A Fine Man Once Said:

"Part of the 10 million I spent on gambling, part of it on booze, and part of it on women. The rest I spent foolishly."

- George Raft

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Vintage Edward Green for Brooks English: The Malvern

A 25-30 year old pair of Edward Green shoes, holding up quite well.

As I mentioned some time ago here at An Uptown Dandy, Brooks Brothers recently began selling Edward Green shoes again - a partnership that apparently began in the 1970s, was disrupted in 1980s or 1990s, and is now back on track. Of course, back then, the shoes were generally re-branded for Brooks Brothers' Peal & Co. line. Presently, Brooks is simply offering a few models without any re-badging or re-branding. Not that we're complaining.

More commonly, you'll see Edward Green shoes made for the Peal & Co. line, but this pair of wingtips in chestnut antique is a bit rare in that this pair of shoes was made for (what at the time was considered) Brooks' lower "Brooks English" line of shoes. Generally, you'll come across shoes from that line made by Church's. This pair, however, have none of the characteristics that you'll find on a pair of Church's shoes from that era - but it does have all of the tell-tale Edward Green markings that you'll see on a shoe from 1970-1985 period.

To begin with, the shoes have the "Made in England" stamp on the sole that you see on Edward Greens made for Nordstrom or Cole Haan from this period. The Church's shoes usually say "Benchmade in England" and also usually have the UK sizing stamped at the waist of the sole. In addition, the writing on a pair of Church's inside the shoe which will normally include the model name, size, and last information, has remained relatively standard since the 1980s.

Edward Green's handwritten designations, which were used before they switched to the writing that you now see in the oval inside the shoe, was also relatively standard during that period. There's normally an order number (which someimes has an additional exponent number (if that makes sense) which I believe denotes how many shoes of that particular model was included in the order, followed by size and last info in the second row, followed by another number in the third row. This pair of shoes has the same Edward Green handwriting. Interestingly, this pair seems to have been made on a unique last made especially for Brooks Brothers, the 346, which also happens to be the street address for what is now the Brooks Brothers flagship location at 346 Madison Avenue in New York City.

The shoes are really a testament to Edward Green craftsmanship and production standards. After 25 to 35 years, the shoes are holding up quite well - the sole is in great shape and the leather uppers look pristine, in my opinion. There is some slight cracking near the bottom of the lace area, which is a strange place to find a crack, I think. But the leather around the toe box and just above, where one would normally expect to find creasing or cracking is in surprisingly good condition.

Its always interesting to see what differences there are between the shoes made than and those produced today - looking at these, there is a channeled sole, but the waist is fairly "flat" There isn't much of suppression to speak of, and the waist is not bevelled at all. Whether newer technology has made it easier to include these types of flourishes on mass produced shoes, I'm not entirely sure. Certainly, the leather here is a basic monotone color or finish that is certainly not as impressive as some of the burnishing that you see today from Edward Green, Gaziano & Girling, or John Lobb. But all-in-all, a lovely wingtip with beautiful broguing and a distinct medallion.

This concludes the series of more in-depth looks for each of the vintage Edward Greens that were originally included in the Vintage Edward Green - The Collection (Part One) [a link to the original post can be found here].

I hope that you've all enjoyed a closer look at some of the beautiful works of art created by the shoemakers of Northampton. Keep an eye out for Part Two of the Vintage Edward Green collection - coming as soon as I can take the pictures . . .

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