While shoe makers have progressed in leaps and bounds from methods used as recently as the 1980s, in everything from quality of leather to the ability to mass produce shoes with details that would only have been seen on a bespoke shoe 30 years ago, I still enjoy seeing examples of the shoes produced in the past by various American, English, and Italian firms. To be honest, this is for a variety of reasons - it could be that I've come across a pair of shoes in a defunct style or model, or the shoes are on a defunct last that is no longer used because it has been "improved upon", or the shoes are of a leather that is no longer used. Sometimes, after 30 years, the patina of a basic brown calf leather leather has simply evolved into a stunning work of art in and of itself. Whatever the reason for catching my eye, I'll try to share some of these vintage examples of classic men's footwear.
Some of the more prestigious shoe companies of Northampton often re-badge their products for retailers who want quality shoes available to their customers under their own label or brand. For instance, Crockett & Jones currently makes shoes for the Brooks Brothers' Peal & Co. line of footwear. John Lobb currently produces footwear for their parent company, Hermes, under that company's own imprint.
Edward Green has an established history of producing shoes for some of the finest men's ateliers and clothiers around the world. At one time or another, the company has produced footwear for some of the more famous names in American men's clothing, such as Paul Stuart, Brooks Brothers, Nordstrom, and Cole Haan. The tradition continues to the present, as Edward Green shoes can still be found anywhere from Ralph Lauren to Maus & Hoffman.
The photo above is of a pair of Cadogan's in antique chestnut, made by Edward Green for M. Bardelli, Cashmere Cotton & Silk. One of the oldest men's clothing establishments in Milan, Bardelli's was founded in 1941 as a hat shop but gradually grew to become the elegant emporium that it is today. Specializing in “cashmere, cotton and silk”, Bardelli's is housed in a nineteenth century palazzo and offers a range of beautiful men and women’s collections including suits, shoes, knitwear, textiles for the home and marvellous accessories.
This particular pair of shoes was made on the 202 last. This last remains one of Edward Green's more popular offerings, as the round-toed silhouette creates an elegant, but quite conservative, effect. This particular pair has a wider-than-normal width, but the shoe doesn't seem to suffer from any blobbiness or loss of refinement.
One benefit of re-badging for the retailer is that it will often be allowed to customize some details of the shoe. While this model is a fairly standard semi-brogue, the medallion on this pair is different than what you would normally see on a typical Cadogan branded under Edward Green's own company name.
As you can see below, this pair was re-badged for M. Bardelli.
While this pair of shoes may have been produced to certain specifications for Bardelli by Edward Green, the shoes certainly don't suffer from any decline or drop-off in quality. Most likely, Bardelli chose Edward Green as a supplier because each company enjoys a well-earned reputation for holding itself to the highest production and quality standards. Based on what I can see here, it was a fine match.