As most of you know, my mental wish list for shoes doesn't stray very far from captoe and wingtip brogues - usually the variety I'm looking for is with regards to the shade of brown or the last. Occasionally, however, I do like to try a norwegian split-toe or a loafer or even the odd chukka boot - usually for business casual attire or even to wear with denim. The cordovan split-toe loafers from Carmina that I purchased in the spring are one recent example, as well as the deadstock Peal loafers made by Edward Green that I posted pictures of a few weeks ago.
With that in mind, I always try to drop into the shoe department at Ralph Lauren's Rhinelander Mansion at 72nd Street and Madison Avenue, to peruse the new models on display and chat with Erik Walker, the resident shoe guru.
The last few times I've passed by, I was mesmerized by one model named the Brendon, which is essentially a 3-eyelet version of Edward Green's iconoclastic Dover shoe. A split-toe lace-up, the apron of the Dover (and Brendon) is famously made by hand and stitched together using pig bristles. The operation requires such skill and attention to detail that the time involved to complete the stitching is reflected in the high - even by Edward Green standards - price of the shoes, which are probably the most expensive in Edward Green's ready-to-wear cannon.
Unfortunately, the Brendon has been sold out in my size for some time at Ralph Lauren, but after patiently biding my time (for awhile!) I was finally able to track down a pair. And it was worth the wait. The boots come in Edward Green's dark oak calf leather, a dark brown that really shows off the company's burnishing techniques. The darker patina around the toe box and rear quarters is just exquisite. The boots also feature a double sole, which gives them a more substantive, less dainty countenance - in the end, this is a dress boot but it has some heft to it.