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, January 29, 2012

Edward Green for Ralph Lauren's Purple Label: The Brooksville

Known in the United States as "English" brogues and in the United Kingdom as "American" brogues, the longwing is a derby style shoe characterized by a pointed toe cap with wings that extend the full length of the shoe and meet at a center seam at the heel.

The extended wings of the longwing brogue . . .

. . .extending to the broguing along the heel seam.

While the style has been around for some time, much of its prominence in the United States is probably due to the popularity of Florsheim's "Kenmoor" model. The original models were stunning examples of American craftsmanship, from the double soles to the "v-cleat" or cat's paw heel.  More recently, the longwing brogue has been enjoying something of a renaissance, primarily because of Alden of New England's collaborations with J. Crew and Brooks Brothers. Although I'm not a fan of that company's rather bulbous lasts, not many would argue that Alden is one of the last domestic shoe-makers still producing the celebrated American longwing "gunboat" - i.e. a clunky, chunky, well-made shoe that is built to last.

While trying to take care of some last minute holiday shopping last month, I dropped into Ralph Lauren's Rhinelander Mansion to peruse the Edward Green and Gaziano and Girling selections. Much to my surprise, one of the Edward Green models on display was the Brooksville, the Northamptonshire company's answer to the longwing.

To my eye, one has to be careful with the longwing - because of the horizontal line of broguing that runs almost the entire length of the shoe from the toe cap to the heel seam, the shoe can appear longer or more elongated it actually is. If the shoe has also been made on an elongated last, such as Crockett & Jones' 337, one can go from sleek to ridiculously long pretty quickly. 

A bit more of the details on Edward Green's Brooksville for Ralph Lauren's Purple Label.

A phallic medallion?

The patina at the toe box is sublime.

One rarely sees the brown sole waist treatment - its usually black - although it works perfectly here.

A detailed picture of the channeled sole.

A full picture of the sole, which shows off the contours of Edward Green's 888 last.

On this model, Edward Green's 888 last works perfectly - the sleek elegance of the longwing is evident in all its splendor here. So much so that I have to admit, when I first saw these shoes on the display shelf, the last configuration and leather patina led me to believe that these were a pair of shoes made by Tony Gaziano and Dean Girling. But the tell-tale signs of Edward Green craftsmanship are all to evident: from the burnished calf to the chestnut antique color, which of course only succeed in augmenting the brilliance of the Brooksville.


  1. Phallic? Surely, the opposite, if anything.

  2. Great post, just got my pair from the mansion today. Did you get yours on sale, or were these excluded? Love your thrifting tips please do more this year. Went to essex county many times with limited results, can you tell me the best spots to go? Since I don't want to waste money with travel where is best in the city? Heard sa in hells kitchen and gw on ues.

  3. Addict,
    Thanks for the kind words! And enjoy your Brooksvilles - I picked my pair up during the holiday sale season, the mansion was having an astonishing 40% off with an additional 30% off of that :-) A veritable no-brainer . . .Thanks also for the thrifting props, but I couldnt tell you where to go in Essex! It is bad enough competing with the ebay re-sellers without posting the best spots on the internet. . . but I will say that you are getting warm regarding the UES . . .

    1. Thanks 4 reply. Wow 40+30 insane pickup. Thought I died and went to heaven when they had the 40+15 last year, does the mansion do this or better any other times throughout the year? When will turnball have that sale you mentioned in an earlier post? In the series on thrifting, you said that it was fine to buy quality things not in your size to sell/trade where do I go to do this since I'm not on ebay?

  4. Addict,
    You've got to get an eBay. Or join a site like style forum. Both have downsides - style forum's buying and selling forum isnt the same since the site was upgraded, and eBay's fees are nothing to sneeze at. Both sites generate significant traffic, though.

    I think RL is usually 40+15 and the best it gets, so I'm not sure what was up this time. The key is to befriend a sales assistant who can keep you up to date on inventory and sales.

    I believe T&A is having its winter sale now; but last summer was the first and only time I've seen bold striped shirts from previous seasons for $25. But the sale is usually in June, we'll have to see what its like this year.
    Dan F. (An Uptown Dandy)

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