Having heard rumors that An Uptown Dandy's erstwhile European correspondent Jessie Butler had been sighted several afternoons in a row strolling along Barcelona's Passeig de Gràcia with camera in tow, I thought now would be a most opportune time to see if she might drop into the relatively new Carmina shop to snap a few photos and perhaps enquire about the mythical factory store on Mallorca.
Unfortunately, Mrs. Butler's dance card was more or less booked, due to previously scheduled private tours of the exhibits on display at Gaudi's La Pedrera, tanning sessions at Terragona, and a hike up the pilgrim trail to the Benedectine Abbey at Santa Maria de Montserrat (the latter was the basis for a particularly dastardly prank concerning the aforementioned Mallorca factory).
Our ever-elusive European correspondent originally provided this photo with the caption "View of our approach to Carmina's mythical factory store on Mallorca . . ." Alas, it was not to be - unfortunately for me, it was only a wonderful image of the Benedectine Abbey at Santa Maria de Montserrat.
I have yet to purchase a pair of the Albaladejo family's shoes; nevertheless the company seems to be doing fine without me and is developing quite a following. The quality of the shoes seems to have improved gradually and is now said to be on par with Grenson's Masterpieces and Crockett & Jones' handgrade offerings; as such, the current pricing is particularly enticing. More impressively, Carmina seems to be threatening to (if it has not already) supplant Alden and Vass as the pre-eminent shell cordovan shoe manufacturer. If I do end up in Spain in October, I plan on getting a closer look at the shoes and perhaps make a purchase or two.
But enough about me - on to the wonderful images. Many thanks to Ms. Jessie Butler for taking the time to provide so many great photos - there were so many that I'll probably supplement this post in the next few days with additional photos. Enjoy!
Suede offerings from Carmina. The shoe trees look substantive and
the shoe care kit looks equally impressive.
Always a sucker for a well-done spectator - these don't appear to be white suede;
nevertheless, lovely shoes. Extra points for the wonderful wallpaper!
Floor-to-ceiling Carmina.This sublime image speaks for itself -
but that Gillie in the bottom left is talking to me. . .
A close-up of the bottom left portion of the image above -
also known as The Uptown Dandy's "Wheelhouse."
After the variety of leather colors available, the rather elegant lasts are the next thing I noticed. Based on the photos, the patina/burnishing isn't as striking as Edward Green or John Lobb's museum calf, but then again, the leather tones are nonetheless impressive and one must remember that these shoes are being offered at a fraction of the price of those higher-end English shoes.
A close-up of one of the many Carmina offerings:
a plain toe brogue with a nice medallion and adelaide or u-throat.
This model was originally displayed at the 1929 World's Fair and speaks to the company's illustrious history. The image belies the actual dimensions - the shoe is actually about 3 feet long.