoe with or without brogue detail to add additional dimensions and textures to the shoe as well as a heel cap in the rear.

Largely, in order to determine whether you are purchasing one or the other, it's best to a) ask the shop assistant or website and b) examine whether the throat is open or closed by the laces and c) examine the heel to see whether it is extended. Shoe companies can make Derby's look like Oxfords but generally speaking Oxfords will never look like Derby's.

For my tip in spring racing, look for  an Oxford whole cut in a brown or purple patina to pair with a less than suit but if this rain keeps up, consider a Derby to give yourself some distance between you and the mushy grass.

I hope this helps!


Monday, August 18, 2014

Spelling Errors And Editing On The Fly

I would like to take a moment to apologise to my blog readers for the continual punctuation and grammatical errors you can find within almost every blog post. Because I write this blog continuously and as a side to my existing business I find I am often strapped for time to run spell check before and after I write articles and often I re-read the post before editing anything I find which I believe to be incorrect.

I wish to apologise for any of you who suffer from disjointed passages of text or grammatical errors on this blog and know that I am solely to blame and that with time I hope to figure out a way to ensure this happens far less frequently.

Regards, N

The Double Four In Hand And The Old Bertie - How To Separate Yourself From The Pack

On the weekend I christened my child. As it was on a Sunday at midday I opted for a wide notched lapel navy blue suit which was cut and sewn by Leng Bespoke

As many of you might guess, I am not one to wear ties regularly, in fact, I hardly ever wear a tie, preferring to either have a bow tie for when I go out or to rely on an open necked shirt during the day.

I felt for this particular occasion that wearing a bow tie might send the wrong signal to the priest so I decided to wear an 8cm 50 Oz silk twill tie in light pink and that then got me scouring the web thinking about how I wished to tie it. 

Most gentlemen in Sydney don't experiment with their tie knots. In fact, the only two knots you tend to see are the four in hand and the full windsor. There is an art to tying your tie which has never really made it's way down under and so I trawled You Tube and did some reading and two knots stood out which I will talk about below.

1. The Double Four In Hand

According to some websites the double four in hand is currently having a resurgence because of it's popularity with Italian men who wear it with a certain panache that only an Italian can truly create. The double four in hand is as you would expect, simply taking the front blade of the tie around the rear blade twice instead of once before you slip the knot down through the centre. The thing is, there is a great deal of expertise you require to get it right and I would venture to say that I did not do the knot justice below but it is a reasonable first attempt. If you want to create the ideal knot, or the current 'soup du jour' version of it, you need to allow your fingers to expertly hold the fabric as it is being looped so that you create a generous knot. 

To see a great video on a double four in hand, click here:

2. The Old Bertie Knot

The Old Bertie is a famed knot because some say that whilst it appears to be extremely simple, it is in fact very difficult to master correctly. Once you have it down pat, some say that it makes a knot without peer. Those 'some' include Marc Guyot the famed and notable French tailor, and Hugo Jacomet, one of the most prolific tie wearers, of the revered blog Parisian Gentleman. The knot was said to have been created by "Old Bertie", the Duke of Windsor who later became King Edward VII . Although he was christened Albert Edward, he was affectionately known as Bertie to his family. He was the eldest son and second child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. King Edward VII reigned between 1901 and 1910 and should not be confused with King Edward VIII who abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson. Both Edwards VII and VIII have made significant contributions to menswear. 

The Old Bertie, on first glance, appears to be a half windsor but is actually not. The subtle difference is that the half windsor is wrapped around the rear blade to begin with whereas the Old Bertie is brought up through the V to form a knot before being flicked over to the left hand side and only then is it wrapped around the tie. Small difference, big impact. 

Although I would happily declare myself as a bow tie aficionado, I do not claim to be such a man when it comes to ties and for this reason I am happily rekindling myself to the art of the tie as there are many many more ways to tie a tie as opposed to a bow tie.

To see a half windsor tutorial , click here: 

To see an 'Old Bertie" knot tutorial - click here:

Not the best example, but the beauty of the rose like cylinder knot that forms from the double four-in-hand. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Why Is Everyone Selling Out All Of A Sudden?

It's hard not to notice what has recently been happening to some of the best blogs and menswear sites across the internet - those unique and trusted voices that we kept returning to day after day - are being forced to sell out - trading authenticity and originality for sales and traffic statistics. Most of this is in the name of trying to sell the business down the line to some larger entity.

The saddest part of all is that most of these started as hobbies and out of a genuine desire to communicate ideas about menswear but the moment the traffic drives in sales of product the owners are forced to make a decision as to whether they turn their passion into a full time business. It's understandable that once you create the beast you must feed it every day but I am becoming disenchanted with menswear and menswear blogging as the sphere is changing from one of originality and authenticity into one which is sneaky and somewhat contrived.

Our aim has always been to promote other companies and document menswear trends that had "anything to do with bow ties " whilst promoting our own goods along the way. If you feel we stray from that we'd like to know - so please drop us a line via our website.

Otherwise, we will soldier on and do our best not to sell out.


Friday, August 15, 2014

How To Tie A Bow Tie Instructions " The Australian Way " By Le Noeud Papillon Featuring The Work Of Illustrator Richard Carroll ( Higher Resolution )

For those of you at home who have a printer we place below a higher resolution image which you can print to an A4 page for the " How To Tie A Bow Tie " instructions created by Australian illustrator Richard Carroll . These irreverent "Australiana" instructions should remove anything intimidating about the art of tying your own bow tie. If you struggle at any point with the visuals, feel free to watch two of our older videos below which might give you the added confidence to get you over the line. 

Have a great weekend! 
Click on the image an open in a new browser tab to expand the image size and then download to your desktop. From there you can send the image to your printer.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Not For Everybody But Certainly For Me - Bespoke Shirts Cut With Contrast Bands

Below is a shirt I finished for a customer last week. He got the deal of a lifetime as I just happened to have him drop in on a day when I was feeling extraordinarily generous and he picked up two fabrics that, were he to shop them in one of the better menswear stores in Sydney, he would have paid well over $900.00 AUD per shirt but in a moment of absent-mindedness I charged him only $350.00 per shirt. The first was a Monti 200 2 ply Yorkshire cloth in pink, the other, below, is a blue houndstooth Monti West Indian Sea Island cotton also in a 200 2 ply. They are just beautiful beautiful shirts and they fit him like a glove. We have tried to do shirts for customers over the internet but I must say, only a fitting really gives you the results you want to achieve. Both shirts below were finished with contrasting white collar and cuff with contrasting bands. 

By appointment only. 

How To Make A Patina At Home Using Your Old Shoes And Some Basic Leather Dyes - Rejuvenating Some Below Average Shoes

Some people will say "it's not for me to judge" but really what they are saying is "I am judging it but I am not voicing my opinion". Others believe that the idea of non judgement as some kind of higher seated impartiality in a particular matter is the noblest pursuit. I beg to differ. I think our brains are taught to make value judgements for a reason which is why I like to feel nervous next to the edge of a cliff or why I like to remove my hand when I am too close to a fire.

On that note I wish to add that I really don't like cheap shoes and I am placing a value judgement on the numbers below because it was not only less pleasant an experience in making a patina for these shoes but I could feel as we went along that the shoe just was nowhere near the quality of shoes I have worked with in the past. What astounded me was the quality of the patina that came out the other side which I don't know whether I should take credit for on the workmanship side or whether it could be deduced that poor quality leather makes for a better patina. Time will tell as I need to gather more data. 

Here is what we did with the brogue shoes below which came from an Australian menswear brand as their house label.

1. Brushing the shoes to remove any grit.
2. Acetone to strip the shoes using cotton balls.
3. Brush the shoes again to remove any lint from the cotton balls.
4. Saphir Renovateur for 24 hours to soak the shoes in natural oils.
5. Brush the shoes again.
6. Begin dyeing the shoes using brushes. For the brogue details I used a light blue painted on with a brush. Rubbed off with cotton wool.
7. Using cotton wool and brushes I painted liberally a layer of purple.
8. Using black I created deeper tones along the edge of the upper and sole and then around the toe cap and heel.

This ends the dyeing. Now I went on the finish the shoes.

1. Apply La Cordonnerie Anglais pommade to the shoe in burgundy.
2. Rub into the shoe liberally and allow to dry.
3. Remove the pomade.
4. Apply wax by Saphir with stiff small brush including colours cognac and tobacco.
5. Brush shoes.
6. Begin glacage using neutral wax with a fine cloth and water dispenser.
7. After each layer of glacage allow to dry.
8. Keep repeating until you find yourself getting the beginnings of a mirror shine.

In the end, this was received very well by my cousin who asked for me to perform a patina on these shoes which he considered throwing away. The result was that although I could not remove some indents in the toe cap from significant wearing of the shoe, we were able to create something rather unique and to bring back some life to the shoes, enough so that he will begin using them again. 

In a world where we throw so much away because it looks slightly off colour or perhaps scuffed in a few areas, rejuvenating your shoes in this manner can not only be rewarding in terms of giving your own unique and personal look to a shoe, but it can also keep some money in your back pocket so that you can afford to buy a proper pair of shoes the next time around. 

The materials used in this blog post have been sourced from Exquisite Trimmings in London , Double Monk in Melbourne and A Suitable Wardrobe in San Francisco .

PS: Next week I will show you what I did to a pair of RM Williams boots that were 20 years old and on Friday, after receiving a ruby, brown and black patina, found a brand new home with a stockbroker in Sydney.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Richard Carroll - An Australian Illustrator On The Rise And One Of The Truly Well Dressed Gentlemen In Sydney

Once upon a time I was considering becoming an artist and for a number of months I drew and drew and traced and drew and spent hours of an evening trying to become something of a pencil illustrator. Part of that desire sprung from watching a class mate draw pictures of his horse which was called 'Titian' and they were sublime drawings and I was very envious because I had taste but not a drop of talent in this area. A few years later I approached my high school art teacher Ms. Palmer and asked her whether she thought I ought to continue with my art studies. I asked the age old question to the master "but do I have talent?" to which I got the same response that Nick Nolte's character gives to Rosanna Arquette in that Martin Scorsese classic "Life Lessons" which was part of the movie New York Stories, when he said to her "only you know whether you are an artist". I let go of my dreams that day and I have found other pursuits but when I see people who can draw I am filled with a pang of regret.

The talent of drawing is so unique because it allows someone to express something complex so succinctly. I once saw Ridley Scott on set of the movie Black Hawk Down drawing by hand an emotive story board so that they might shoot the movie accordingly. His drawing skills were superb.

Therefore, I jumped at an opportunity recently to engage with a Sydney based illustrator named Richard Carroll who some of you might have seen on this blog before in our portrait competitions. Richard is affiliated with the store "The Strand Hatters" which is run by his uncle Robert. He is also one of the better dressed gentlemen in Sydney and so I asked him if he could make something tongue in cheek related to the art of tying a bow tie which might give it an Australian flavour. You will see the result below - it has an irreverent Australian charm about it and I look forward to seeing more of Richard's work as he progresses.

What are the constraints when illustrating a cartoon for print and how do you approach the subject matter?

For me a large part of it is taking into account the size that the final illustration will be, I usually work quite a bit larger than the final image with the intention to scale it down for print. It’s important to always keep in mind if the image will be readable at its printed size.

I try and look at any subject subjectively, I like the idea that everything I do has my fingerprint. Sometimes that comes easily, and sometimes its a little harder, its pretty important to me that most of what I make is funny and feels cheekily Australian.

How long does it take you to make an initial sketch after a client briefs you?

 It really depends on the deadline for the project, if the client needs it very quickly then I can usually have initial sketches the same day. But if its a much more open ended timeline then I usually dont give the project preference until I feel really ready to do it.

I think I’m in the same boat as most creative types in that we really need a deadline to push us along.

What is the most alluring aspect of drawing a cartoon – is it more the story or the

For me, and I think probably most cartoonists, the allure is the combination of story and characterisation or maybe more succinctly the idea that characterisation informs the story and vice versa. If a character looks a certain way then the audience will read them differently, the language of signs and images is as important as written language.

Why are some cartoon characters much more easily identifiable than others and what is it a publisher might be looking for in a new character?

Most of the golden age comics and cartoon characters are basically easy to identify and iconic largely because they were the foundation of the genre (or maybe I'm being cynical) but for contemporary print cartoons there isn’t so much characterisation as there used to be. A large segment of new comics and cartoons are rooted in believability and not in caricature and given that my work is mostly caricature maybe I’m up trying to go up creek without a paddle. I guess that publishers are probably looking for something that they haven’t really seen before but that also won't alienate their audience.

Can you tell us what instruments you use to create your work in terms of say rulers, pencils, crayons etc?

I’m always expanding and experimenting what I use to draw with, I just came back from America with a bag full of amazing tools that can’t be bought in Australia, 3 and 4 ply bristol board, hard pencils, sorrel brushes, really opaque ink, kneadable erasers expensive gouache and cheap watercolour. I do most everything by hand, all on the same piece of paper, for me the incidental mistakes made by being confined create a much more interesting drawing than a perfectly composited digital piece.

What is the holy grail for a cartoon illustrator to achieve in terms of work published?

The grail is honestly still probably a New Yorker cover, but largely for me the real end goal is just to get a book professionally published. It’s not an especially fiscal enterprise, but I love physical printed objects and the idea that people around the world could hold and show around something I made is pretty alluring.

Can you tell us who are the most iconic Australian’s that lend themselves to being illustrated as characters?

Probably one of the greatest thing about iconic Australians is that they are all characters by default. There's that long standing Aussie ideal of the underdog and the working class hero, it's such a huge part of our subconscious whether its still vital or not. I’ve always had a lot of time for those larrikins like Bob Hawke and Paul Hogan and Sir Les and there is a certain expected ruggedness in Australian masculinity that is really easy and funny to send up. Also I’ve been going through a spot of bushranger mania, the stories about those guys are so incredible.

An Australian version of 'How To Tie' a bow tie by Richard Carroll for Le Noeud Papillon

What’s next for you?

I'm just putting the finishing touches on the second issue of my short comics anthology “Yeah, Nah” and also a bigger book of my travel strips from a recent 6 month stay in New York. Between organising a launch party for those two books and studying and also doing a little freelance work when i get it pretty much takes up most of my time.

Follow more of Richard Carroll's work below:

Thank You To A Suitable Wardrobe - For Putting Us Nearer To Sotheby's And The Late Duke Of Windsor....

When A Suitable Wardrobe first wrote about what we were doing in 2010 we were just beginning to use the new woven jacquard silks we had sourced with a new mill in Como, Italy. Those silks were taking our bow ties to a whole other level and one of the first shapes we had made in a diamond point, which we named the Mikael, which sadly over time we have taken off the current shapes advertised on the website, was the one sent in this photo to Will Boehlke of A Suitable Wardrobe. The Mikael shape is an unusual one as it takes the form of a scalloped underside with a straight edge on top but then forms a diamond point at the end of the bow. After seeing this photo again this morning I am consider running some merely to see how they now tie as opposed to our other, more traditional looking diamond point shapes that we offer.

The silk Will is wearing is no longer in stock but to my mind it ought to be, so I might considering running some more of this design. Especially when you add in the back drop of Will's penmanship which flavours the article by referencing the late Duke Of Windsor....

Buy our bow ties on A Suitable Wardrobe

Excerpt From:

"The Sotheby's auction catalog of the late Duke of Windsor's closet shows a tie rack with several vertically striped bow ties. I have been looking without success for some of them ever since, which is one of the things that attracted me to the web site of Le Noeud Papillon.

LNP, as I will call them for short, offers a couple dozen bow tie designs that are not lying around in just any neckwear emporium. The company, whose taste is as French as its Australian location is not, does what I consider its best work with fairly formal patterns in combinations of black, white, navy and silver. And though a few of its offerings are too forward for yours truly, most appear to be beautifully executed in shapes that are distinctive without being over the top. 

Shortly after establishing email contact with founder Nicholas Atgemis, the photo's diamond pointed Costa tie in navy Mogador silk with white vertical stripes was winging its way to California. The make of the sample is professional, the silk is heavy and the shape good looking as well as unique in my experience.

Pricing ranges from about $100 USD (the U.S. and Australian dollar are near parity) to as much as $275. Most models are in the $125-$155 range. 

I only have the one data point so far but based on that one experience, Le Noeud Papillon appears to be a bow tie supplier worthy of recommendation."

Will Boehlke sporting a 2010 model Mikael shape Le Noeud Papillon bow tie with a white vertical striped silk on a navy mogador warp - the Mikael shape is a scalloped underside, straight end top side diamond point we offer only as a customer order these days.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Thank You To Higher View Magazine China / Australia For Featuring Our Bow Ties This Month

In a really well written piece by Constantina Pilatos of Higher View Magazine on the subject of bow ties she writes that "today the bow tie is no longer reserved for the gentry and those 'black tie' events" adding that any man "worth his salt will don one and probably has one for all occasions". 

The article also quotes myself as saying that "Men care about the quality of a product and are looking to role models that transcend periods. They want to own a pair of shoes for ten years, or wear a shirt for five seasons. They want to wear down rather than chuck out". 

I think I am very happy to stand by that statement.  Again, thank you to Higher View and especially to Ms Pilatos.  

To see our current silks -

Bow ties from Le Noeud Papillon as featured in Higher View Magazine. Many of these models are still available from

Shop these ties at

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Three I's Of The Business Cycle - Warren Buffet Instructs Oppenheimer Who In Turn Instructs Me

One of the reasons that I am spending more time working on my new product that I have spoken of before is that there comes a day when those that were late to come to the party flood the market with something which was once a very rarefied item - namely, the self-tying bow tie. Sadly last week I was placed in a difficult position where we decided to no longer stock with one store as they were now selling between 6 to 7 brands of bow ties that we could count. It brought to mind two pieces of wisdom what were imparted to me, one by my trusted confidante and internet spy who goes by the pseudonym Carlos Oppenheimer, the other by a retired Sydney businessman.

Of Innovators, Imitators & Idiots

The first was said to me one evening recently. I explained to Oppenheimer that the bow tie market was beginning to look like the Australian grape glut of the late 90's and early 2000's when the price of grapes per tonne dropped from $2000 to $500 . Suddenly many of those that had planted grapes late in the game and weren't committed to the process had to re-evaluate whether they wished to be vignerons. Oppenheimer then said "well my old friend, that reminds me of what Warren Buffet said about the market place and why things come undone. You see, Buffet said that there are three I's which exemplify the 'natural progression' to how good ideas can go belly up. The first I is the for the Innovators, those that see opportunities that others don't. Then come the Imitators who copy what the Innovators have done. Finally, along come the Idiots. The Idiots see what the Innovators have done and what spoils the Imitators have reaped, and through their avarice they manage to undo the very innovations that the Innovators first set out to achieve."

I gather these were not Buffet's exact words but Oppenheimer's delivery was very effective. It also reminded me of another wonderful expression that was imparted to me by another Sydney businessman who said to me "when pygmies cast tall shadows, the day is well and truly over".

I for one certainly do not mind if you choose to refrain from wearing a bow tie whilst the pre-tied and poor quality late comers take over and know that when you are ready to return to the real thing, we will always be here for you. That is of course if Oppenheimer knows what he's talking about. But given he was quoting Warren Buffet, perhaps we should assume he does.

In the meantime, take note of three wonderful pinks we have in stock. One is a 50 Oz silk twill which comes from England (bottom), the second is a pink silk grenadine styled silk (centre) and the final bow is a half merino and cashmere pink wool bow tie with a contrasting cream grosgrain back. All are available on

Not Just An Artisan - Might Become A Great Film Maker Too

I wrote yesterday on Alexander Nurulaeff, the principal of Dandy Shoe Care, on his creative work relating to both new shoes and those being rejuvenated on renewed with a patina. Like many people in this game, Alexander is a man not just with one skill - see below the superb video he has made in conjunction with shoe company  Giacopelli in Italy where they have created a movie based on still photography which documents the making of a shoe in time lapsed photography. This is a very unique video which was produced by Nurulaeff and really, I could not think of anything better to watch over the lunch time break than this video.

Alexander Nurulaeff - Shoes from Alexander Nurulaeff on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Where To Buy Custom Made Wedding Ties In Sydney ?

At dinner last night an Italian friend asked me about our silk braces. Then, as I was explaining what items that we make other than bow ties he said "oh, you do ties, I didn't realise that". 

We do make ties. We make them well. But it's not our core product. We do however make custom made ties for weddings regularly and with the wedding season only a month away I thought I might place a few teasers on the website of ties we can make. Below you will see our half and half ties and our regular ties on a range of silks from pink grenadines to woven motif jacquards and 50 Oz twills. One of each is on the website and you can book an appointment at the Studio if you would like to see our full range of silks. All our silks, except for our 50 Oz silk twills, come from the Como region of Italy. As a general rule they are designed for bow ties but I think it's fair to say they look great as ties too.

Oh, and because life is a series of reinventions we have decided to move away from giving our ties male names and instead we shall name them after Australian towns. When everybody else out there starts copying you it's time to come up with something brand new. If you have a particularly fun name for an Australian town and want us to name one of the next models after it, feel free to leave a comment below.

In the meantime, you can always shop these.

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Quick Chat About Patina With Dandy Shoe Care’s Alexander Nurulaeff

It's very hard to find anyone to do a patina in Australia. Those shoe companies that offer patina in their range very rarely have a stand alone store in Australia and quite often the Australian shoe enthusiast will have to return to Europe or England to have their shoes restored and a new patina applied. More importantly, those said shoe companies are not interested in making a patina for shoes you purchased somewhere else, especially since each house will pride itself on a unique technique. 

There is a gap in the Australian market for a) a customised patina when purchasing shoes and b) restoration of patina or 'reverse patina' which is taking old shoes and stripping them back to perform a patina on them. 

There is however a company in Italy called Dandy Shoe Care which offers you the chance to post off your shoes and have a patina performed on them. Though I am not interested in the 'camouflage' movement in menswear, I know that many of you out there love it and one of the most visually interesting works that Alexander Nurulaeff, principal of Dandy Shoe Car, has performed of recent is a unique camouflage service for leather shoes. Alexander was able to shoot back an email to give me some advice on my amateur weekend pursuit at patina. See what his responses are below but for more information on his service visit his website

Alexander, I am having a terrible time trying to do patina myself. I have stripped the shoe, then sanded the shoe, then dyed the shoe before finishing the shoe but for some reason I am not achieving the kind of ‘old wood’ look that I find on other shoe blog sites. Can you tell me what I might be doing wrong?

One of the reasons why something went wrong with your shoes is that every kind of leather is different. That’s why Dandy Shoe Care’s first step is always to make a ‘diagnosis’ of the type and characteristics of the leather, in order to choose the right techniques and materials suitable for those particular shoes. It’s quite a mission impossible for amateurs.

Alexander, owner of Dandy Shoe Care -
a company that offers patina for just about any shoe

For Australians, as far as I can tell, there is NOT ONE PERSON that can offer a patina service in our country. Do you service people in Australia and if so how can they utilise your service or select the service they want?

There are very few patina specialists in the world, and most of them are in Europe. DSC is the only one that offers a trustful international luxury service for customers from all over the world. To get a patina from DSC is very easy: 1) Send an e-mail with a request, including some pictures of the shoes 2) if the shoes are suitable for DSC treatments, we send an estimate of the cost, 3) the client sends the shoes to DSC, Italy.

I have noticed that camouflage is big at the moment for patina – can you tell me a little about this process?

The Camouflage on luxury dress shoes was created by DSC three years ago, and they’re still very requested. The secret of this success is that it’s a full hand painted Camouflage, and not made out of printed leather; every Camouflage from DSC is unique: there are not two DSC Camouflage alike in the world.

What is the most exciting brand of shoe that you have performed a patina on?

All shoes are a challenge for me; that’s why I really adore what I do, and I always do my best to make a masterpiece.

What are your top three favourite shoe companies in the world?

Sorry, my policy is not to mention any specific shoe company.

Between the methods Blake Rapid and Goodyear Welted shoes, which do you prefer?

I usually prefer Goodyear, but I don’t dislike even some Blake Rapid.

What is your favourite colour for patina in 2014?

Deep Red.

I have a pair of Ivan Crivellaro shoes that are both crocodile and calf leather, what is your favourite mix of skins that can be used on a shoe?

I like canvas+ leather, plain calf+grained calf, plain leather+ suede. They’re a 'must have’ for every  gentleman. 

Lest We Forget. 1914-2014. We Will Remember Them.

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