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

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

More J&M Handmade 100s: Deadstock Custom Alligator

Many of you who follow An Uptown Dandy will recall my first post - a look at the almost-mythical Johnston & Murphy Handmade 100s. I'm lucky enough to own a few pairs, but these shoes are becoming so rare that  I'm always excited when someone offers to share a few images of their own Handmade 100s.

One reader, John, took the time to take some absolutely stunning pictures of his deadstock captoe custom-made Handmade 100s featuring alligator skins in black and brown. Needless to say, I was floored, having never seen anything like this before.

These shoes were made in the 1990s by J&M's Dominick Dimeola on a custom last with special insoles/linings and specially fitted heels.

John also included some other pics which I've included at the end of the post, because one can never see too many examples of American shoe-making at its finest.

Black Anaconda Plaintoe

Black Calf Leather Captoe

Brown Calf Leather Wingtip

Anyway, enough idle chit-chat - enjoy the pics!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Vintage Edward Green for Brooks Brothers' Peal & Co.: The Piccadilly Loafer

At some point in the 1960s, Brooks Brothers acquired the venerable British shoe-making company Peal & Co. Prior to that company's dissolution, Peal & Co. was known for quality footwear of the highest caliber, at one point holding King George V's royal warrant. Eventually, Brooks' Peal line became something of a catch-all name for footwear made by a variety of Northampton shoemakers - all rebadged and sold under the Peal name. Makers at one time or another have included Crockett & Jones, Alfred Sargent, and Church's.

Brooks Brothers has recently begun stocking Edward Green shoes under that company's own imprint, but "the shoemaker to the discerning few"  also once provided shoes to Brooks Brothers under the Peal & Co. label. It isn't too hard to find used Peal shoes by Edward Green, but in most cases the shoes will be well-worn and in need of some TLC to get the shoes in  wearable condition.

Imagine my surprise when I was lucky enough to come into possession of a pair of dead-stock Peal & Co. loafers made by Edward Green - with vintage shoe bags from Brooks Brothers included. I'm always interested in seeing pristine examples of vintage British footwear that was made 25-30 years ago - the fact that these shoes fit me is an added plus. However, I'm now forced to decide whether I should actually add these shoes to the rotation or to the display case with my vintage Edward Green collection. Decisions, decisions.

Anyway, its probably also worth pointing out that these Peal shoes are a little different - most Peal shoes by Edward Green use the old sizing system wherein the stamped numbers indicate sizing and width. This pair must not be quite as old, as you can see Edward Green's later method of writing the size, width, and last information on the inside of the shoe. In this case, the loafers were made on Edward Green's 184 loafer last. The small numeral above the sizing info indicates that 2 pairs of 9.5E shoes were included in this particular Peal shipment that was sent to Brooks Brothers.

The shoes are in a lovely shade of antique chestnut calf. It's actually a bit lighter than traditional antique chestnut - its actually somewhere between chestnut and edwardian antique. The soles are channeled, with a slightly bevelled waist - however, the waist is essentially "flat" when compared to what you see on today's Edward Green shoes or similar offerings from Gaziano & Girling or John Lobb. The "Made In England" stamp, so familiar to fans of Edward Green, is not on the waist but can instead be found at the toe of the sole. Interestingly, the waist of the sole and the heel have been stamped "Peal," which reminded me of Lobb's similar style of stamping their bespoke offerings.

This particular model appears to be similar to Edward Green's Piccadilly loafer. One interesting design feature of the loafer is the split seam along the inner part of the loafer's upper. Most of the loafers I've purchased recently have no such seam showing - whether this was a design preference or the result of technological limitations of the time is unclear.

In any event, yet another lovely pair of shoes from Edward Green.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

As Fall Approaches, A Farewell to A Spectator: Edward Green's Malvern III

My Edward Green collection can basically be divided into four categories: (1) models that I've purchased to be worn; (2) vintage models that fit me and which I wear regularly; (3) vintage models that fit me but which I generally don't wear; and (4) vintage models that don't fit me and so cannot be worn.

Lately, I've decided to downsize category four. In most of these cases, I purchased smaller shoes because the style was rare and I wanted to see the shoes in person. In some cases, I purchased shoes that were a shade too large for my feet. In even rarer cases, I've grown tired of looking at shoes that I'll never be able to wear. So I've decided to post those for sale so that hopefully someone who can actually wear the shoes can put them to good use.

Unfortunately, I've come to accept the fact that these Edward Green Malvern III spectators just don't fit. A size UK10E, I can wear them with thick socks, but these are warm weather summer shoes and so thick socks just dont make any sense. Also, since acquiring these, I've purchased additional pairs of spectators (that actually fit), so letting these go won't pose a significant hardship.

Again, my loss is someone else's gain, and I'm hoping someone can put these to good use. Before sending these shoes on their way, and as summer fades and the days grow cold, I thought now would be a good time to post pictures of one last pair of spectators.

The Malvern III is based on Edward Green's classic wingtip design, featuring burnished antique chestnut calf leather and canvas twill. Although I remain a big fan of the classic brown leather and white suede spectator combination, this color/material combination offers a color/texture contrast that is perhaps less glaring to the eye. If you're just beginning to experiment with two-tone shoes, Edward Green's Malvern III is a good place to start.

This particular pair features the rounded 202 last. Its an Edward Green staple - and the design from which most of the company's lasts are derived. Its very roomy in the toe-box; generally speaking, if you prefer a snug fit, you may want to consider going down a width size.

In addition, at some point, I came across these vintage shoe trees made by Edward Green (for Paul Stuart). The trees are lasted for the 202 as well, and fit these shoes perfectly.

For anyone who might be interested in owning this beautiful pair of shoes, you can find the shoes for sale on eBay here. The shoe trees are included in the sale.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ivy Style At The Museum At FIT

The Ivy Style exhibit at the Museum at FIT opened on Friday. I've been eagerly awaiting the exhibit since it was mentioned to me a few months ago, so I managed to make time to drop by and look around.

For anyone with even a passing interest in men's style, you'll want to see this exhibit in person. On display are a variety of examples of the American look that was born on Ivy league campuses during the first part of the 20th Century. Not surprisingly, with consultants such as G. Bruce Boyer, Christian Chensvold, and Richard Press (former President of J. Press) involved, its easy to see how the exhibit accumulated such a wealth of knowledge (perhaps also not surprisingly, I didn't see much on display from my era, the late 1990s - not a good time for Ivy Style, as I recall).

The vintage items on display represent a who's who of classic American companies: Chipp, J. Press, F.R Tripler, and Brooks Brothers. There were also contemporary clothing items from more recent clothiers such as Ralph Lauren, Michael Bastian, Tommy Hilfiger, and Thom Browne. In some cases, the similarities in designs that were often 100 years apart were quite striking.

Unfortunately, picture-taking was not allowed, but the program provides a few images of what is on display. Personally, the highlights of the exhibit were numerous, but a few things did stand out. The Apparel Arts display was stunning. The artwork and fabric swatches were wonderful, and clearly the magazine had a special focus on campus wear. Also, several pieces loaned to the exhibit from The Cary Collection were truly unique and captured the Ivy League style from the previous eras perfectly. The display of house slippers stood out - the red slippers with devil motifs were really great, as were the moss green slippers with the dollar bill motif. And, of course, the Cornell alumni blazers were absolutely amazing (not as nice as the orange Princeton blazer with blue pinstripes . . .), I'll need to look for those next time I'm at the campus shop in Ithaca.

A copy of the Ivy Style book was on display - unfortunately, it sounds like the book won't be out until November, which at least would be in time for the Ivy Style symposium scheduled for that month. It certainly looked like it was worth picking up!

Monday, September 3, 2012

"Everything But The Motor": Alfred Dunhill Driving Gloves

Today, Alfred Dunhil Ltd. is a British-based company specializing in men's luxury leather goods, including writing implements, timepieces, lighters, colognes, and clothing. Interestingly, the business began when a young Alfred Dunhill took over his father's London saddlery. Responding to the growing demand for automobiles, he developed a line of accessories called "Dunhill's Motorities."

In keeping with the company's slogan, "Everything but the motor," Dunhill's first Motorities collection included car horns, lamps, leather overcoats, and goggles. While the company today has become something more akin to a global luxury emporium, I'm always heartened to see a company embracing its heritage. On a bit of a whim, I picked up a pair of Dunhill driving gloves - made in England, the leather is soft and supple but appears to be of sturdy construction. I'm always a sucker for a rich shade of brown, and this pair of gloves is not lacking in that department.

With my Motorities driving gloves, Tod's driving mocs, Persol 714s, and Lock&Co. driving cap, I'm accessorized to the hilt and ready for a ride in the country - unfortunately, to paraphrase Alfred Dunhill, I actually seem to have everything but the motor.